So you’ve made some tough cuts and are finally willing to let go of what amounts to staggering tangle of old electronics. Woohoo! This is just part one though.
It’s so easy to just load them into a contractors’ bag and drag them to the curb, especially since there’s something especially liberating about decluttering mystery cords and obsolete gadgets. You might pause at the thought of them living an endless life in a landfill, but then trash them anyway. Who on earth has time to deliver every little piece of garbage to it’s greenest resting place?
Considering that only 14% of our gadgets get recycled, and I don’t fully trust in all electronics recycling programs, it is absolutely our responsibility to go the extra mile to recycle what we can, as best we can. The 2nd paragraph of the New York Times’ Where Do Old Cellphones Go To Die? will clarify that distrust. After my visit to the local metal scrap yard, I believe frequenting these places even with a laughably small load is recycling the best we can.
Last week found me TWICE at my local Silver Spring, MD scrap metal recycling center. It was the perfect confluence of helping my mom to declutter her basement and my client telling me he takes scrap metal to a place within a mile of my home. I brought two loads of copper wire, tangled phone wire, printer wire, mystery wire, and an umbrella stand. They simply weigh it and hand you cash. I made $34. $30 of that was from the copper. Though I didn’t bring cell phones, they do take them.
What I like about doing this is threefold:
You can be certain that the wires will be properly stripped and the metals reused. Think of these places as the (near) end of the recycling food chain. Some people like to watch their papers shredded on the spot. I like to watch my metals recycled on the spot.
You get paid, especially if you have copper.
It’s fast. Each time I was in and out in under 10 minutes.
Not everyone has the “luxury” of living a mile from one of these centers, but please go the extra mile to ensure your gadgets and metals that you enjoyed for a mere blip on your timeline aren’t living an eternal life in a landfill. It’s not always convenient to do the right thing, but it is our duty as consumers to do this.