Today marks Earth Day, the annual event designed to raise awareness of the environment and our impact as humans on the world around us, encouraging us to recycle.
One sector that constitutes an increasingly serious environmental hazard is technology. Given the rate that many people buy and discard technological devices, it is no surprise that there are millions of old cell phones, laptops and batteries lying around, writes Alyssa Newcomb for ABC News.
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Recycle your old devices and help the environment
In fact the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered from every one million mobile devices that are recycled.
By recycling 1 million laptops we can also save the same amount of electricity used by 3,500 U.S. homes in a year, says the EPA. Earth Day provides the perfect opportunity to cut down on your tech clutter while also helping out the environment.
Recycling electronics is not has hard as many people think. Before you recycle it is important to delete your personal data in order to prevent your information potentially falling into the wrong hands.
Many devices will have a factory reset button which wipes data. This is especially true for old phones. According to the EPA many types of battery need to be removed from devices to be recycled separately.
iPhones and Apple devices
Apple has its own recycling program known as Apple Renew. The company invites owners to bring their old devices into an Apple Store for recycling, but if there are no stores close by you can also print a mailing label from the company website. Simply attach the label to a package containing your old device and send it by post.
If you recycle the iPad 2, iPhone 4, or Macs from 2007 or newer you could receive a gift card. This depends on the condition of the device. You are still allowed to bring old iPods in for recycling, with the exception of the iPod Shuffle, and get 10% off a new iPod.
Apple uses a robot named Liam to take apart old iPhones. Liam made his debut last month and is capable of deconstructing over 1.2 million iPhones per year, stripping different components that can be reused or recycled.
Liam takes cobalt and lithium from old batteries, removes gold and copper from the camera and can even take the silver and platinum out of the main logic board.
There are plenty of smartphone makers that have their own mail-in and in-store recycling programs. Samsung and LG have mail-in schemes, while Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile have a range of recycling programs which sometimes include in-store drop-off.
Many smartphone manufacturers and carriers offer mail-in and in-store recycling options. Samsung and LG let customers mail-in their old devices, while carriers such as Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile all offer various recycling programs — some as simple as dropping off an old device at a store.
There are a number of materials that can be recycled in single-use batteries, such as zinc, manganese and steel. Their rechargeable cousins also contain lead, platsic and metal that are also good for recycling.
Log on to the Call2Recycle website to find the nearest battery drop-off location near you from their online database. Many drop-off points are located in stores like Radio Shack, Lowe’s and Home Depot.