November 2010 Archives

Saving the environment, one electronic device at a time

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"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience."

--Ralph Waldo Emerson-- 



                                                                   Photo taken by me, in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, August 2008

     This week I am bringing to you another tip that is not only good for the environment but also beneficial to you. How many of you have old electronics that you know you won't use again but you just don't know what to do with? A film camera, an old gaming system or your first cell phone? These electronics and many more can be responsibly recycled with the help of websites like and
     According to, more than 350,000 cell phones and 130,000 computers are thrown away every day in America. In addition to taking up more landfill space, this can cause lead, cadmium, mercury, chromium and many other harmful agents to leak and affect the quality of our air, water and soil. These metals are toxic, and according to, 40 percent of heavy metals in landfills come from the disposal of electronic equipment. says, "Imagine a world where all electronics are put to use or responsibly recycled. You can help us achieve it. Use Gazelle to trade-in or recycle your electronics and leave us with clean air and fresh water."
     Gazelle is easy to use. They buy 20 different types of electronics including cell phones, laptops, gaming consoles, mp3 players, camcorders and more. You, the seller, search for the item you no longer want, describe the condition and Gazelle gives you an offer price for that item which is based on its current market value. You then print a free shipping label and send the item to be recycled responsibly. On this site, you have the option of donating your money from the item to charity. If the item is in poor condition or has no current market value, there will be no offer price for you, however, you can still send the item to be recycled.


                                                                                                     From Google Images has so far found a new home for more than 20,000 used electronics and responsibly recycled thousands more.
     Econewonline lists two consumer benefits for tech recycling. 1) It is an easy way to get rid of unwanted electronics, responsibly. 2) The environment will thank you for doing the right thing.
     This site works basically the same way. Find your device on the site, send it in and get paid. Unlike Gazelle, this site only takes 9 different types of electronics including laptops, mp3 players, LCD TVs, LCD monitors, game systems, digital cameras, camcorders, smartphones and desktops. Econewonline also gives money for the items you send in and it can be in the form of a Sam's Club, Sony or Visa gift card.
     What makes this site different is that they do not ship any of their items overseas for reuse. According to their site, many recycled electronic parts are shipped overseas and flow legally or illegally into regions like China, Asia and West Africa where salvagers can often be seen in electronic graveyards breaking products down by hand to extract metals and glass. This exposes the worker and the environment to a toxic chemical cocktail.



                                                                                                             From Google Images

     Econewonline resells many of the electronics that are sent in. After they are sold to various resale and e-commerce channels, the products are often broken down into their raw material form and used to produce new materials.
     Electronic devices taking up and contaminating landfills is a growing environmental problem that you wouldn't normally think of. These sites are doing the right thing and giving people an opportunity to recycle their electronics. Whether the items that are sent in are resold and reused or disposed of in a safe way, the environment is being saved one electronic device at a time.   
      So instead of letting those unused electronics sit around, make the decision to recycle them responsibly. Using these sites makes it easy for you to be good to the planet.
     What do you think? Do you have old electronics and don't know what to do with them? Would you consider using these sites?

Be a treehugger

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"Take nothing but pictures

Leave nothing but footprints

Kill nothing but time."


                                                                                                                                              From Google Images

     With scheduling for next semester happening as we speak, I think now is a good time to talk about textbooks. Textbooks can be awfully expensive and cause a headache for many students. However, with the advice from my awesome, eco-conscious mom, I've learned that getting textbooks can be affordable and eco-friendly as well.

     Under my entry "Mindless ways to be good to the planet" my mom left this comment:

     "There are so many simple things that can be done to be more eco-friendly. Another idea for college students that is eco-friendly and has the added benefit of saving money is to buy used textbooks -- or even better -- rent textbooks. I guess there are even websites where you can swap textbooks and only pay for shipping. I just read that on the website that was listed in the blog entry."



                                                                                                                                                          From Google Images

     Next time you are looking for a textbook, go to Chegg is simple. You find the book you need, pay to rent it and at the end of the semester return it for someone else to rent. Chegg is awesome for several reasons. 1) The price you pay to rent on Chegg is way less than what you would buy it for (I know this from personal experience). 2) You return the book so that it is reused. 3) Everytime you rent a book on Chegg they plant a tree, which I think is phenomenal. They say that over 3 million trees have been planted so far. Chegg is easy to use and they have 51 different subjects of books to choose from. In addition, shipping your book back at the end of the semester is free, just print a shipping label from their site. Saving you money and saving the planet, there is no better combination.



                                                                                                                                                   From Google Images

     Another magnificent website to check out is Better World Books is a "for-profit social enterprise." They collect donated books and sell books on their website. The books that they sell help fund literacy programs around the world. Here are some stats from their site on the impact their sales have made:

  • Raised over $8.6 million for literacy including
    • $5.0 million for over 80 literacy and education nonprofits
    • $3.6 million for libraries nationwide
  • Contributed more than $1.8 million to college service clubs who have run book drives
  • Directly sent more than 3.3 million books to Books for Africa, the National Center for Family Literacy, and Feed the Children
  • Collected over 45 million books through active book drives at over 1,800 colleges and universities and collections from over 2,000 libraries

Better World Books is also extremely earth-conscious. Here are some facts from their site on the impact they have had on the environment:

  • Re-used or recycled over 53 million pounds of books
  • Reclaimed more than 720,000 pounds of metal shelving from libraries across the United States
  • 17,000 tons of carbon offset on shipping is another website where you can rent textbooks. It works basically the same way as Chegg. Rent, use and return. A bonus for using this site is that for every order you place, they make a donation to First Book, an organization that gives books to children in need.

    I highly recommend using these sites because they are socially and environmentally aware and responsible. I love that they are thinking about sustainability, reusing and preserving. Consumerism is becoming a real issue - we want new things all the time. As consumers, we need to start becoming more mindful about what we buy and what we use. Textbooks are just one thing, but every little thing counts. So go ahead, be a treehugger and rent your books next semester.

     Let me know, do you already use these sites? If not, will you after reading this? Do you have any other websites or suggestions?

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This page is an archive of entries from November 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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