If you were lucky, you got some great gifts for the holidays that you will use for years to come. Electronics are hugely popular this year, so you might have found a new laptop, PDA, cell phone, GPS or MP3 player (or if you've been really good, some combination of the above) in your stocking.
Before you even crack the binding on the instruction manual for your new toy, make sure to recycle your old unit responsibly. Only 10-15% of electronics get recycled, and considering all the heavy metals and other nasties that are inside them, it just makes sense to recycle them rather than toss them into a landfill, where their toxic chemicals can eventually get into the air and water.
Staples is the first retailer to take back all electronics for recycling as part of their Eco Easy program. Bring your cell phones, laptops, printers, faxes, rechargable batteries, GPSs, monitors, notebooks, cameras and chargers to any Staples store, even if you didn't buy the stuff there.
Once you've recycled, you can then go online and check out some of these cool accessories for your electronics, many of them made from recycled stuff themselves! What goes around comes around!
Recycled laptop covers and sleeves from Act2Change are made from 17 recycled plastic bottles per bag, making another market for reused plastic and keeping your laptop safe too.
Rebe's fabulous laptop cozies are made from gorgeous vintage fabrics that are one-of-a-kind, and you can even get these custom-made to fit whatever size laptop you need.
The laptop bags from Conserve are made by a Fair Trade Cooperative in India from recycled plastic bags on the outside, canvas on the inside, and trimmed in cargo tape.
Livity makes all kinds of tough hemp bags including these super-functional hip bags with cell phone holders attached -- great for practical traveling.
Jimi and 45 iPod Cases, left to right
There are sustainable iPod covers for every style. There's these recycled polycarbonate ones from Jimi, which are hard plastic and come in translucent candy colors. And for something totally different, check out these 45 iPod cases made from old records...and you even get to pick the record for your case!
For the crafty types, check out Charcoal Designs' too-cute covers, which come in all iPod sizes, including the video, or Lapwrap's handmade protectors, which are available in fabrics ranging from hemp to vintage 70's prints, to unused extra designer textiles.
Now you can charge those batteries up on the go with sustainable power sources like the solar- and wind-powered devices! Take yourself off-grid with the Hymini, which will charge up your phone or MP3 player using solar energy OR wind power. The hand-sized gadget can be attached to a bike or boat (or stuck out the window on a breezy day) and will store a charge for up to a week, so you can use today's sun for next week's chatting.
The Solio will charge all your devices using solar energy (and it's a great design too). According to the Solio site, one hour of sun will power your iPod for an hour, or give you 25 minutes of talk time on your mobile. They even sell cool recycled truck tire covers to keep your Solio scratch-free and sleek looking.
Learn more about recycling electronics here.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.