It’s that time of year when millions of students will be shopping for back-to-school and purchasing the latest technology and electronic devices. Many of these popular items like smartphones, tablets and laptops use rechargeable batteries that contain materials that are potentially harmful to the environment and should never be thrown into the trash. As technology advances and new electronics debut, students will replace old gadgets with new and exciting ones.
The rechargeable batteries from these old gadgets should be recycled so that they do not end up in landfills. According to the National Retail Federation, back-to-school shoppers will spend an average $212.35 on electronic items, which is a seven percent increase from $199.05 last year, with total spending expected to reach $8.4 billion. The increase in gadgets and electronics in the marketplace is a major contributor to electronic waste. E-waste, or electronic products that have become unwanted or obsolete, is the fastest growing municipal waste stream in America, with more than 49 million tons generated in 2012. Many of the batteries and the products themselves that are replaced or thrown away can be recycled. Call2Recycle, Inc. offers a no-cost recycling solution for the rechargeable batteries found in most types of cordless gadgets and small electronics through partnerships with retailers and municipalities that serve as drop-off locations. During the last 20 years, Call2Recycle has collected more than 100 million pounds of batteries and cellphones, diverting these materials from landfills. The organization ensures that these items are responsibly recycled to create new batteries and other products, preventing potentially hazardous materials from entering the waste stream. Back-to-school shoppers can help reduce waste by recycling their old electronics and rechargeable batteries.
Here are some tips to help with recycling during the back-to-school season:
Round up all your old electronics Dust off those shelves and check inside desk drawers and last year’s backpack for items that use rechargeable batteries. If you aren’t sure which items can be recycled, a good rule of thumb is: if it’s rechargeable, it’s recyclable. Call2Recycle’s collection sites accept cellphones and rechargeable batteries (weighing up to 11 pounds), including those you find in laptop computers, digital cameras, two-way radios, MP3 players or iPods, tablets and cordless phones.
Locate a collection site near you Call2Recycle has more than 34,000 drop-off locations for recycling rechargeable batteries located within ten miles of 89 percent of consumers across North America. Many of these sites are national retailers such as Sears, Staples, The Home Depot, Best Buy and Lowe’s. Today, recycling rechargeable batteries can be a quick, easy and convenient part of almost any shopping trip.
Spread the word It’s more important than ever to educate younger generations about how to properly dispose of rechargeable batteries. Many are unaware that the batteries from their old electronics should be recycled. You can help by educating your friends and family about how they can reduce waste. Another way is to organize a local recycling drive to encourage others to gather up their batteries to be recycled. Through recycling, you can make your community more sustainable and prevent potentially hazardous materials from the waste stream, which is good for people as well as the environment. Recycling batteries is as easy as collecting them and finding the nearest collection site. As you prepare for back-to-school shopping, think of how you can answer the call to recycle.