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Hey, you know what’s awesome? The Earth. We’re all huge fans of the planet here at TextNow. The Earth might be the third rock from the sun, but it’s number one in our hearts.

What’s less than awesome, though, is the problem of e-waste — i.e, discarded electronic devices like smartphones, tablets, batteries, monitors, computers, and more. As Time magazine noted in 2019, the Earth has a big e-waste problem. How big? According to a World Economic Forum 2019 report:

E-waste is now the fastest-growing waste stream in the world. It is estimated this waste stream reached 48.5 million tonnes in 2018. Globally, society only deals with 20% of e-waste appropriately and there is little data on what happens to the rest, which for the most part ends up in landfill, or is disposed of by informal workers in poor conditions. 

The key word there is “appropriately,” as electronic devices are chock full of leadcadmiumberyllium, brominated flame retardants — all bad things that can cause some very serious detrimental environmental impact when you chuck ’em into a landfill.

So, seeing as we’d like to keep our favourite planet spinning a little longer, here’s some tips and suggestions on to how to dispose of your electronic equipment appropriately:

Donate ’em
Just because you’ve moved onto the next big tech thing doesn’t mean someone else can’t get use out of your last big tech thing. And there are loads of places that will be happy to take and reuse your old electronics. Schools, hospitals, charities, and other local services like abuse shelters will often take in your leftovers to use with their services. For example in Waterloo, Ontario, (home of the TextNow headquarters) there’s a group that will take old electronics and use them to teach electronic and computer repair. Poke around your neighbourhood and city to see if there’s similar charities that will take your stuff.

Get companies to recycle ’em
Quite a few tech companies and retailers are happy to do trade-ins on old equipment. For example, Apple has a trade-in program for old iPhones where you can get credit for bringing in your old one and put it towards a new one. Ditto Gamestop for old videogames and consoles, laptops, phones and more. And retailers like Dell, Best Buy, Staples and the like will very often have collection or drop-off services to recycle your old electronics.

Take ’em to a recycler
Cut out the middlemen and just bring them to a e-recycler directly. And because the internet can be useful sometimes, there’s a very useful map to find e-recyclers in your area to help you. And your local city or county might have a e-recycling program as well — give your local government a call and see!

And if a simpler answer for you is to hand down your old phone to a family member or friend, you can install the TextNow app on it and give them more than just a phone, but a full-fledged phone service, all for free.

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