I’m not going to get into the whole global warming, environmental impact that technology has on our planet. We’ve heard it all before.  While I will forever be a geek for all things tech, and will always sport grabby hands for anything new that beeps, I’ve taken recycling of older tech one step further this year.  Its not an entirely new process for me. If I come across dead, non-rechargeable batteries, I’ll put them in my coat pocket or purse and drop them into the proper recycling bin while I’m out (that is, until I can find the right alligator clips to make my own crank charger.) We also have a miscellaneous drawer that occasionally houses burned-out light bulbs until one of us is going to pass by our Canadian Tire or RONA; and we handle printer ink much the same way.  As part of my consistent New Year need for reorganization, I’ve picked up a couple bins to keep it all contained in one spot, instead of having all of this recyclable refuse sitting in pockets all over the house. For about the same cost of a coffee, we now have something that we can easily take with us on a trip and dump all at once!

Becoming Responsible for Your Absolute Power

There are things that just don’t go into your household’s recycle bin (if you’re privy to such a program where you live; if you’re in Toronto, you can read all the Do and Don’ts here,) but there are recycling programs, with the help of a number of stores, that will lessen what impact your tech-needs may have on our lovable green and blue planet.  So I wholeheartedly encourage you to take note of what you can recycle in this list, and where you can bring your broken/dead bits of technology. Please note, call your local store mentioned below to ensure they do have any of these programs running as listed below; as stores are not required to participate.

  • Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs  (CFLs) – RONA, Canadian Tire, IKEA
  • Batteries – Canadian Tire, RONA, Home Depot, Staples, Future Shop, Best Buy
  • Cell phones & MP3 Players – Canadian Tire, RONA, Home Depot, Target
  • HP specific Ink Cartridges – Staples, London Drugs
  • All Ink Cartridges and Toner – Staples, Target

There are also great recycling programs for those bigger items like monitors, desktops (and peripherals,) cables, TVs, game consoles, etc.

  • Check out Future Shop, Best Buy and Staples for those larger tech items you no longer use (if they still work well, you can also drop many of these items off to a Goodwill or similar store for re-use.) Be sure to check online for locations with recycle programs in effect.
  • For cellphones, as long as they’re in good condition, you may even be able to sell it back to either Future Shop or Best Buy.
  • EB Games also accepts certain smartphones, along with tablets, games and accessories for either trade or even gift cards.

Bottom line, there are a ton of places to help recycle your unwanted technology, so before heading to your trash bin, please check to see if there is a recycle program near you!

As I mentioned before, I now have a bin to hold the more popular items we need to recycle together in one spot. All it took was a couple of very cheap containers from Canadian Tire to create an easy system with sorting dividers (it cost all of $1.80 for the two bins and lids.)

Environment Friendly Geek: Divided Recycle Bin

One thing that is missing from the picture above is our battery tester. If you can find one, I suggest picking it up (we got ours at a Dollarama a few years ago for a few bucks and its be SO very helpful since!) Before dumping a battery into the recycle bin above, I’ll always check its charge to make sure I’m not throwing away a good cell. And from here on out, the tester box will sit in the bin with all the dead batteries for easy access.

Environment Friendly Geek: Battery Tester

Did you know you could recycle dead tech at these stores? If you know of any big chains not listed above that help recycle, let me know in the comment section below!