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Best Buy's recycling center

I finally found a place for all the clutter -- at Best Buy!

We are big tech people. I can’t count how many servers, workstations, gaming consoles, and pieces of consumer electronics that we’ve purchased since we’ve been married. I’ve been recycling the big stuff — computers, laptops, monitors, and televisions — for a while now, but it’s been more difficult to figure out what to do with all the cords, remotes, and other electronic-related items that were left over. Oh, and I can’t forget the plastic gift cards that we used to purchase them. They were invariably thrown into the trash. Until now, that is.

I’ve always known that Best Buy has a fabulous electronics recycling program, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized the store also took stuff that other recycling sources won’t: CDs, DVDs, gift cards, wires, cables, cords, remotes, and controllers. Oh, and the store also has a repository for plastic bags, batteries, and ink and toner cartridges, too. At last! I have a place to get rid of everything — for free! While you might not think throwing away an empty gift card here and a wire there is a big deal, it really is because it all adds up. We, as a society, generate more than 4 billion pounds of e-waste every year, so it’s important to take every recycling opportunity we can. We should be recapturing whatever we can.

My Best Buy epiphany had its roots on YouTube. I found out about the company’s recycling program by doing a search. (I was looking for a place to get rid of all my old CDs and CD-Rs.) Even though I was busy that day, I actually sat through the company’s video about how it recycles. I wanted to be sure Best Buy wasn’t like so many other companies that say they are recycling but simply collect everything and dump it overseas without removing the hazardous materials such as lead, cadmium, and mercury. (It’s a great video, BTW, and worth sitting through and showing to your kids.) I was really happy to see that Best Buy is able to break down all those tvs, laptops, keyboards, and monitors into their most basic elements so they can go back into the supply chain. Who knew a keyboard could go right into a shredder?

Last week I made a trip to Best Buy with my kids. They watched as I unloaded a black garbage bag full of wires and cables as well as a small box of old remotes. When I got home I started a bag for gift cards. It’s sitting in the garage next to my bag of old batteries. While I know I can’t recycle everything, it really makes me feel good to lessen my footprint — if only just a little bit. How about you?

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