We're a nation of gadget lovers. Our computers and cellphones and MP3 players rapidly become outdated, obsolete, or simply not-so-cool anymore, and our consumer urge is to simply replace them instead of fixing or upgrading. The EPA estimates that 2.25 million tons of electronics were disposed of in 2007, and 80 to 85% of them ended up in the landfill instead of being recycled. That's quite a bit of potentially recyclable toxic waste being buried in the earth. We can do better than that. So how do you find out what to do with your old gadgets?
The National Center for Electronics Recycling is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to developing and enhancing the national infrastructure for the recycling of used electronics in the U.S., and their website is full of helpful links to find a recycler for your stuff.
My Green Electronics has a search-by-zipcode guide for electronics recycling, as well as plenty of links for charities and community organizations that will take your gadgets for reuse.
Earth911 searches by product and zip code for recyclers near you, and hosts a wealth of information about how electronics are recycled and why we should choose recycling instead of throwing gadgets in the landfill.
TechForward makes upgrading your electronics a little less painful with their Guaranteed Buyback program. Pay now and lock in the buyback value of your device, and you get a free box, packing materials, and shipping for it when you're ready, so you can feel a little less green guilt about the upgrade.
gazelle lets you list and sell your electronic device so that it gets reused. You get cash, and they provide the box and shipping. Pretty sweet, eh? I'm going to list some of my old stuff on gazelle, just to see how it works. It looks to be a lot simpler than ebay, and more focused on the environmental side of things.
My Bone Yard gives you rewards for recycling cell phones, smart phones, desktops (and CRT monitors), laptops, music players, and LCD monitors depending on the condition and year of model. They pay for shipping and also wipe any personal data from the device.
For more information about gadget recycling, see PCMag's Electronics Recycling Superguide.
Image: bdunnette at Flickr