Recycle Old Electronics
Electronics are composed of metals, plastics and glass, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says these materials are mined using natural resources or manufactured in a way that causes pollution. Recycled electronics can be an alternative source of these materials.
Many electronics manufacturers have set up programs for recycling old, broken technology, notes Consumer Reports. Through these programs, you may be able to return computers, printers and cartridges, phones, TVs, rechargeable batteries and even electrical cords to a drop-off location or through the mail, says Consumer Reports. Retailers of these products, nonprofits and local governmental bodies also often collect these items, says Consumer Reports.
If your electronics are outdated or have missing components, TechSoup.org suggests donating them to a refurbisher who can fix them up and pass them on to people who need them. A refurbisher can repair or upgrade the equipment and software before donating it so the item is ready to use right away. The EPA notes some donation organizations may not accept electronics that aren’t working or require a lot of updating, so you may want to make sure the device meets the refresher’s requirements before dropping it off. And, before you part with that old computer, be sure you wipe the hard drive to help prevent your personal data, including financial information, from ending up in someone else’s hands.
Tidy Up Cords
Once you have properly disposed of your old electronics, it’s time to clean up your cords. After recycling the cords you don’t use, Real Simple offers a few ideas for organizing the ones you still need. This includes:
- Using a multiple-outlet adapter to save kitchen counter space
- Wrapping excess cord length around an organizing device designed to keep it under control
- Bundling your cords in a single tube, called a cable zipper, to consolidate the cords that hang under your desk
If you have cords or cables that aren’t in constant use, such as phone chargers, you can still keep them organized yet easily accessible. One solution, suggests BobVila.com, is to attach thin cables to the side of your desk with small clips.
Spring cleaning can entail so much more than washing the windows or cleaning out a closet. If you’re planning to clear out unneeded electronics or want to tame your existing workstation, these options may provide some solutions — and even benefit others in the process.