There are few things tech lovers enjoy more than a shiny new gadget or computer: the latest iPad or Nexus 7 tablet, a great new smartphone, a featherlight ultrabook. But once you've bought that great new gear, what do you do with the old stuff?
The worst thing you can do is to simply throw it in the trash. Electronic equipment is often filled with heavy metals and hazardous chemicals, posing serious environmental and health hazards.
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Not only is tossing it away with the rest of your garbage dangerous, but depending on where you live, it may be illegal as well. As of this writing, 25 states have passed laws governing the disposal of electronic waste (or e-waste).
What should you do? Don't fret. Getting rid of old electronics in an environmentally friendly way is easier than you think. In fact, it may even be good for your pocketbook, because you may be able to get some ready cash for your electronics trash.
We've written before about how to recycle your tech gear, but things change fast when it comes to ridding yourself of unwanted electronics. To begin with, you might want to get basic information. A good source is the Electronics TakeBack Coalition, which offers recycling information as well as places where you can recycle. And then check out the following resources. They can help you responsibly get rid of old electronics, and along the way possibly get some cash or donate to a good cause.
Check your local community
One of the easiest ways to recycle your electronics is also the closest to you -- in your local community. Many municipal governments run recycling programs in order to keep toxics out of landfills. Some municipalities require you to pay a fee and/or prepare the devices in a particular way (for example, place them in a specific type of bin or bag); others let you just put out the device along with the trash. Typically, the recycling programs are run by your town or city's Department of Public Works or similar department.
For example, where I live in Cambridge, Mass., there are several ways to recycle electronics. Cell phones, batteries and various electronic devices can be brought to the city's recycling center, and computers and monitors can be left out with the trash, where they will be picked up for recycling. Screens larger than 20 inches left out with the trash require the purchase of a $25 sticker; computers and smaller monitors are free.