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How to Donate or Recycle Phones, Computers and Electronics

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The rise of technology has created an unprecedented level of global connection, at a faster and faster pace. It's simpler than ever to do things like work with thousands of strangers to achieve a common goal, or help an entrepreneur get up and running anywhere on the globe.

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It's an amazing world -- recycling and donating electronics keeps it beautiful! Photo by Amy Neumann

The rise of technology has also created the need to sustainably reuse or recycle all of the gadgets we use to connect. According to the most recent EPA statistics available, in 2009 in the United States:

  • 438 million new consumer electronics were sold;
  • 5 million tons of electronics were in storage;
  • 2.37 million tons of electronics were ready for end-of-life management; and
  • 25 percent of these tons were collected for recycling

"Do not wait for extraordinary circumstances to do good action; try to use ordinary situations."

-- Jean Paul Richter

Do you want to be a hero for the environment? If some of these older electronics are hanging around your office or home, below are a few simple ways to donate them to charity, along with methods to properly recycle.

Donating Electronics to Charity

Since nonprofits are always delicately balancing the need for technology with tight budgets, donating technology is a big help. Organizations like TechSoup specialize in connecting corporations with technology to give with the nonprofits who need them. From an individual perspective, there are programs like Dell Reconnect, a partnership with Goodwill Industries. Computer donations are often tax-deductible.

Donated mobile devices can literally be lifesavers. Numerous domestic violence programs and shelters use working phones as a lifeline for survivors, or proceeds from recycling programs to fund domestic violence programs. Verizon's HopeLine is a free way to get your used, working device into the hands of someone who can really use it.

Electronics Recycling (eCycling)

Reuse and recycling are both helpful to the planet, resulting in less landfill waste, more reclaimed resources, and cost savings to organizations who receive donated electronics. Recycling can also keep harmful materials from inadvertently getting into the environment.

Find out more about recycling, and where in your neighborhood electronics can be recycled, at EPA.gov
or Earth911.

After all, we only have one, beautiful world in which to stay connected.

Amy Neumann is a social entrepreneur, writer, speaker and consultant on social good marketing. She is also passionate about sustainability. Check out her Charity Ideas Blog and follow her on Twitter @CharityIdeas.