Being green: Three ways to recycle your tech responsibly

Stop! Don’t throw it away! There are plenty of ways to recycle old technology. 

Take a look in the drawers and cupboards around your house and you will probably have more than one old device sitting there unused and unloved.

Technology moves faster than toupee in a cyclone and nowadays we are often upgrading to newer, better versions of our home and mobile gadgets.

But what do you do with the old stuff?

Simply throwing computers, printers and phones away is a no-no because of the chemicals and materials used in their construction. If they end up in landfill they can leak into the environment and damage the surrounding eco-system.

Fortunately you have several options when it comes to de-cluttering your tech.

Drop off stations 

MobileMuster is the Australian mobile phone industry's official "product stewardship program" in Australia, having collected close to 10 million handsets since they started operating in 1998.

They break the devices down into plastics, batteries, circuits and accessories before sending them away to be recycled into things like plastic fence posts, stainless steel and new batteries.

You can get your phone to MobileMuster via the drop off station closest to you, or you can pick up a free reply-paid satchel from Australia Post.

Planet Ark provides drop off points for your old printer cartridges at outlets like Officeworks, The Good Guys and JB Hi-Fi. If you go through a lot of these cartridges at work you may be able organise a free collection box for your office.

For TVs, computers and all the rest, the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme diverts hazardous materials away from landfill and recycles wherever possible. To date, this service has collected 130,000 tonnes of e-waste.

They have hundreds of drop off points around Australia. Check out the website to find the one closest to you.

Sell

eBay, Gumtree, local Facebook buy & sell groups, and other local classifieds are great spots to pass off your old technology, providing it is still in good working order. Just don’t forget to wipe your data before you send your belongings away to protect your personal privacy.

If you have an old phone that is no longer reliable, check out fonebank.com.au. This service will usually give you a cheque for your old phone or tablet, anywhere from $50 to $400, depending on the make and model.

Fonebank gives your phone a new lease of life before sending it off to a new owner in a developing nation.

It allows for free courier collection if you have more than 15 devices, so why not ask around at work and see who wants to join you in passing on their old phones?

Take a look around for other services like boomerangbuyback.com.au, and cashaphone.com.au which usually buy laptops, gaming consoles, phones and computers regardless of their condition and find new homes for them.

These outlets suggest that as well as selling your gadgets, you consider gathering unused technology from friends and family and donate the money you make to a worthy cause.

Donate 

A range of charities around Australia welcome the donation of old technology.

Charities like Computer Bank and Work Ventures distribute phone and computers to low income families who are in need. Others, such as Canteen and the Cerebral Palsy League use them to raise money for their causes.

Most outlets will send you a bag to send your old tech in so that you are not out of pocket in any way.

Why not discuss a donation drive with your employer? This will clear your workplace of the clutter of unused technology and all the pre-loved equipment will go towards a good cause.

Get creative! 

If all else fails, you could always turn your old tech into modern art. With the help of a few cans of spray paint and some glue you can let your imagination run wild! 

Don't limit yourself to simply recycling old technology. Check out these apps and online tools to help save the planet, and maybe learn some more ways you can lend mother nature a helping hand.