The sun is shining, the days are getting longer, and it’s that time of year to knock out a little spring cleaning. You’re on a roll, and can already feel that weight lifted off your shoulders as you kick some clutter. Then, you get to that drawer full of old headphones with earbuds that don’t work, and random chargers- you can’t remember what they charge. There are a nest of cords that may date back to tape players- not sure. Oh- and then there’s one of your old cell phone that doesn’t turn on. Then you think…
Is this stuff recyclable? …
Is it bad if I put it in the trash?...
What do I do with all of this?!!
All GREAT questions! We consulted with the experts and dug up the answers for ya.
Here’s your Spring Cleaning Sustainability Tips for “That Drawer”...
Is this stuff recyclable?
The short answer is YES. Headphones are made of various types of metal, magnets, plastic, and foam all of which can be recycled in order to reduce environmental impacts of mining, manufacturing, and waste. Random cords and old electronics are also made of metals and other materials that are super beneficial to recycle. Big box stores such as Best Buy provide free recycling for a wide range of electronic waste, and for things like old cell phones and headphones, may provide trade-in compensation if the items still work. There’s usually a box drop for E-Waste right inside the front door of Best Buys. Another option is to look up or contact the manufacturer of your electronics and ask about their recycling programs. You can also contact your local recycling center to see where there are e-waste drops in your area. Material such as the copper wire used in cords and headphones can be reused or sold, and other materials in these items can also be recycled.
Is it bad if I put it in the trash?
The short answer is YES. It’s definitely better to recycle this stuff. Two reasons…
1) It reduces the demand and impacts of mining our limited-resources for virgin materials, and
2) It reduces potential pollution and contamination of drinking water and environments that result from e-waste being thrown in the trash.
E-waste contaminates surface water when rainwater dissolves toxic chemicals such as heavy metals like lead and mercury. In landfills, it leads to ground water pollution. According to the EPA, if released into the environment, the excessive amount of lead in e-waste, could cause severe damage to human blood, kidneys, and central and peripheral nervous systems.
Material wise, think about this. One study found that Americans throw away approximately $60 million worth of silver and gold per year by tossing old cell phones in the landfill. Meanwhile the opening and expansion of silver, gold, and copper mines worldwide is taking a heavy toll on local communities and environments.
So, definitely recycle that stuff!
What do I do with all of this?!!
Hopefully we answered this. Recycle it via Best Buy, other local e-waste recycling centers in your area (you can ask your local recycling facility), or by inquiring with manufacturers about their e-waste recycling programs. Anything with a cord, plug, or circuit board can be recycled. So, this spring, feel good about clearing out that drawer and kicking clutter for a sustainable tomorrow today.
Check out Recover’s Closed Loop Program to see how your Recover gear has an infinite life.