If you have many damaged electronic devices around your home, you might be wondering what to do with them. At first, you may find it necessary to throw them in the trash as it is, but this method is impractical and harmful to the environment. As old electronic devices fill up landfills, improperly disposed of and dumped electronic waste release toxic chemicals such as lead, chromium, cadmium, fire retardants, and the like.
As a result, these chemicals will eventually leak and penetrate the surroundings, affecting nearby landfills, groundwater, and the atmosphere. Also, electronic waste can affect or damage the blood, kidneys, and nervous system. People living near landfill sites are the most affected, as well as people tasked to look after these dumpsites.
When it’s nearly time to say goodbye to your expensive gadgets and electronics, you’ll be surprised that bidding farewell isn’t always the case. Take a look at some ways on what you can do with your damaged electronic devices:
Try To Make Them Work Again
Broken electronics are typically only able to function with the proper connection. One of the best things you can do with your damaged or broken electronic devices is to get them to work again with the same amount of power. You can do this by taking a look at your damaged electronic device to determine if it’s a simple battery issue. Plug the device back into its charger, wait for it to charge completely, and you’re good to go.
If your electronic device is still under the manufacturer's warranty, you can bring it to the nearest manufacturer outlet near you and have it checked. In some cases, they might require you to purchase a new component of your device that isn’t covered by the warranty.
On another end, some owners attempt to have their devices fixed by technicians when the device is no longer covered by the warranty. While this can be a good option, you should be prepared for labor and material costs.
Also, some electronic devices with defects still work and serve their purpose, that’s why many people continue to use them. However, this might be the cause of why your electric bill is high. They could also pose a risk for your safety.
Getting Rid Of Your Devices
If it’s really time to say goodbye to your devices, the best thing to do is get rid of them properly and effectively. If it’s still booting up, ensure that all your files, including documents, images, videos, and audio files, are backed up. Then, perform a factory reset to erase all existing data. You wouldn’t want to get your data compromised because of throwing away your devices hastily.
Once your device has no more trace of your personal data, you can destroy the drives completely by breaking it down physically with a hammer or drill. Don’t forget to wear safety goggles if you do this.
Remove The Batteries Away And Recycle Them
Your electronic batteries are the most harmful components of your device, and you can’t just throw them away after consumption. The right way to dispose of batteries is through battery recycling, which is a small way of making a huge difference for the environment.
If you’re wondering why you should recycle batteries instead of throwing them away, here are a few ideas:
- Minimize risks of inducing fire: Specific battery types such as lithium-ion batteries catch fire when a short circuit happens between its terminals that cause ignition. If these batteries are thrown into landfills, they can potentially cause large-scale fire and air pollution.
- Show your value to battery resources: Batteries are created through numerous non-renewable resources, such as mercury, lead, uranium, cadmium, manganese, and more, which can be recycled instead of throwing them away.
- Keep toxic chemicals away from people: As mentioned, most of the chemicals that leak from a device is from its battery. Your old batteries should be handled with care and disposed of properly to avoid the reach of children.
- Help create a circular, non-wasteful economy: Instead of making new products from new resources, you can reuse old materials for as long as possible, avoiding the wasteful culture of the traditional economy.
- Protect the environment: As mentioned, recycling batteries stop people from throwing them in landfills, which could penetrate the soil, water, and air, harming ecosystems near these areas.
Keep In Touch With The Brand
Another compelling option is to contact the brand manufacturer of your device. Several tech giants have recycling programs for their brands. If your device is somewhat in a usable condition, they either pay you back or offer a trade-in deal with other incentives. You can visit your brand manufacturer’s website or contact them to know more about their recycling program.
Usually, you can have these devices shipped to their office or factory, provided with instructions on how you can properly prepare and wrap the devices into a package. Some companies might also pick them up from your address.
Surrendering your devices to these electronic experts, in most cases, is better than recycling them yourself. These brands know better how to responsibly reuse, recycle, and dispose of these devices.
Donate Your Devices
If your device is only slightly damaged but is still functional, you can donate it to those in need. Different organizations accept these devices, fix them, and give it to their beneficiaries, while some resell devices for their cause.
Try to find some organizations like these that could accept device donations:
- Organizations working with troops and veterans that solicit slightly damaged phones and offer it to their constituents for communication services
- Groups that collect donations and sell these old electronics then donate the money to military veterans and their families.
- A group that caters to hospitalized children to make their hospital stay more fun and comfortable. Donating your used computer, gaming console, or music player that still works would mean a lot to them.
- There are groups that accept unwanted devices and attempt to fix them, then give them to nonprofit and low-income people for free.
- The digital divide is a real issue that the youth around the world is currently facing. Some education-focused organizations accept damaged computers or laptops, repair them, and donate them to schools and colleges.
- Donate your used consoles and games to organizations that offer gaming technology to people with disabilities.
Being a responsible consumer means you should know what to do with your products after using them. You should show and demonstrate the same enthusiasm for recycling your used electronic devices as when you’re buying them from the retail store. Follow these steps on what you can do to your damaged electronic devices to make the most of its consumption, and have it disposed of in a proper and ethical way.