Can you name more than one or two things that suffer a shorter lifespan than electronic gizmos?
Once you’ve tired of your smartphone or it’s no longer current (and trading it in isn’t an option), what next? Stuff it in the junk drawer? Trash it? (Hint: Read on for the correct answer.)
Electronics aren’t confined to miniatures, either. How about that defunct VCR/DVD combo player collecting dust in the basement? Or the faulty stereo amplifier that’s been on your repair to-do list since the previous decade? Are you really going to use that second computer—the one that accepts floppy disks—ever again?
It’s all well and good letting these items occupy space in your home, but what happens when you’re getting ready to hire modern movers for a cross-country relocation? Does it make sense paying extra to move—pardon the expression—junk? Why transport items to a new location just so they can take up space? Might as well slice a few dollars off the answer to the question, “how much does it cost to move a household”?
After all, a fresh start shouldn’t involve moving stale stuff. You can effectively cut your cost of moving and might even score a tax write-off in the process. So, while including “move flat screen TV” on your moving checklist makes sense, taking that old, analog boob tube along for the ride doesn’t.
Back in the day, dumping a conked cassette player curbside typically was the way to go. But landfills are so old-fashioned (not to mention environmentally disastrous). That’s because electronic gadgets are rife with toxic substances—including cadmium, lead and mercury—in addition to goodies such as gold.
So, let’s rule out taking the way-too-easy way out. Translation: Thou shalt not improperly discard electronics. Besides, you might have a few usable items in that stack of never-used items that could benefit someone else.
If that’s not sufficient motivation, consider this: 25 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia have laws governing e-waste recycling. The State of California, for example, regards all electronic waste as hazardous. Texas requires computer makers to offer residents a free recycling program. New York bans anyone from disposing of covered electronic equipment in landfills, waste-to-energy facilities or curbside trash.
Adhering to sustainability’s reduce-reuse-recycle motto isn’t that difficult. Plus, you’ll help the environment and perhaps other individuals. By tackling this portion of your pre-pack stage early, you’ll also significantly decrease your moving stress.
Donate to charities
One of the easiest ways to discard unwanted electronics is via such nonprofit organizations as Goodwill, Salvation Army or Savers. All have brick-and-mortar thrift stores and donation sites.
These organizations convert money earned from the sale of donated items into concrete ways to help the community, including job training/placement, poverty relief and epilepsy prevention. Remember the old adage, “One man's trash is another man's treasure”? Hobbyists might value your discarded electronics. Their enthusiasm could keep your 8-track player from inhabiting a landfill or taking up valuable storage space in your new home.
Goodwill goes the extra mile via Dell Reconnect, a partnership that enables Goodwill to accept any computer brand (and associated gadgets). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency advises consumers to remove batteries from electronic devices as they might require separate recycling.
Keep in mind: Many charitable organizations are quite specific about TVs. Goodwill only accepts flat-screen TVs. Salvation Army refuses TVs older than five years. So, you’ll need to discard analog TV sets by taking advantage of community donation special events or recycling companies. Check the Telecommunications Industry Association’s online directory for your state’s events and recyclers, which also are good options for non-working items that can be salvaged for parts and precious metals.
Remember to protect your privacy when discarding devices containing personal info. You wouldn’t want your Social Security number, financial records or passwords winding up in the wrong hands. Consumer Reports offers a detailed guide to zapping data from PCs, smartphones, gaming consoles and more.
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