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Electronics recycling: What to do with old electronics

7:01 PM, Dec 27, 2012   |    comments
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By Ashley Yarchin

KIRKWOOD, Mo. (KSDK) - The holidays have a way of bringing out the electronic buyer in a lot of us. But what to do with the old ones we've now replaced? As it turns out, there are plenty of options.

By now, we're practically wired to open our wallets for Best Buy's big deals on electronics. But what happens when you roll the cart to your car and turn your back on that big clunker in your living room?

Enter the sounds and sights of places like Computer Trade in Kirkwood, where old electronics are actually given new life.

"The product comes in like this," explained Scott McClendon, the company's owner of old televisions. "These are de-manufactured down to component level, which this is CRT glass from televisions. This is hazardous waste, there's lead in these tubes. That's why we tear 'em down and recycle them. This is an expense for us to get rid of. This is a commodity. This is low-grade circuit board. There's a lot of copper content there."

From cardboard to circuit boards covered in gold, he says with goods like that, less than 3 percent of what's handled there is thrown away, and this year alone they recycled over 900 tons of electronics.

"If you think about how many people are just in the St. Louis market that got electronics for Christmas, that's a lot of material," McClendon went on to say. "That's a lot of bad things that are gonna have to be disposed of at some point."

Bad things is right. Gadgets get a lot of their power over us because of what's inside.

"There's hazardous materials like lead, cadmium, beryllium, mercury, all those contaminates that we're trying to keep out of the landfills," and out of our water supply, he explained.

So, McClendon suggests recycling, which won't render anyone but large companies much money, or you can sell online on sites like eBay or Craigslist. But even better, you can donate to charity, a wavelength we should all be on, especially during the holidays.

"We all feel like we're doing something at the end of the day," McClendon added.


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