Responsible recycling of technical gadgets.
Gadget geeks are eager to get the latest digital technology – but what happens when you upgrade old gadgets? Many electronic devices contain heavy metals and other toxic chemicals that may cause pollution. Tech guru Mario Armstrong has tips for responsible recycling.
I’m Ed Gordon, and this is news and attention.
The pace of technology is moving so fast that it seems as if you’re buying a gadget that’s already out of date. As the price of electronics falls, it’s easy to find yourself with a collection of high-tech toys that collect dust from your home.
The farakardi report:
You know, I have this laptop sitting in my house, probably about seven years old.
Mr. MARIO ARMSTRONG (news and note Tech Guru) : you don’t know what to do.
CHIDEYA:…… I don’t want to throw it in the dustbin. What am I supposed to do with this?
Mr. Armstrong: yes, that’s good, because your predicament is something that many people experience, especially when you’re in the spring and summer, and people start thinking about what you can get rid of. And electronic products, more and more families have more of these things. So it’s very common for you to be a laptop. Currently, the environmental protection agency estimates that about 1 to 4 percent of solid waste from the country comes from these electronic devices.
One thing you should consider, therefore, is that if you have an old device, check out the computer recycling program provided by the manufacturer, especially if you are buying a new computer. They’ll even come and take your old ones for free. Other options may be to check local computer dealers in the area. There is also a website that does have a computer recycling activity. It’s called Computertakeback.com. They have a list of registered recycling sites, which may be in your neighborhood, and you can turn them off.
CHIDEYA: so what are the drawbacks? Tell us, specifically, what happens if you happen to throw away your old phone or computer with household garbage.
Mr. Armstrong: you know, it’s not good for your health. I mean, the circuit boards in the computer have all kinds of harmful chemicals, so you don’t want to ingest them or use them in your environment. I mean, lead, mercury, cadmium. These old displays are known as CRT or cathode ray tubes, and all of these things – even mobile phones, MP3 players, DVDS – somehow shape or form harmful chemicals.
Just throw them in the garbage can and they’ll end up in landfills. You know, it might end up in our water. And if we do this in this way, we’re going to use more and more technology, and it does have some detrimental effects.
CHIDEYA: so, on the one hand, you have the fact that you can harm the environment, your own family and your neighbors by not properly disposing of these objects. Then, you have a computer recycling program. How about the cell phone? If you’re buying a new phone, are there any plans that might be better?
Mr. Amstone: the mobile phone company does a lot of things. In some cases, they recycle their phones and renovate their phones. For outdated or outdated phones, they donate them to charity. These companies even offer these companies to women who help deal with abuse and abuse or relationships, and they need emergency cell phones.
Because many people don’t know that even if the phone doesn’t have a continuous contract with the telecom company, it can still call 911. So guys, please don’t throw away your cell phone. Please give them these cell phone companies, because they will make sure they get a good charity.
CHIDEYA: when it comes to charity, there will be a lot of people who will be happy to get an old, but working computer.
Mr. Armstrong: tons. I mean, Goodwill is a major user of this kind of technology, and they do have a good program to retrofit these computers. So yes, there are a lot of nonprofits.
So, you might think that it’s really rubbish, and usually, even seven years, maybe in a laptop, there’s something available. In a computer, there are available parts. The keyboard may still work. Hard drives may still work, but if you want to give up your computer, we need to talk about how to protect your data. And your monitor may still work properly, and the memory inside the computer.
So low-income communities are hungry for their help, and nonprofits are willing to accept their help.
CHIDEYA: why don’t we end up with an end record. What is happening with more efficient computers in terms of electricity use; More efficient battery? Is the performance going up?
Mr. Armstrong: yes, you can see that, right? It is happening now because it involves fuel and our dependence on the economy. So, we’re looking at a number of really innovative different technologies that are really pushing for safer processes in the natural environment. In fact, some computer companies are now considering how to use better ingredients to make computers. Because it not only reduces their costs, but also benefits them in the environment. So it’s good for them in pr.
CHIDEYA: one more thing before I give up: any website or any comparison chart on fuel efficiency and energy consumption? If they are going to buy a new computer or cell phone, where can people go?
Mr. Armstrong: yes, that’s a good question. There are several resources on the Internet. Some of them – I gave you three – actually four – Computertakeback.com, talking about how to deal with e-waste and corporate accountability, but it also allows you to take responsible recycling steps. So it’s a nice place.
In fact, I was surprised – I’m sorry I found a tangent here – but I am very surprised to find that a new report shows that up to 75% of the computer and electronic products to Africa, it claims can be repeated use, is actually a garbage, unable to repair, beyond repair. Therefore, I am very interested in learning more about this particular article.
But Epa. Gov has a lot of links and information. And silicon valley has a poison alliance, in short, SVTC.org. The last one is CNET.com, CNET.com.
CHIDEYA: okay, Mario Armstrong, thank you very much.
Mr. Armstrong: happy recycling.
CHIDEYA: Mario Armstrong is a contributor to news and notes technology. He also performed for members of the Baltimore district radio, WEAA and WYPR.
Responsible recycling of technical gadgets.