Your childhood NES that hasn’t booted up in a decade. Your stash of old flip phones that you’ve kept in a shoebox in the closet for “sentimental” value. That gallon bag of used batteries that you know you’re not supposed to toss in the dumpster, but after five years of carting them around from apartment to apartment, that sure does sound tempting.
Electronic waste, or e-waste, is a massive problem both in the United States and around the world, and chances are, you’re a part of it. Americans threw out at least 3.5 million tons of consumer electronics in 2014. According to the EPA, only 40 percent were properly recycled. But even if you, my hoarder friend, know better than to drop your old CRT TV on the sidewalk for the garbage truck to pick up (seriously, don’t do this, those things are toxic and you can get fined), letting it chill your basement forever isn’t a solution, either.
Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to dispose of your old electronics in an responsible way. There are certified e-waste recycling centers that’ll turn your old junk into raw materials without letting toxic waste wind up in landfills, and there are buyback programs that’ll actually pay you for your old gadgets. We break it all down on the latest edition of Earther’s new How to Be a Decent Human Being series, so check out the video above to learn more and start recycling.
Seriously, don’t wait—you’re going to need all that chump change if you want to afford next year’s iPhone.