How to Replace & Recycle Old Home Tech

Tech products are a bit like shoes, in some ways. As much as you might love your comfy but aging favorite pair of shoes, there comes a time when those shoes must be replaced, or repaired at the very least.

The analogy between old shoes and old tech only stretches so far, though. Unlike new shoes, new home tech and appliances tend to offer new features that are more environmentally friendly than their predecessors. Consequently, you can save money in the end by investing in them because the latest models are more energy-efficient. Here are three examples of what to replace and how to recycle old tech.

Air conditioners

Air conditioners consume around 5 percent of all the electricity produced in the US, costing homeowners over $11 billion each year on their electric bills, according to the US Department of Energy (DOE). The agency estimates that buying a new and more energy-efficient unit can save consumers between 20 and 40 percent on their home cooling costs.

Washing machines

You can also save dollars over time by investing in a new and more energy-efficient front-loading washing machine, if your current washer is either a top loader or over a decade old. These newer top loaders use about 38 percent less energy and 50 percent less water than washers of the past, and savings could amount to as much as $135 annually, LifeHacker reports.

Wire-free security cameras

Your home security system is another product which might be ready for an upgrade this year. For example, the wire-free cameras in some Lorex home security systems also use a long-lasting two-cell lithium-ion battery, saving considerably on electrical recharging. What’s more, to conserve battery life, these wire-free cameras record only when needed. The camera is always on standby mode until detecting motion in its field of view. It does not initiate the battery-intensive record function until that time. The camera will then keep recording only for a specified length of time before reverting to standby.

Each battery in a Lorex camera system can last up to four months before recharging, providing up to 168 motion clips per week on a single charge. Cameras in low-traffic areas, though, will provide longer battery life, because the record function will turn on and off less often. You can check battery status at any time through the Lorex mobile app, however, and the app will notify you when remaining life of any battery reaches 20 percent. Battery replacement is easy through a quick-release feature.

What to do with your old tech

You have three main choices when it comes to disposing of that old piece of tech in environmentally friendly ways:

  1. Sell it: There are many places to sell used tech online, and a few include eBay, Amazon and USell.
  2. Recycle it: Individual manufacturers and retailers offer recycling options that may include permanent drop-off sites, recycling events and haul away programs, for example, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These recycling programs, though, are mainly geared to PCs, TVs, mobile devices and printers and other imaging products.
  3. Donate it: There are plenty of charities in your city that would be happy to take old but working tech and appliances off your hands. Donation Town maintains an online directory  that makes it easy to contact the Salvation Army and many other charities nationwide, ask questions and schedule pickups.

Deciding on a disposal strategy

As you decide on a disposal strategy, the size and weight of the item in question will be an important factor. While it will be easy enough to ship an old laptop or cell phone to an eBay buyer or to tote it to a recycling center, the same might not be said of a clunky old air conditioner.

Assuming that the piece of tech is on the smaller side, selling it online can be a more viable alternative than you might think. As the old saying goes, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” A hobbyist with a penchant for DIY fix-me-ups might actually enjoy repairing your antiquated Windows Vista PC. Other buyers might want the piece of tech for the parts contained.

On the other hand, many charities will be happy to stop by your house and pick up even very large tech items. The list of charities that perform pickups is long, but organizations vary in the types of donations they’ll haul away.

Out with the old, in with the new

Your house might have closets containing old shoes as well as rooms filled with aging tech. It’s especially important, however, to replace old tech products for newer models, so you can start saving money on energy costs. There are various approaches to disposing of old tech, but donating the piece to charity can be the best of all. That’s because you can gain the satisfaction of knowing that your donation is helping people less fortunate than yourself.

Photo | Bigstock

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