Greening Up Electronics: Recycling and Reusing to Reduce Emissions

Each year, the staunch activist group Greenpeace lays out their Guide to Greener Electronics, which is an evaluation of how technology companies have or haven't made their products and services green and sustainable. This year, the guide evaluated 15 different firms based on their carbon footprints. Notably, none of the firms scored above a 6 out of the 10 maximum, signifying that most the companies still have a long way to go before they can be ‘completely green.’

The criteria for the rankings include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, eliminating hazardous substances, recycling used products, and using sustainable materials in their operations. In the last three years, Nokia has taken the green crown but HP was dubbed as the greenest tech company, scoring a 5.9 out of 10. Dell, which has vowed to cut 40% of their emissions cut by the end of the decade, moved up 8 places on the list to come in second. While HP hasn’t produced as many energy-efficient computers, TVs, or mobile phones as Nokia, it scored highly on an array of sustainable business operations that were meant to minimize the carbon footprint of its manufacturing suppliers.


The Global Problem with Waste

Electronic waste is one of the biggest problems that affects not only America, but also the rest of the world. A lot of people don’t realize just how big of an impact this has on the environment. The fact of the matter is that electronics (or the parts that make them up) are full of toxins, and simply throwing them out will have detrimental impacts on the natural world. The good news is that electronics can easily be recycled, and oftentimes, they can also be reused. 

Not Using ‘Em Yet? Then Consider Storage

If you have a number of electronics that you simply don't know what to do with yet, then you can store them instead while you decide. This is especially true if your electronics are still in decent shape and you don't want to get rid of them. Self storage units don't need to be expensive, and you can typically access them whenever you want or need to, at any time of day. Putting your electronics in storage can give you a chance to figure out what you'd like to do with them, which is better than throwing them away or having it recycled.


Hitting the Recycling Bin

When they reach the end of their usable life, some electronics stop working like they’re supposed to. While it can be tempting to just throw these away in the trash, you’ll be doing the environment (and everyone in the world) a huge favor by dropping these items off at a recycling station instead.

Most cities nowadays have recycling programs that deal with electronic waste. If you’re not sure what you’re supposed to do, just ask the staff for help and assistance in finding a safe and effective way to recycle your electronics. Some grocery stores and retail outlets also put out special recycling bins where you can drop off old smartphones and tablets that you want to recycle.

Salvaging Your Electronics

You can also opt to salvage your old electronics for usable parts and components as well, if this course of action seems more appealing to you. It’s plausible that some of your old electronics still contain materials that can be salvaged and reused, even if the device as a whole isn’t working anymore. You may even be able to sell these salvage parts to a local shop that specializes in fixing and refurbishing computers and mobile devices. Be sure to work with a professional who knows the ins and outs of electronics in order to determine if your potential e-waste might actually be salvageable.

A little bit goes a long way. Let’s all do our part in greening up our electronics and disposing of e-Waste responsibly for a better, brighter, and greener future.