In with the new … recycle the old

By Mike Paulson, Environmental Services Manager

With a few days to spare, I finally managed to polish off my Christmas gift list. I purchased a new HDTV for my wife, a Blu-Ray player for my dad, and a laptop for my daughters to share.  I know on Christmas Day I’ll have a household full of happy people, but I have a problem to solve as well: What do I do with my old electronics?

I’m certainly not going to throw them away.  Computers, TVs and other electronics contain toxic elements such as lead, nickel, cadmium, and mercury. Unfortunately, an estimated 4 million tons of electronic waste (or e-waste) ends up in our nation’s landfills each year, leaching these hazardous materials into our groundwater.

And if some of my electronics still work well or can be refurbished, why not extend their life by giving someone else a chance to use them?

That’s where Goodwill comes in. Goodwill accepts your unwanted computers and televisions – in working condition or not – and resells or recycles them at no cost to you.

Goodwill’s long history of being environmentally conscious extends to our handling of all electronics. Nonworking or unsaleable items are taken apart (or “demanufactured”) and sorted by Goodwill workers to prepare them for shipment to one of our third-party recyclers. In partnership with Dell, Goodwill guarantees that nothing is shipped overseas, protecting third-world countries from the same exposure to hazardous waste.

Revenue generated from the sale of items in our stores, or sold to recyclers, is channeled back to funding our mission of providing job training and employment services. Additionally, the demanufacturing and sorting component creates paid work opportunities for people with disabilities or others enrolled in a Goodwill job training program.

Goodwill’s donation process is easy and painless. With 16 conveniently located donation drive-thru locations throughout our West Michigan territory, attendants are on hand to take your items and offer you a tax-deduction receipt.

This holiday season, Dell is offering a coupon to each person who pledges to donation their old computer equipment. Take the pledge today to receive a $20 coupon to use on your next Dell purchase. Offer ends December 31, 2012.

So, as you put that shiny new gift under the tree, please think of the environment and Goodwill.

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