Green Is the New Black

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Green Is the New Black


Going green may just seem like the latest fashion trend, but the inconvenient truth is there is a mountain of gear that gets outdated every couple of months and a ton more that gets created with each Steve Jobs keynote address. With each new One More Thing, there are a millions of Tired Old Things that are invariably tossed aside--Americans throw out a couple million tons of e-waste each year. Progress is great, but it is time to stop and clean up our room, kids. And, as we all know, our tech gear is laden with toxins and cannot just be dumped in landfills. Here’s the lowdown on ecycling:


Cell Phones


This is a biggie. There are currently around 500 million unused cell phones in the U.S., and of the 130 million cellular phones that will be retired this year alone, fewer than 10 percent will be recycled. What you can do: Think before you buy a new cell phone (do you really need a new one?), and if you do buy a new phone, recycle or donate your old one. Check out these organizations for tips on how/where to recycle:


United States Environmental Protection Agency
Wireless: The New Recyclable
Cell Phones for Soldiers
Charitable Recycling

Eco-Cell (Did you know gorilla habitats in the Congo are being mined for the mineral coltan used in cell phones? Recycle and save gorillas in the process. It’s good karma squared!)
Donate to your local police department (They give cell phones to battered women, for example, in the event that they need to call 911.)


Drop it off: in-store recycling
T-Mobile (phone-related products only)
Best Buy
Office Depot
Staples ($10 fee for recycling large equipment)




Recycle or reuse. Trade-in. Consider leasing. Buy green. Only buy what you really need. Pretty simple.


Recycle Your Computer
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Apple (Purchase any qualifying Apple computer or display and receive free recycling of your old computer and monitor--regardless of manufacturer.)


United Recycling


Drop it off: in-store recycling
These stores allow you to bring in your old computers, monitors, printers, faxes, keyboards, mice, and speakers for recycling, and most accept any brand:
Best Buy

Office Depot

Staples ($10 fee for recycling large equipment)


Donate Your Computer
Computers for Schools

Ten tips for donating your computer (This organization accepts cars and internal organs, too! Just in case you have more than spring cleaning in mind . . . )


At-Home Pickup
This option varies from place to place. Some forward-thinking cities are creating door-to-door pickup programs that will make it easier for those less inclined to do their civic duty (you know who are). Contact your local garbage company for starters; they should be able to direct you.


Trade in for Cash
Hewlett-Packard (HP Financial Services will pay your company for qualified computer equipment you no longer want or need. )


Ink cartridges, digital cameras, pagers, batteries, and chargers


Mail-in programs
U.S. Postal Service provides a free recycling program

Hewlett Packard


Turn in at participating retail stores: See participating retailers listed above under “in-store recycling”


Make Demands


Hold manufacturers accountable: require take-back options, demand products be made with recycled parts, insist on paper-free manuals.
Lease manageable products: this way, you buy a service rather than a product; insist on buying upgradable software and hardware.


Conserve Energy


Energy-Saving Tips
Consider buying a laptop for your next computer upgrade; they use much less energy than desktop computers.
Turn off your computer and monitor when not in use. Seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised.
Activate "sleep" features on computers and office equipment (that screensaver you enjoy does not save energy).


Search in Black
Were you aware that, according to the according to the Nielsen/NetRatings for May 2007, users spent 511,400,000 hours searching on the Google website per year? Did you know that there are some who claim that displaying a black background consumes less energy than displaying a white one? And if the ever-popular Google switched their home page from white to black, the initial savings is estimated to be 750 Megawatt-hours a year? (Check out for more on this.) While the energy-saving white-on-black assertion is hotly debated, the simple explanation is that different colors consume different amounts of energy on computer monitors. If this is true, it is a painless enough way to conserve. Until the jury is in, consider using the following for your search engines:

Google Black
Trek Black


The Planet


For information on a host of other eco-responsible activities you can partake in, go to the Earthday Network. And be sure to research local resources, as most communities are participating in Earth-saving endeavors.




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