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photo credit: kennymatic

In our modern technology-centered culture, we’ve got a serious waste problem. Some products that we use are easily recycled (curb pick up or at a recycle center), but others are not so easily disposed of. Rechargeable batteries, CDs, DVDs, and hard drives are bit more difficult to recycle in most municipalities, but there are resources to take care of those as well, just not as widely known.

Rechargeable Batteries

Chances are, you’ve got some rechargeable batteries at home from cellphones, cordless phones, wireless toys, laptops, or power tools that need disposing of, and I hope they aren’t just ending up in the landfill. You can recycle those items for free with Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation’s Call2Recycle® program.

RBRC is a non-profit, public service organization dedicated to the recycling of rechargeable batteries. They also collect old cell phones to help further the cause. Everything collected through the Call2Recycle program is recycled and used to produce either new batteries or turned into scrap metal for further reuse. None of it ends up in landfills. How cool is that?

Call2Recycle  takes the following rechargeable batteries – Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Lithium Ion (Li-ion), and Small Sealed Lead (Pb). Rechargeable batteries can be commonly found in cell and cordless phones, cordless power tools, digital cameras, laptop computers, two-way radios, remote control toys, and camcorders. (They do not accept alkaline, lithium, non-rechargeable, or wet-cell batteries.) So far, they have collected and recycled over 42 million pounds of rechargeable batteries. That’s huge!

There are over 50,000 locations nationwide that accept these batteries. Simply enter your zip code at RBRC to find a location near you.

CDs and DVDs

A CD/DVD is a class 7 recyclable plastic, and a pound of plastic takes 300 cubic feet of natural gas, 2 cups of oil, and 24 gallons of water to produce (a pound is about 30 CDs). A CD or DVD may take over a million years to fully decompose in landfills, so recycling them just makes sense. And it’s not difficult.

Back Thru the Future provides free recycling of CDs and DVDs. All you pay is the shipping, and they do the rest. Head over to CDRecyclingForFree to get the details.

Hard Drives

Hard drives contain over a pound of recyclable aluminum in each one, and recycling them conserves the energy equal to one and a half gallons of gasoline. And recycling aluminum takes 95% less energy than manufacturing new aluminum from ore (and produces less pollution as well).

Again, Back Thru the Future recycles these for free if you ship it to them. Check out FreeHardDriveRecycling for details.

Between recycling rechargeable batteries, CDs, DVDs, and hard drives, you can make a significant difference in the amount of trash and toxic materials that end up in our landfills.