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How to Recycle Electronics, Games and More
By Mark Mathosian / May - June, 2011

Electronic devices like computers, MP3 players and cell phones are often disposed of with household garbage and wind up in landfills where they become health and environmental risks. It doesn't have to be that way. Instead of tossing your old electronic gear, consider recycling.

Visit these web sites to recycle unwanted products --

www.1800recycling.com and www.mygreenelectronics.org. Some nretailers have trade-in programs that allow customers to easily exchange or sell old gear for gift cards or cash. To help you go green and possibly make a few bucks in the process, here are some local retailers that offer such recycling and trade-in programs.

At Target, you can trade in iPhones, iPods, video games and cell phones for instant credit. If you don't want to visit one of the Target stores in Broward County, you can recycle your gear via mail. The store web site is user-friendly; shipping for many products is free. You can recycle cameras, iPads, iPods, iPhones, cell phones, e-Readers, laptops, video games, game consoles, GPS devices, CDs and DVDs.

On Target's web site, you identify the product you wish to recycle, answer a series of online questions about its condition, and learn the price for the trade-in. To test the program, I hypothetically offered to recycle a Nintendo DS XL in good condition with all accessories. Target offered me $55..

But be forewarned. Some electronic items, especially old models of cell phones, have no cash value. The phones cannot be refurbished. Their parts are only good for recycling. For details, visit

www.target.nextworth.com or speak with a representative at 1-888-969-44763. (?? Check number - he had an extra digit; check web site, too: next worth or net worth???)

BrandsMart USA's "Go Green" recycling program exchanges old e-gar for store gift cards redeemable for new merchandise. Recyclable items include MP3 players, phones, games, cameras, camcorders, monitors, computers, car stereos, GPS devices and some electronic accessories, such as chargers and AC adapters. The store uses a three-step recycling process -- an online appraisal, shipping and payment. To guide you through the procedure, there is a solid section answering Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). All communications are handled via email. The web site is www.brandsmart.cexchange.com.

The motto of Best Buy is "no matter where you bought it, we'll recycle it." You can recycle TVs, DVD players, computer monitors, audio and video cables, cell phones and more. Every Best Buy store has a free kiosk just inside the door where you can discard old inkjet cartridges, rechargeable batteries, CDs, DVDs and gift cards.

You can also trade in gently used electronics for a Best Buy gift card. According to the store's web site, if Best Buy will not accept your gear for recycling, it will help you find a place that does accept it. Go to

www.bestbuy.com/tradein for details about the program.

Radio Shack's "Trade & Save" program accepts eligible working products as trade-ins for new purchases, either in person at retail stores or online. Trade-in products include MP3 players, phones, cameras, camcorders, GPS devices, car audio systems, monitors, desktop computers, car amplifiers, digital cameras, Blue Ray disc players, PDAs and tablets. An easy-to-use web site helps customers find participating stores and walks them through the trade-in procedure. For more information, visit the web site www.radioshack.exchange.com or telephone a local store.

Another useful web site to help you learn of recycling centers in the area is Earth911. Its web site is

www.earth911.com and does more than address electronics equipment. If you want to recycle paint, construction debris, automobiles, glass, plastic and other items, this is your site. Type in your zip code in the search block and a list of recycling locations will appear. The site also features great online articles about recycling and related subjects.

Another educational web site is hosted by the Florida Department of Environmental Production. It has advice on recycling unwanted electronics that contain dangerous materials like lead and mercury. Lead is the solder on circuit boards; it is also in glass cathode ray tubes found in many TVs and computer monitors, as well as in some batteries.

You may also have a device that contains mercury, such as in the fluorescent backlights in many flat panel TVs. Companies will recycles these products because they extract the harmful elements and re-use them. The web site is
www.dep.state.fl.us/waste/categories/electronics/pages/televisions.




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