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Congress Acts, Consumers Win

By |August 26th, 2014|

Finally, President Obama and the U.S. Congress have found something they can agree on — reducing the amount of e-waste in the United States. In a moment notable for its lack of controversy, the President signed the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act this month.

This bill allows individuals to unlock their current cell phones in order to change telephone service providers, eliminating the need to dispose of old cell phones and purchase new ones when switching phone companies.

Even better, the legislation permits phone resellers and e-cyclers to perform bulk unlocking so that old cell phones can be re-used […]

Your Smartphone Is Going Green

By |July 18th, 2014|

In 2010, U.S. consumers disposed of 152,000,000 mobile devices, including cell phones, smartphones, pages and PDAs. Yep — you read that right. That’s 152 million, which translates into almost 20,000 tons of e-waste, according to the Electronics TakeBack Coalition. And out of that huge total, just 11 percent was recycled.

It’s not a pretty picture. But it looks like that picture is going to improve in the very near future, courtesy of Google, Motorola and an independent organization called Phonebloks. Here’s how the news is playing out:
It started with an idea
Phonebloks got the ball rolling in early 2013 with a […]

Good News for E-Cycling on Two Big Fronts

By |June 16th, 2014|

In the deluge of bad news about electronics recycling that usually fills the news media, it’s always nice to find something to be optimistic about. And although the good news tends to be buried among the disasters and crises of the day, we managed to unearth two great items to share this month. Read on and enjoy:
2013 Was a Record-Breaking Year for E-Cyclers
The numbers are in for last year, and the numbers are very, very good. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, over 620 million pounds of e-waste were collected and recycled in the U.S. in 2013. That amounts […]

Earth Day, Past and Present

By |May 8th, 2014|

Did you remember that April 22 was Earth Day? It’s a day that holds a lot of importance for us, both as recyclers and as citizens of Planet Earth. And this year’s celebration marks something of a milestone — Earth Day turned 44 years old this year. That makes Earth Day about 10 years older than the median age of all U.S. citizens!

Here in Austin the celebration goes on for more than a day. We observe Earth Month throughout the month of April. But 45 years ago, things were a lot different. The phrase “environmental awareness” hadn’t even been […]

Where Do Old Electronics Go to Die?

By |April 14th, 2014|

Recycling e-waste is a lot more complicated than you might think — if you’ve ever thought about it at all. Here in the United States our attitude about electronics recycling seems to be “out of sight, out of mind.” But it’s not that simple in other parts of the world.
Where do your junk electronics end up?
In the hands of an ethical recycler, your old computers, TVs, and cell phones are stripped down in-house. All the hazardous materials are safely separated out and disposed of by a responsible downstream processor.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always how things work out. It’s a common […]

5 Cool and Innovative Uses for Recycled E-Waste

By |March 21st, 2014|

Across the world, creative folks are finding ways to take a small dent out of the 30 million metric tons of electronic waste we accumulate each year. Here are 5 projects that demonstrate some remarkable uses for recycled electronics:
1.  3-D Printer made from e-waste
This has got to blow your mind. Kodjo Afate Gnikou, a 33-year old inventor from Togo in West Africa, made an experimental 3-D printer using recycled materials from old scanners and computers, and $100 worth of new parts. The current model is a prototype — but it works.

Gnikou has initial plans to print useful everyday utensils […]

Great News for CRT Recycling

By |February 21st, 2014|

While nobody’s building cathode ray tube TVs or monitors anymore, that doesn’t mean they’re not a continuing problem in the U.S. and the world. In the past, cathode ray tubes were directly recycled and used to create new TVs and computer monitors — but no more. Plasma and LCD screens have made CRT screens obsolete. Now old CRT technology makes up about half of all the electronics currently in end-of-life storage, waiting to be recycled.The problem with CRTs

Recyclers who have stockpiled millions of tons of these obsolete CRTs face serious challenges. Comprising almost half the weight of a monitor […]

Reduce, Recycle, and Project Reboot

By |January 21st, 2014|

Most of us recognize the term “reboot.” It’s something you do to your computer when it needs a fresh start — usually after some kind of malfunction. Now it’s also something we can all do to address our country’s ineffective electronics recycling initiatives.

Project Reboot is the name given to a joint campaign launched by the United States Institute of Scrap Recycling and Earth911. It’s designed to overcome the biggest obstacles to e-cycling, and it’s coming to a town near you.
What’s keeping us from recycling electronics?
In November of 2013, the ISRI commissioned a study by Harris Interactive that focused on […]

Ring in the New, Recycle the Old

By |December 27th, 2013|

Whether you’ve been celebrating Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, or simply planning ahead for the Super Bowl, you’re likely to have given or received at least one electronic gift during the holiday season. In fact, this year Americans will spend about $8 billion on consumer electronics between November 25 and December 25.

While our lavish gift-giving habits may be good for a somewhat shaky economy, the news is far less good for the planet. A study commissioned by the United Nations reveals that last year, every single person in the United States — that’s including children — discarded 66 pounds of […]

How to Win at Data Destruction

By |November 22nd, 2013|

Computers, cell phones, mobile devices, and even copiers contain a wealth of personal and business data. As individuals, we’re all concerned about protecting our information against internet scammers and identity theft. But the stakes for businesses are far higher — and many times, although businesses protect valuable data while their computer systems are in use, they drop the ball when disposing of old equipment.

We’re not here to scare you — we assume you understand the risks of exposing sensitive information about your business, your clients, and your employees to potential data theft. Instead, we’d like to explain a little […]