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April 22 is Earth Day and a great time to consider e-cycling or donating your used electronics.

Maybe you’ve decided to get a new TV, replace old smoke detectors, or get rid of toys your kids have outgrown. But dumping them in the trash is a bad idea: most electronics contain hazardous materials that shouldn’t go into landfills. If you recycle or donate them instead, you help conserve natural resources and help avoid pollution.

The FTC has written about disposing of old computers and mobile devices, but you can also e-cycle or donate other electronic and electric items around the house. Here are some ideas:

Recycle. Many companies that make or sell electronics have programs to recycle products and components. Some have drop-off locations; others offer free mailing labels to return old products. Check their websites or call their toll-free numbers for more information.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has information about electronic product recycling programs.

Your community may have an e-cycling program, too, that takes many items with an electrical cord or batteries. Check with your county or local government, including the local landfill office, for regulations.

Donate. Many charities make use of slightly outdated but still-functioning gadgets. Make sure to include any accessories, especially those needed for the device to work.

Before you recycle or donate your old electronics, remember to delete any personal information you stored on the device.

For more earth-friendly tips, check out our home improvement and energy-saving library of information at

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