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Recycle Your Unwanted Electronics to See #WhatsInsideYours

| October 6, 2014 | 12 Comments

Families are becoming more reliant on technology to get through life nowadays. I remember when we wrote letters and called to stay in touch with people, read the morning newspaper to catch up on what was happening in the world, and either wrote out or clacked away on a typewriter to write out a report. Now we have devices that have pretty much made these methods of communication out-of-date. The funny thing about these devices is that they also seem to become obsolete just about as quickly as they are created.

Here are just some of the devices that my family no longer uses because they have either become obsolete, or they have replaced by a newer product.

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For me, it will be hard to say goodbye to the laptop and the smartphone. They have been with me for years, and they were both my first devices of their kind. I have had both of them before my two younger children were born, and they helped to share different milestones of my family’s life while they were operational. Now I have to let go of these “family treasures,” but I to do them want responsibly.

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Since devices are becoming more and more expendable, they are being tossed away when they can be of use to someone in some way, shape or form. This is creating electronic waste or e-waste. One way that these devices can stop clogging up our homes and landfills is by recycling them. The Ontario Electronic Stewardship (OES) is a not-for-profit industry organization that looks over the responsible reuse and recycling of unwanted electronics. They do so through a program that includes numerous OES-approved collection sites and many other affiliate sites across Ontario. They are trying to help people like me to learn and to recycle unwanted and out-of-date electronics instead of throwing them away into our landfills. Below are some methods you can use in order to have the devices you no longer need recycled.

1 Recycle Stations
You can drop off devices and electronics you no longer need at a recycle station. There are many of them throughout Ontario. At these recycling centres, your electronics are collected and sorted. They are then sent to and Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA)-approved recycling facility to remove any substances that may harm the environment. The remaining parts are then separated in order to find recyclable material such as metals, plastics and glass so they can be used to make new products. RecycleYourElectronics.ca is a site where you can go to find out which your electronics can be recycled in Ontario, what can be refurbished, and can show you where the closet recycling centres are you with 25 km.

2 Giving Back to Our Community
Donating your unwanted electronics is another way these items will not find their way into our landfills. There are many organizations around Ottawa and Ontario that will take these devices and turn it around so that it benefits the community. If drop off your e-waste to one great organizations, some or all of the proceeds from these donations will go towards supporting our community! It could go towards providing food, creating shelter, giving families these devices who could not afford to pay for them on their own, or providing funds for research to finding a cure for a disease that is afflicting many Canadians who live among us. As much as getting something feels great, giving something that will help others in so many ways feels great, too!

3 Getting a Little Something for Yourself
It is great to help out your community and the environment, but sometimes, there should be something in it for yourself, too. There are some companies that will take your e-waste and give you something in return. Some of them are trying to reduce the amount of minerals that are taken out of the earth to make new devices by reselling your unwanted items. They will take your devices and will they may apply it towards store credit towards the purchase of an item, or they may give you cash back for the precious materials that hidden beneath the metal or plastic covers of your devices. Some of these electronics use copper, gold or other precious metals to produce these devices, so your unwanted electronics could end up being another person’s treasure! Giving your e-waste to a retailer who will give you something back is a win-win-win situation. You get a perk from the retailer; the retailer gets a product they can resell to someone else, and the environment will have fewer minerals extracted from it and polluting it.

These are just some of the ways that families can recycle their e-waste in order to reduce the amount of e-waste in our landfills and help limit the amount of materials that are being harvested from the earth to create new electronic devices. It may not seem like a lot, but just think about the amount of unwanted devices around your home. Then think about the amount of homes within your community with families that are piling up with devices. Eventually they will have to go somewhere, and some people may decide to put them in the trash. That would be a lot of e-waste that could have a better purpose and less harmful outcome to our environment elsewhere.

Here is one of a series of funny videos the OES created to help get the word out about the significance of seeing what’s inside your unwanted electronics by reusing and recycling them.

I hope that you were able to see the benefits of recycling and reusing electronic devices, find the devices around your home that no longer work or are no longer needed, then visit RecycleYourElectronics.ca to see where the closest electronic collection site is to give some new life to not only the device, but to our communities and to our environment as well.

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Category: Being Green, Living, Tech

About the Author ()

My name is Lian Wright. Born in Toronto, I came to Ottawa as a student to study Political Science at Carleton University, and came away with an Honours Degree, and decided to stay. I'm a huge sports fan, have a love of reading, and like experiencing new things whenever I can. I am now a mother of three children (11, 1 and 7 months old) and am kept constantly on my toes. My blog, Pieces of Me, is my way of sharing what I have enjoyed and encountered in my life so far as a mother. So far, being a mom has had it's expected ups and downs, but that's what makes being a parent so fulfilling for me. I've loved and learned from what's happened so far, and I can't wait to see what's in store for me next. I hope you enjoy the journey with me! Author's website.

Comments (12)

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  1. Hi Lian,

    Great post. I have to agree it is hard to give up electronics such as your smartphone or laptop. I am desperately in need for a new laptop but this one holds so many memories, LOL. We definity have some old treasures to part with. Thanks for sharing a few “green” ways we can do that!

    • Lian says:

      Hi Tammy! It was sad to collect some of my “family treasures,” but I know that if they are going to be put to good use somewhere else, then that makes me a happier and more ready to let them go. Until I wrote this post, I did not know what happened to these devices once they were given to a recycling depot.

  2. Jenn says:

    Great post! I love this idea. The thought of just throwing it out pains me! Such a waste! I love knowing that it is being refurbished!

    • Lian says:

      Hi, Jenn! This program the OES has helped to bring about is really great! It is great to know that you have different options as to how to recycle your devices, too, so you can decide whether you want to donate it so a charity can benefit from your donation, you can have pieces of your device reused, or you can get something for giving up your device!

  3. I love the Ontario “–” Stewardships! I recently learned of the Tire one and now I I hear about the Electronic one. That is really fabulous. We have a ton of electronics to get rid of, LOL

    • Lian says:

      Hi Suzanne! The OES is fantastic about trying to get Ontarians to recycle their old or out-of-date devices and electronics. I hope that you the link in my post to find the closest location for your family to drop off these items!

  4. Monica says:

    My family and I are big proponents of recycling and upcycling. It is critical that this type of materials do not end up in a landfill somewhere. Twice a year we have an electronics recycle station set up in our community mall and the collected electronics are either repaired and donated or recycled in a responsible manner. Awesome post!

    • Lian says:

      Hi Monica! I think it is fabulous what you and your family does to help keep electronics out of our landfills! If more people knew how important it was to recycle or upcycle these items, then a lot of our resources would be saved when creating new ones.

  5. It’s always best to recycle working electronics, throwing it out is such a shame.

    • Lian says:

      Hi celebbabylaundry! I agree! This might be a reason why some people have been holding on to the devices they have stocked up in their homes. Thanks for your comment!

  6. Aimee Robison says:

    Thank you for the great post. I have to admit that I don’t like the idea of tossing out my electrics, especially my old laptops. But I recently found a drop off for my old laptops to be recycled, and I dropped them off.

  7. Brenda A says:

    Sadly, my nearest electronics recycler stopped accepting e-waste. I loved The Restore for that!

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