It’s true that the slogan is often misrepresented by organizations purporting to have agendas that will save the earth (what “saving the earth” amounts to varies)… But that aside, it’s easy to forget in the world of mass production that electronics are made with rare earth materials and metallic and plastic components that can all be recycled and used again.
Recycling is nothing new. You you hear about it all the time and most cities have collection facilities for glass, paper, cardboard, and plastics among others. Because electronics like routers, cabling, cell phones, laptops and TVs usually contain a combination of all of the above it’s easy to think “well, it just goes in the landfill!” While in most cases this is fine, many of the elements used in electronics don’t easily break down and they’re also in limited supply. Specialized recycling facilities exist to break down these household devices into more basic components so they can be turned back into raw materials again. You might ask, “we’ve been told many different things are in short supply for years, why does this matter aside from other things?“
That’s a very valid question! The answer lies in the fact that whether it be good or bad, the world will only become more reliant on computers as time progresses. In order to help keep costs down and availability open it’s important to recycle the same basic components from previous generation devices, even ones that might work just fine if they’re not being used anymore. This will allow the next generation of electronics to be built with less expense, and keep toxic materials like mercury that were unfortunately used in some screens and circuit boards from purging into the water supply. If the device is still usable, try selling it! Many marketplaces like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or Craigslist are great opportunities to make some extra cash off of devices you no longer you use. Especially if it’s from a brand name like Apple, Samsung, LG, or a big-time vendor like Cisco. Ultimately though, all electronics come to a point where they are no longer useful. So when that point comes, if recycling them is a good thing, how do we do that? It’s not like you can put out a bag of glass, a bag of cardboard, and a bag of routers!
The first thing to do is check locally. Stores like Best Buy have collection containers located in their lobby areas or will accept larger items like TVs and laptops at their service counter for recycling. If you aren’t near a large city Apple offers free recycling services for virtually all electronic devices for free. If you go to Apple’s trade-in site, you can get a shipping label and as long as you can get a box to put it in, they will send it to a facility that can recycle it at no cost to you.
If you keep these concepts in mind for all electronics whether it be cabling that is no longer needed, or routers, switches, smart home devices and more that are simply no longer usable we can help work together to make the future of electronics manufacturing less expensive and healthier for everyone!