Updated February 1, 2009

Electronic Waste is EVERYONE'S Responsibility

Electronic waste has become a huge problem. When computers, stereos, VCRs, iPods, walkmans, video games, software, and cell phones are put into land fills, they leak poisons and heavy metals into the ground, endangering our lives and the health of our planet. With 48.5 million computers discarded each year, the USA is a particularly poor recycler and global citizen, exporting its hazardous electronic waste to developing countries, often illegally, and with horrific impacts on human health and the environment in these countries. According to UNESCO, in 2008, almost 180 million computers were replaced by new machines, and an estimated 35 million computers, all containing toxic substances, were dumped rather than recycled or disposed of properly.

PLEASE do not throw away your computer, networking, audio or video technology (including cell phones) or software into the trash (and don't allow your nonprofit to do it either!). Instead, look for computer/technology recycling centers in your area, or sell your equipment. There are many mission-based/civil society organizations that accept ewaste, either to refurbish it and provide it to schools, other civil society organizations and low-income communities, or to extract what is still usable and to properly dispose of the rest. And there is a growing number of for-profit companies who will process ewaste in an ecologically-sound manner.

To find such organizations in your area, you will have to do some detective work on your own:

You can also try selling the hardware via the classified section of your local newspaper or eBay.

Remember to clean off all of the information from your electronics BEFORE you donate/sell!. Even if you go through and delete all of your information, some files can still be recovered. To be absolutely safe, reformat your hard drive.

These recycling resources and campaigns can also help:

Otherwise, please contact me for permission to reprint, present or distribute these materials (for instance, in a class or book or online event for which you intend to charge).

The art work and material on this site was created and is copyrighted 1996-2011
by Jayne Cravens, all rights reserved
(unless noted otherwise, or the art comes from a link to another web site).