Written by: Eliza Letteney
Consume Less, Fix What You Have, Pass Used Equipment on to Others
Most of us carry cell phones and use technology daily if not hourly. But once equipment breaks or becomes dated, what is the best way to dispose of e-waste? Why should we properly recycle it, and let's be real, where does it go?
What To Do With E-Waste?
In Wellesley you can recycle old televisions, cell phones, computers, monitors, and other appliances at the Wellesley Recycling & Disposal Facility. These recycled devices are picked up by a contractor hired through the Northeast Resource Recovery Association (NRRA) – a nonprofit that helps communities manage their own recycling programs – and “stripped for components.”
Other local options include free recycling programs at Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon. When you drop it off, ask where products end up after you drop them off.
Why Renew, Reuse or Recycle?
Electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world. Between 2015-2020 global electronic waste increased 21 percent to 53.6 million metric tons, according to the United Nations Global E-Waste Monitor, and in 2019 less than 20 percent was recycled or reused meaning that most ends up in landfills or is burned.
The Basel Action Network (an e-waste watchdog group based in Seattle) partnered with MIT to find that “recycled” electronics often end up in landfills across the world, in counties in South and Central America, Asia, and Africa. Some recycling facilities overseas extract precious metals from devices by burning plastics and, in doing so, pollute the environment with dioxins, a cancer-causing chemical with disastrous ramifications for both human life and nature. Some attribute the rise in e-waste to the difficulty of recycling the complex plastics in electronics (laced with metals, chemicals, and flame retardant) as well as the cultural acceptance of buying newer, sleeker models and discarding still-functioning devices..
While we wouldn’t want to discourage you from recycling, the goal here is to recognize that recycling e-waste is not a perfect solution. It may be more helpful, instead, to refrain from buying new devices in situations where repairs are possible. For those looking to fix or improve their devices, Wellesley has some great local options.
Wellesley resident Eric Pinsker-Smith fixes electronics and also conducts small engine and automotive repairs. He began his company, Just Ask Eric, in August of 2021 and specializes in tricky diagnostics. Whether you have a busted snowblower or glitchy computer, Pinsker-Smith is a great local resource. Other local businesses like Cellaxs Phone Repair in the Natick Mall provide options for those looking to repair not replace.
Keep in mind that often tech issues that seem insurmountable can be overcome. It just takes a change in mindset to consider seeking out service when we would otherwise call it a day and find a replacement. Keeping devices longer and managing individual contributions to the global e-waste problem can make a difference as consumers await development of sustainable tech solutions.
Share the love - Donate
One last thought, if you are replacing a phone or other tech product that still works, consider deleting the data and donating the item to a local charity or to larger organizations like these: Medic Mobile, to support community health workers around the world; Cell Phones for Soldiers, to provide service to active duty military members and veterans. Think twice before tossing something that can make a difference.
Dear Partner in Sustainability,
Please consider Sustainable Wellesley in your year-end charitable giving. Donating now will help Sustainable Wellesley with community outreach, local sustainability education, and partnership with local government in 2022.
Our 501(c)(3), not-for-profit, organization has been a major part of successful town sustainability programs such as; solarize, energy audits, energy-efficiency, waste reduction, mobility improvement, plant-based eating, sustainable landscaping, and numerous other inspiring initiatives.
With your support, Sustainable Wellesley will bring you more educational and empowering programs in 2022 and help to implement the Town of Wellesley’s Climate Action Plan.
Thank you for supporting our work together here in Wellesley.
Whether you can make a donation at this time or not, we look forward to partnering with you in 2022 to make Wellesley a sustainability leader. Want to get involved a little or a lot? Simply email us at email@example.com.
Sustainable Wellesley, Inc. is a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization. EIN: 47-3458525
We welcome online donations via PayPal.
or by check to:
attn: Treasurer/Niki Ofenloch
24 Sabrina Road
Wellesley, MA 02482
You can double your impact if your employer is enrolled with Benevity.
Find us on Benevity and ask your employer!
The Sustainable Wellesley Leadership Team
Do you have broken holiday lights?
Have you switched to new LEDs but still have old working lights you don’t know what to do with?
If they are still working, consider a donation. Goodwill takes Christmas decorations, including working lights. Also, Facebook groups such as Buy Nothing Wellesley or Wellesley Give and Take would be another great place to find them a new home.
If they are broken, and you can’t fix them, Don’t throw them in the trash! Electrical elements can corrode and cause dangerous chemicals to seep into landfill soil, causing potential contamination.
The Wellesley RDF recycles the copper wires in string lights, if you drop them off on the “copper” bulk bin (located right after the consumer recycling sorting area, in the bulky items area on the left).
Home Depot and Lowe’s will also accept old lights for recycling, so let others outside of Wellesley know they can ship old lights to Holiday LEDS Recycling by regular mail. Another option is to mail broken lights to Christmas Light Source any time of year. They work with a local recycling company that breaks down the lights and recycles the copper, glass, and plastic. The Christmas Light Source organization takes the proceeds they receive from the recycling and uses them to purchase educational books and toys which they donate to their local chapter of Toys for Tots.
Tomorrow is Marathon Monday!
Julie and Maggie have been training long and hard for the Boston Marathon. We are grateful they have chosen to run in support of Sustainable Wellesley. The funds they raise will help Sustainable Wellesley with community outreach and educational programs that will further elevate the awareness of Wellesley's net-zero greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal, and actions we can all do to help us meet that goal.
They are so close to their fundraising goal. Please help them reach it by donating here.
Give them a shout out as they come by! They will ❤️ that!!
You can track them here. Julie is #18319 and Maggie is #18541.
Please consider donating today.
We are thrilled to have Julie Moore and Maggie Mulshine running the 125th Boston Marathon in support of Sustainable Wellesley. Julie, running her 25th marathon, has been training with and mentoring Maggie, who is running her first marathon. These two passionate runners are stepping up and we hope you can too.
Please consider donating.
The funds raised will help Sustainable Wellesley increase community outreach and educational programs, as it partners with local organizations and government on climate action initiatives.
Julie and Maggie have chosen to run in support of Sustainable Wellesley in an effort to elevate the awareness of Wellesley's net-zero greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal and actions we can all do to help us meet that goal.
Help them reach their fundraising finish line by donating here.