Many of us tend to want the latest and greatest when it comes to gadgets. Because of the work I do, for certain electronics, I'm definitely one of those people. I'm going to take a wild guess and say you like to keep up to date with the latest too! Am I right? The latest smartphone with all the new must-have features, the hottest e-reader that can hold more books than your old one, or the latest PVR so you can record two shows at a time while you watch another. New technology and all of these cool features are great, but at the rate new upgrades are coming out, the e-waste issue has become a problem. Thankfully, it's one we can all help to control.
To start, when we buy the next great upgrade, what is the best thing to do with our now out-of date electronics?
We find a place that will properly recycle and dispose of them for us, and we don't throw them in the trash!
Quick Fact: Did you know that recycling one metric tonne of laptops can save the energy equivalent of powering 710 Ontario homes in a year? Something so easy to do can be great for the environment.
Being kind to the environment is just another piece of the puzzle when it comes to raising smart, responsible children. Showing them how important it is to care for our earth is an easy parenting responsibility when compared to some of the other things we need to discuss with our kids.
Here are 5 simple things we can all do to show our kids how important (and easy!) it is to recycle electronics:
The truth is, many adults don't know what to do with their e-waste, so it is up to us as parents to learn what to do with old electronics and then pass along that knowledge to our kids. Not sure how to start the conversation? Show them this video:
Quick Tip: When electronics are thrown into the trash, they eventually end up in a landfill where they will sit forever. While they are sitting there, chemicals and metals will be released, seep into the earth and eventually end up in the soil, waterways, and our drinking water - all of which creates problems.
Not all old electronics need to be recycled once we have upgraded to the latest and greatest. We recently donated two old computer monitors that were no longer being used (but still in great working condition) to a charity, and the charity was happy to receive them. Do a little research into charities and organizations in your area to find some that will accept working electronics you are no longer using.
Quick Fact: Cell phone manufacturers are producing one billion cell phones a year globally, and the range and number of electronic devices is having a huge impact on the environment. Electronic devices are the fastest growing items entering the waste stream.
This can be made into a fun challenge to see who can collect the most. Have your kids ask family members (and even close neighbours) for all of their old electronics. Chances are, those items are just going to sit in a corner collecting dust or end up in the trash, so they'll be doing everyone a favour! Once items have been collected, find a drop off location near you and bring the items in as a family.
Quick Tip: TV's, cameras, computer monitors, computer towers, scanners, smartphones, VCR's, DVD players, small kitchen appliances — these items are all fair game and will happily be taken at your local drop off point (click here for a full list of what is accepted). Our drop-off location is a Best Buy location close to our home. We drop things off on a regular basis. Easy!
Before deciding to buy a brand new gadget, consider making a more “green” purchase by purchasing a refurbished or second-hand product. There are many retailers who sell refurbished electronics, do a little research to find some in your area.
Involve your kids in your purchase and explain why making this choice is a great idea for the earth (and your wallet!).
Quick Fact: As we regularly upgrade to the latest and greatest smartphone, it's good to know that for every one million cell phones recycled, 35,000 pounds of copper and 75 pounds of gold can be recovered from them (yes, our smartphones contain gold!). The gold recovered from recycled phones produces 324 times more gold than from the same weight of ore processed in a traditional mine. Recycling out-of-use electronics means we have to mine fewer raw materials like copper and gold.
My kids' school recently formed a Green Team and the students on the team are responsible for encouraging green actions from their fellow students. Think of the amount of electronics that can be collected from an entire school of families! Your child may be further motivated if they are in grades 4-10 this year.
This April and May, kids in 32 schools across Ontario will get to experience a travelling, recycling exhibit. They will have the opportunity to participate in a hands-on experience that will bring the recycling story to life so they have a better understanding of its importance.
Those taking part will learn the following (and more!):
Quick Tip: If you live in Ontario and your child is attending grade 4 -10, they will now also have access to information about the many ways in which technology impacts our world. Teachers who would like to learn more can get info and download a toolkit to get started here.
It sounds cliché to say that kids are our future, but I don't know any other way to say it. They will one day be the adults running the show, which is why it's important for us to model for them how to be kind to the environment. Showing them how to recycle their electronics is such an easy thing to start with or add to what you already do as a family.
To learn even more about the environmental benefits of recycling electronics, visit RecycleYourElectronics.ca.
In my spare time, I read A LOT. Everything from non-fiction to fiction books to food blogs to technical articles about coding, and of course, websites that focus on sharing eco-friendly information. Keeping up with what's happening in the world of green is part of my job here, after all.
Depending on what type of information you are looking for, there is a website out there for you — you just need to do a little searching. If you need a little help heading in the right direction, keep reading because that is exactly what this post is all about!
This year, to celebrate the upcoming Earth Day, I've put together a list of informative websites (other than my blog, of course!) that give excellent tips and keep you up to date on all that's happening in the green world. Reading them will also make caring for the Earth an easy task - and one which goes well beyond Earth Day.
There are SO MANY amazing green websites and blogs out there, but, I had to narrow it down to just 12. No one has time for a list of 50 websites!
Here are some of the sites I have been reading for many years and some that are new to me, in no particular order.
Adria Vasil is the bestselling author of Ecoholic, Ecoholic Home, and Ecoholic Body. On her blog and her column in NOW Magazine she answers reader questions about everything from greening your food choices and finances to detoxifying your home. (Canadian)
Article to check out: How to make homemade eyeliner…without trashing the planet
Lindsay Coulter is David Suzuki's Queen of Green. Her blog's goal is to answer your green living questions and offer tips to make your life easier on the environment. I like that her posts are short and to the point, perfect for busy parents looking to make a shift towards the greener side. (Canadian)
Article to check out: How to shop thrift and consignment stores
ecochick (aka: Shannon) writes a fun blog that covers everything from eco-friendly food, travel, fashion, style, kids, life and tons more. (Canadian)
Article to check out: Stay Sun Safe: ecochick.ca Top Sunscreen Tips
Site founder Sara, along with a few other contributors, share easy green tips and practical information all of us can use. (Canadian)
Article to check out: The 5-Step Home Detox Guide
Suzanne's blog has been around ever since I started reading blogs, so...a long time! Her blog features helpful DIY's, recipes, going green tips, and general eco and health information. (Canadian)
Article to check out: Toilet Paper Roll Seed Starter DIY
Stephanie is passionate about all things green and her content reflects that. (Canadian)
Article to check out: DIY Foaming Hand Soap
Jen describes herself as a "realistic environmentalist." On her family's journey to becoming more green, she shares the smart tips and tricks she is learning along the way. (Canadian)
Article to check out: Cast Iron Care for Really Busy People
Mother Nature Network was created for "everyday people who simply want to make our world better." Here you'll find news on everything from health, lifestyle, green tech, food, and more.
Article to check out: 29 Ways to Repurpose Your Old Yoga Mat
This site delivers just what its name says: articles and news focused on your mind, your body, and being green. It's all about sharing info to help you live your best and most healthy life.
Article to check out: 5 Synthetic Carpet Alternatives For a Healthy, Sustainable Home
Grist writers cover stories on climate, energy, food, cities, politics, business, and green living. Their goal is to get people talking, thinking, and taking action.
Article to check out: Can I Recycle All These Plastic Food Wrappers?
Beth Terry's goal, through her website, is to help us live life with less plastic in it. She shares her experiences going plastic free and shares tips to help us all do the same.
Article to check out: 100 Steps to a Plastic-Free Life
This website is just for kids, but I thought I'd include it anyway since it's a really fun way to get them interested in being more green. Eco Kids is run by the same group behind Earth Day. The site is filled with eco-themed games, activities, contests and more. (Canadian)
Article to check out: Battery Recycling
That was just a sample of some of the top-notch eco websites. Do you have a favourite I didn't mention? Do you write an eco blog? Please share a link in the comments!