When something is broken or otherwise no longer of use to us, we often just throw it away. Maybe we can try to sell it, but really we'd rather it just be out of our home and not taking up space just for the sake of taking up space.
For many things -- especially if they are small enough -- that means just tossing them in the trash and forgetting about them. For larger items, we tend to rely on dumpsters and/or bulk trash pickup.
But while it's perfectly fine to toss away much of your junk, it's important to know a few things first. After all, not all trash is created equal and thanks to our sponsor HelloTech, we know why.
Here's what you need to know
The first thing to keep in mind is that many electronics can be recycled. Now, recycling electronic waste is not the same as your normal paper or plastic, which is why if not done properly it can actually be harmful to the environment.
There are certain standards that must be met for recycling e-waste the right way, and if they aren't then it is really no better than just throwing it out.
But that's just the beginning of what you'll want to know. What else?
Not all people are qualified to dispose of e-waste
Did you know there are groups and businesses who are certified to dispose of electronic waste? Indeed, they get the honor from the Basel Action Network, which provides the backing to those who do not transfer their e-waste to offshore toxic pits.
Certified disposers will have an E-Steward label on their websites. If you are struggling to find a group that has one, it's good to know that every Staples store will accept e-waste.
Before you toss it, prep it
This goes for even non-electronic waste, but make sure you seal up anything that is broken or has broken glass in separate containers. That will prevent toxic chemicals from leaking.
Ideally you would turn to a sturdy box for housing these kind of items, with an absorbent material placed in the box first. You will also want to put on latex gloves and a face mask before handling these kind of materials.
E-waste doesn't have to harm the environment to hurt
If you are dumping something that harbors data, like a computer hard drive, you will want to wipe it clean before getting rid of it. That means erasing it so that there is no chance any personal information or data will end up with someone who shouldn't have it.
Fortunately, groups with E-Steward certification will include the clearing out of all your data during their recycling process.
And finally, understand what exactly it is you have
You might think that when it comes to disposal, all batteries are the same. Similar for light bulbs, probably. But the truth is even within certain types of items, there are differences that matter when their time is up.
With batteries, alkaline is recyclable but mercury-based need to go through a separation process.
There are also notable differences in light bulbs, many of which -- including florescent and CFLs but not incandescent -- contain mercury and must be discarded responsibly. Waste management collection agencies can recycle bulbs, as can mail-back services such as Waste Management's Think Green.
Struggling to learn how to use your tech? Don't trash it!
Sure that fancy new gadget looked appealing, but do you know how to use it? Not only that, but do you know how to get the most out of it?
Technology is great as long as we know what we're doing, and that's where HelloTech comes in to help. They offer support for a variety of issues and gadgets, ensuring everything is working and secure.
Call today! Every second your computer is infected, you and your contacts are at risk. Visit HelloTech.com/KIM and automatically get 15 percent off your entire service! Use the tech support team Kim recommends, HelloTech. Good bye frustration, HelloTech!