Jeff Bittner

What do people typically do with their tech?

  • Gift it to a family member or friend
  • Sell it online
  • Leave it in your basement, closet or garage
  • Update it and use it until the tech fully fails or ages out
  • Throw it into the garbage
  • Bring it to a designated location where they can recycle the correct way

Some Pitfalls with Recycling Technology
There are a few things to be aware of when recycling your old technology. The first is when you pass on technology to another person, if you have not securely wiped the data, it can lead to your personal information becoming exposed. Most people think reformatting or deleting data makes everything okay. This could not be further from the truth. There are numerous programs that can be used to salvage deleted data that are readily accessible with a quick google search.

While selling old technology does net you some funds towards something new, it is like selling your car to a dealership you are going to get a very low amount for it. Also, if you venture into craigslist or eBay you run the risk of having to bargain with buyers to get the most you can out of it. Lastly when you throw away a computer, a cell phone, or any other technology without recycling it correctly it can lead to polluting the environment. The share of large household appliances that had to be replaced within the first five years grew from 7 percent of total replacements in 2004 to more than 13 percent in 2013—that is nearly double in less than a decade. According to a Gallup poll, 89 percent of young adults (18 to 29) own smartphones; 41 percent of the older generation owned VCRs at the same age respectively to put it into perspective.

  • So, what does this all mean and how can you ensure that you not only getting the most out of your technology?
  • Also, how do you ensure that you are being responsible with your technology from a carbon footprint perspective?

Make an Educated Decision
You can find plenty of local resources that can point you in the right direction to make an educated decision and have a better understanding of the impact of throwing away technology as well as recycling it.

Countries like the United States regulate where and how e-waste gets recycled, but many goods still fill landfills instead. Of the $206 billion spent on consumer electronics in the U.S. in 2012, only 29 percent of the resulting e-waste generated was recycled. The rest were simply trashed. Who even remembers what they did with their first (or third, or fifth) iPhone?

Most technology companies are not in the market to help you extend the lifetime of your technology equipment you have purchased from them. Their primary objective is to get you the latest and greatest device so that you can keep up with the Jones’s. Now by no means is this a bad thing. We are all want to remain relevant with our technology so that we can communicate and function on the highest level possible. That is something that is universally understood in every country in the world. So how do you remain relevant while also getting the best bang for the buck for your equipment?

There are steps. These steps can teach you how to keep your technology up to date and running smooth. They not only keep computer repair people in business, but they also prop up the back-bone of numerous companies because, let’s face it, teaching your mother on how to reformat and operating system is more than likely not going to happen. There are so many routes to go and all of them are feasible options:

  • Pay for a warranty for your equipment that can extendsthe lifetime of your equipment
  • Have a reputable company maintain and clean your equipment
  • Are we not giving steps to maintain your technology, not to get rid of it?
  • There are plenty of resources on the internet that can teach you how to maintain your technology
  • Communicate with technologically-skilled people you know for additional help.

What can you expect after you have educated yourself in all the options when it comes to recycling your old tech? If you go through the above steps you can gain a better understanding of the power of your technology, how to maintain it and the impact you have if you recycle your technology the correct way. These steps will not only save you money, but they will also help you take a step in the right direction with keeping your environment, and the world for that matter, in better shape than when you found it.

Know Your Options
Technology recycling is one of the least mentioned scenarios and potentially one of the most important ones since it can end up costing you the most amount of money. For instance, learning how to reload an operating system rather than going out and buying a whole new computer could potentially save you hundreds of dollars.

Know where to bring a piece of technology so you could get the most amount of money out of it. Recycling tech rather than throwing it away may also give someone else the opportunity to own a computer that they normally could not afford.

Every person being aware of the recycling options does in fact makes a difference! Believe it or not “each U.S. family throws away nearly 400 iPhones’ worth of e-waste every year”. Do your part to get familiarized with your local e-waste recycling plant and use your local technician to help guide you in your options. Do your part to pass the word as every little bit helps!

Jeff Bittneris Founder and President of Exit Technologies, an R2 certified, global IT asset disposition company (ITAD). Jeff is an avid entrepreneur and founded the company in 1989, to help enterprises cost-effectively liquidate their IT hardware. If you or your company has computer components in bulk or needs IT equipment valuated by trained professionals, visit Asset Liquidation or the Data Center Decommissioning page for more information.