uBreakiFix challenges local communities to recycle e-waste by Earth Day
This spring, Lynne Schwartz, owner of uBreakiFix electronics repair shop in Geneva and Wheaton, is joining a nationwide mission to raise awareness for the environmental impact of electronic waste (e-waste) through a six-week initiative called the Erase E-Waste Challenge.
E-waste is often burned or dumped in landfills, releasing toxic materials into the air, soil, and water. The United Nations reported a record 53.6 million metric tons of e-waste in 2019 -- equivalent to 350 cruise ships -- with less than 20% formally recycled.
Recycling old electronics not only keeps harmful chemicals out of the air and land, it also allows for precious metals like gold, silver, and copper to be harvested and reused at a lower carbon footprint.
Since 2008, Samsung has been a strong supporter of extended producer responsibility, taking tremendous effort to collect and recycle e-waste and publicly supporting requirements that would ban the export of unprocessed e-waste to developing locations. By partnering with uBreakiFix, Samsung has made electronics recycling even more accessible, leveraging uBreakiFix's network of more than 570 stores across the U.S.
"Most people have some sort of shoebox, junk drawer, or storage closet where they stash their old tech," said uBreakiFix President and Co-founder Justin Wetherill. "A lot of people don't know where they can go or what they can do with their old devices, and they assume that dealing with them will be a hassle. What we don't want is for those devices to eventually end up in the trash and in a landfill somewhere. Samsung is a leader in sustainability solutions, and we're excited to help further its efforts by making tech recycling more widely available to consumers. We're challenging everyone to join us in this initiative and look forward to seeing the impact we can have by Earth Day and beyond."
Those looking to part ways with their old tech can bring eligible devices of any brand, make, or model to their local uBreakiFix store, and a professional repair technician will handle the rest. uBreakiFix will process the devices and route them to a Samsung-authorized recycling partner where they will be refurbished or processed into raw commodities for future reuse. The recycling partner will take steps to destroy all stored data from devices in accordance with the e-Stewards standard, and for added peace of mind, uBreakiFix recommends consumers proactively wipe personal data from devices before recycling when possible.
uBreakiFix accepts most everyday tech devices for recycling, including cell phones, tablets, computers, printers, game consoles, wearables, and more. For a full list of eligible devices, visit ubreakifix.com/tech-recycling.
Those who recycle with uBreakiFix can also request a free tech check on any device, such as their smartphone or laptop, to learn how to make their favorite devices last as long as possible.
"At uBreakiFix, reducing e-waste starts with educating consumers about their options so they can make informed decisions about their tech," Wetherill said. "For us, repair is more than fixing a cracked screen; it's about making our customers' tech last longer so they can upgrade when they want to, not because they feel they have to. If a device is beyond repair, or if a consumer no longer has a need for it, we can now take those devices off their hands and responsibly recycle them with the help of our partners at Samsung."
For devices still in good working order, uBreakiFix encourages consumers to explore opportunities to upcycle by gifting, preserving, repurposing, or donating them.
"Though we are inviting our customers to rally behind this cause in honor of Earth Day, we do offer tech recycling year-round," Wetherill said. "We hope the Erase E-Waste Challenge will bring greater awareness to the need for tech recycling, as well as the widespread availability of drop-off locations at uBreakiFix stores across the U.S."
Free tech recycling is available at participating uBreakiFix locations in the U.S. To find a uBreakiFix location near you, visit ubreakifix.com/locations.