Flip phones, first-generation iPods, tube TVs -- what do these things have in common?

Well, for one: they're old. Obsolete as far as technology is concerned. And, two: you probably have one or more of these things just sitting around, collecting dust and taking up space. So, in the spirit of Earth Day -- and the spring cleaning checklist, of course -- today we are talking about what to do with your old electronic stuff.

1. Recycle

You can't just throw old electronics away -- you have to dispose of them separately. Electronic devices contain hazardous materials like lead, cadmium and sometime even mercury. If our old electronics end up in landfills, these hazardous materials will eventually contaminate our environment. Furthermore, electronics are composed of metals, plastics and glass -- materials that are mined using natural resources and manufactured in a way that causes pollution. So, recycling them also helps reduce our footprint by allowing manufacturers to reuse old materials.

You've probably seen one of those "Recycle Your Old Electronics" kiosks at the grocery store or mall. Many electronics manufacturers have set up programs for recycling old, broken technology. Through these programs, you can recycle computers, printers and cartridges, phones, TVs, rechargeable batteries and even electrical cords to specific drop-off locations. There are also events held throughout the year to collect old electronics. In Cincinnati, events and recycling locations can be found on Hamilton County's Recycling page.

2. Sell!

If your old items are still in working order, consider listing them on Craigslist -- especially bigger items, like tvs, computers, and DVD players. There are lots of people looking for a TV for their college dorm, a computer for the home office, or simply a good deal for gently used electronics!

3. Donate

Like we discussed last week, donating used items to charity is a win-win: you'll be helping a local non-profit and adding to next year's tax deductions.

So, whatever you do: don't throw those old electronics away! If you’re planning to clear out unneeded electronics, these options may provide some solutions — and benefit your wallet, community, and environment as well.

Photo credits: Matthew Pearce, GotCredit.

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