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Friday, December 28, 2012 - 12:15am
The US Environmental Protection Agency says unwanted or broken electronics are not products we should throw away in the trash because many contain materials like lead and mercury, that pollute the environment if they end up in a landfill -- this can then cause serious public health problems.
But getting rid of old gadgets responsibly is easy.
You can sell your gently used gadgets online for cash on websites like Craigslist, Amazon, or eBay.
Many electronic retailers, like Apple, offer customers trade-in opportunities, where you can swap devices for store credit.
Wireless carriers like AT&T or Verizon will buy old cell phones back.
To recycle unwanted gadgets, drop them off at a recycling center. The City of El Paso provides "Citizen Collection Stations," where the public can drop their electronics off. Earth911.com is a website that provides a list of other centers in your area according to your zip code.
If you'd like to donate to the less fortunate, local schools, libraries, or charities often collect gently used electronic products as well.
Global Electronic Recycling is a company in East El Paso that collects electronics free of charge. The company's manager encourages the public to clear the clutter in their homes and bring their gadgets in to be recycled safely.
"Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm. So, between these hours, anybody can come with a box with all the electronics. We receive at no charge and it's a community service," said Global Electronic Recycling manager, Jorge Puga.
Recycling centers take electronics apart and separate the different parts. Toxic metals are also removed and parts are then shipped to be recycled according to proper standards.
Retailers like Best Buy also have recycling programs and will take almost every kind of electronic product, no matter where it was purchased.
The EPA encourages shoppers to buy more "green" products but before getting rid of an old product, remember to delete all your personal information from the device.