gadets

Sara’s Tech Tips: Spring Cleaning Your Gadgets

February 20, 2011 at 10:16 am , by

sara _0079Editor’s Note: We’re excited to introduce LHJ’s new tech contributor, Sara Haines of NBC’s Today show! This month she’s got some great tips for spring cleaning your tech clutter.

Chances are, you’ve got an old cell phone or two stuffed in a drawer. Maybe you have an outdated TV gathering dust in the basement or a printer that doesn’t really work any more. Most of these gadgets can’t even be fixed (or in many cases it’s cheaper to buy a new one). Or maybe your kids had to have that new game system and quickly forgot the old one. But what should we do with all this tech clutter? Unlike your usual spring cleaning, it’s not as simple as dropping these outdated tech toys into the trash. Some of the materials, like the cathode ray tubes in televisions, can be hazardous in landfills, and other items that still work can be donated instead of ditched. Here are my three favorite tips to help you “spring clean” responsibly when it comes to your has-been electronics.

Company “take back” programs. Many big chain stores (such as Staples and Best Buy) and manufacturers (like Apple and Sony) have beefed up their “green” game by offering incentives or resources to recycle old consumer gadgets. Check out Engadget to find the most comprehensive list (including stores, manufacturers, and government agencies) for these “take back” programs.

Recycling. The resources are available for electronic recycling vary depending on where you live, but many gadgets can be recycled. Here are a few sites that can help you find the best options for your area. Earth911.com and MyGreenElectronics.org both allow you to search for a recycling center by ZIP code. ElectronicsRecycling.org is also a great resource to find collection events taking place locally.

Tech patience. Practice self control when it comes to new gadgets. It may be hard for you (or your husband or kids) to pass up that shiny new gizmo, but holding out for the second round of a product gives manufacturers time to work out early developmental glitches. Buying later also practically guarantees a lower price. Patience is a virtue that will reduce electronic waste while saving you money!