Kalama Hines, EastIdahoNews.com
POCATELLO — Each year, electronics are among the top gifts given at Christmas.
But giving the gift of a tech upgrade creates an interesting question: what to do with the old tech?
For some, donating last year’s smart phone is the answer, whether it goes to a family member or a neighbor in need. But when giving it away isn’t the route chosen, there are other more responsible, and sometimes paying options for electronic disposal.
Sending electronics to the landfill is dangerous. Dumping of old tech causes deposits of chemicals and toxins, like cadmium, mercury and arsenic. Proper disposal prevents these chemical deposits.
One place that recycles old technology — especially big ticket items like computers or TVs is Best Buy. Learn more about its program here.
Another option is looking for a local collector of old technology, such as Pocatello native John Wilson, a former TV sales business owner and technology hobbyist. Visit his website here.
“I get calls all the time and I tell (the callers) where to take (their old electronics),” Wilson told EastIdahoNews.com. “I figure I’m saving the earth one telephone call at a time.”
Wilson, though, doesn’t send everything he hears about along to e-waste collections.
“Every once in a while someone will show up with something that’s kinda neat and I’ll put it in my collection,” he added. “Sometimes I salvage stuff. If I get a nice laptop I’ll put Windows 10 on it and sell it on eBay — I totally erase the hard drive.”
Collecting electronics is a hobby for Wilson, but one he says creates little to no profit. Still, he boasts stacks of old computer towers and a stockpile of flat screen TVs and laptops. But coming across classic radio equipment, like ham or tube radios “that’s when (he) really go(es) to hog heaven.”
Aside from his personal collection, Wilson is hopeful that after the COVID-19 pandemic will be under control, that he can put together the electronics he has salvaged over the years for a big yard sale.
While he deals in larger tech, it is often the smaller devices that are updated with Christmas gifts. There are many more options for recycling smaller technology. Places like Best Buy, Lowe’s and Home Depot will take old phones or batteries. Many cell phone companies also have recycle programs.
For things like smart phones, tablets and Mp3 players, ecoATM is a potential answer.
EcoATM is an San Diego company that purchases, sells and trades in used electronics. With vending machines in Pocatello, Idaho Falls and Rexburg, opportunities are widely available for turning outdated tech into cash.
All it takes to turn old tech into money is the device and a valid state-issued ID. It is worth noting, though, that any device reported lost or stolen is not accepted at the vending machines or through their website. To find the closest EcoATM kiosk click here.
With so many doing their shopping online amidst the COVID pandemic this year, Dec. 26 will undoubtedly bring an especially large pile of scrap cardboard in addition to the normal mass of waste.
For many, the abundance of cardboard will exceed the allotment of space in their recycling bins. But worry not, there are options for clearing the garage of unwanted cardboard clutter.
The cities of Chubbuck and Pocatello each have support in place for garbage influx associated with Christmas.
Pocatello residents can simply place their overflow of boxes and bags next to their bins on standard trash pick-up days. In Chubbuck, large dumpsters will be available at City Hall from Dec. 28 through Dec. 31 for disposal of Christmas trash.
Western Recycling, which has locations in Pocatello and Idaho Falls, will also purchase cardboard, although for a very small amount of money. At one cent per pound for corrugated boxes, the average family customer might only bring home a few quarters. For more information click here.
Once the cardboard is recycled and the old tech is sold or salvaged, all that is left is the Christmas tree. Many local communities offer tree disposal sites, or a pickup program.
Idaho Falls is offering 15 collection sites throughout the city for tree disposal through Jan. 1. Learn more about the sites here.
Ammon is holding a large tree bonfire. Learn more about that here.
Pocatello residents can pick up a tree disposal box at City Hall or near the entrance of Sister City Park on Pocatello Creek Road. The tree disposal boxes will, in turn, be picked up curbside the morning of Jan. 8.
Chubbuck residents will find a dumpster dedicated to tree disposal at city hall. This dumpster will be removed on Dec. 31.
Rexburg offers free tree pickup from curbs for a week after New Year’s Day. There’s no need to call or ask them to pick it up, simply place the tree on the curb in front of your home or apartment.
For more information regarding Christmas tree disposal in your area, contact your local city hall.