OCTOBER 18, 2013 BY 

As recycling has expanded and more communities and cities within the U.S. are rolling out stellar recycling programs, a need for other recycling ventures is growing. Items like mobile phones, in particular, are in need of an adequate recycling program as cell phone usage has increased substantially. While mobile phone recycling programs are gaining popularity, not all electronic recycling programs should be considered the same. And although your intentions may be good, some recycling programs are not. As a result, it’s important that you find a reputable recycler in your area where you can drop-off your gadgets. Once you determine the recycling program you want to use, there are certain steps you must take to ensure you recycle your gadgets properly.

This is why YVSC partners with Waste Management for our Recycling Day, and with the Wireless Alliance to take our cell phones and small electronics throughout the rest of the year. You can bring large electronics to the Waste Management office year round (Downhill Drive) and bring your cell phones to the drop box inside the front door at Wells Fargo, the front offices of both the Steamboat Springs High and Middle Schools, or right to the YVSC office at 141 9th Street. 

Although it may seem like you can easily drop off your recyclable electronics with any retailer or manufacturer, not all of them have recycling programs. While some stores take small electronic items like cell phones, rechargeable batteries, and ink-jet cartridges for free, larger goods, such as TVs, refrigerators, and laundry machines can only be recycled without a fee if you’re buying a replacement from them. Other stores provide discounts for trade-in electronics like PCs, game consoles, MP3 players, and cell phones. Because not all retailers offer free recycling, you can purchase boxes from certain office suppliers, cram it with all of your devices, and then return it to the store where they will take care of the recycling from there. If you don’t want to go to a retailer you can always go straight to the source and recycle your cell phone directly with the manufacturer or provider.

You should always clean or wipe the memory of any gadget that might contain personal information. Just like with any electronic device you have—whether it be a desktop or a mobilerecyclingtablet—you should never leave any traces of credit card information, social security numbers, passwords, and other personal data on your electronic gadgets. Luckily, there are many programs, such as DataEraser and WipeDrive, which can do all the work for you. Although it’s easier to take significant data off of cell phones, you should still be vigilant when stripping your mobile devices, especially your smartphone which should be treated like your laptop or home computer as it’s used in a similar manner.

As of July, 2013, it is illegal to dispose of this waste in the landfill.

this post was submitted by YVSC reader Joanne Peters