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Weekly Tips | March 18, 2013

Electronic Reuse

If your electronics have made the circuit, then it's time to re-volt! So whether you've been shouldering computer chips, your gadgets are in stereo, or there's simply a mouse in the house, the environment will thank you for knowing what's watt. Dispose of devices safely, and read on to get in the know!

Savvy recyclers may already know about electronics recycling through E-Cycle Washington and the Take it Back Network, but there’s another option to consider before you bid adieu to your Dell.

A donation to local non-profit InterConnection gives your old equipment a second chance at life – and the possibility to change lives by bridging the digital divide. In the US, 40 million computers are discarded each year. If half of these were refurbished, it would be enough to give one to every unemployed person in the US, or enough to outfit every school in Latin America.(1)

Computers donated to InterConnection receive free data destruction (with a $1,000,000 guarantee), and are refurbished for re-use through their donation program, and you receive a tax write-off for all donations.

Even if your equipment isn’t able to be refurbished, you can rest assured that it will be recycled responsibly in the United States in an R2 certified facility following ISO14001 standards.

So the next time you find yourself upgrading, consider a trip to one of InterConnection’s drop-off locations (now including the CleanScapes Store in Issaquah!) so that your used equipment has the opportunity to make a difference in someone else’s life. And while you’re cleaning out the closets, bring all your other unwanted peripherals with you too. InterConnection accepts laptops, tablets, desktops, CRT and LCD monitors, mice, keyboards, cables, hard drives, memory, cell phones, printers, ink and toner cartridges, and TVs, too (32” max).

The Big Picture

In King County and the City of Seattle, electronics are banned from the garbage. Why? Most electronics contain toxic metals that are known to cause a wide range of health problems(2).

When disposing of your used electronics, recycling is good, but reuse is even better. It is twenty times more energy efficient to refurbish electronics than to recycle them(3). According to the EPA’s Electronics Environmental Benefit’s Calculator re-using just one computer and monitor saves(4):

  • 30 lbs of hazardous waste

  • 77 lbs of solid waste

  • 77 lbs of materials

  • 147 lbs (17.5 gallons) of water from being polluted

  • 32 tons of air from being polluted

  • 1,333 lbs of CO2 from being emitted

  • 7,719 kilowatts of energy

This is roughly the equivalent of taking ½ of a car off the road and saving 68% of one US household's allotment of electricity for a year.

Sources: (1) | (2) EPA FAQs E-Waste | (3) Computer Aid International | (4) EPA’s Electronics Environmental Benefit’s Calculator


Want to learn more? Test your E-waste IQ at National Geographic, or take a peak at the video below to see how the InterConnection program works.

e-waste  interconnection 


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