March 26, 2021

Electronic Reuse and Recycling

Electronic Reuse and Recycling


I’ll let you in on a little secret.  I have an addiction.  I know, right?  Okay, I am addicted to vintage High Fidelity (HiFi) audio equipment and musical formats (albums, cassettes, CDs, etc.).  What?  Really?  Yep!  I love vintage 70’s and 80’s audio equipment (Amps, Pre-Amps, Tuners, Equalizers, Turntables, Cartridges, Cassette Decks, CD players, Real to Reals, Speakers, and Rack systems).  I also enjoy buying used record albums of my favorite artists. 

So how is this related to Electronic Reuse and Recycling?  Well, restoring or reusing vintage audio equipment means you aren’t sending it to the landfill or the e-scrap yard.  Someone owned the equipment before you and by using it or bringing it back to life to its original, if not, better condition is therefore reuse and recycling. There are a lot of people buying used records these days too. Did you know that there are more new vinyl records are being sold today than compact discs (CDs)?  Instead of throwing away old records donate them, sell them, or recycle them.

Many would argue that some of these vintage HiFi units sound as good, if not better, than newer products on the market today.  I think they look better too!  There is a niche market out there for these types of products.  People involved in this vintage HiFi audio market are deliberately making “Green" and "Sustainable” choices.  They want to make a positive impact on the environment and receive the benefit of having a high-quality musical experience that is both nostalgic and enjoyable.  Some may not associate their passion for buying vintage HiFi audio as being "Green" or "Sustainable", but if they think about it, they will come that conclusion.  

According to the EPA, “Donating or recycling consumer electronics conserves our natural resources and avoids air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by manufacturing virgin materials.” So not only does recycling our old electronics keep our water cleaner, but it’s also the law in 25 states, according to a Consumer Reports article from April 2018.  Some of the benefits to reuse and restoring vintage HiFi audio equipment is the elimination of common electronic toxic wastes that end up in the landfill, like brominated flame retardants (BFRs), mercury, cadmium, and lead. 

There are many vintage audio groups out there who love old HiFi audio equipment, vinyl records, CDs, cassettes, eight tracks, and reel to reel tapes.  The spectrum of these enthusiasts runs the gamut; from young and old, male and female, different languages and countries to specific brand loyalists.  They all have two things in common, they love vintage audio equipment, and they love listening to music.  Now they can also add a third commonality to this group of enthusiasts, they are passionate about being "Green" and "Sustainable".

You can find some of these groups on Facebook.  There are Turntable and Cartridge groups, Vintage HiFi groups, specific brand groups like Pioneer, Marantz, etc., and Audio Technician groups.  The technicians are the ones who work on these vintage pieces of equipment and bring them back to life for another 30 years of service. The technicians are the true environmental heroes.  There are many enthusiasts out there on the hunt looking for that Holy Grail of a Vintage Receiver or a classic set of Speakers.  They rummage through thrift shops, Goodwill stores, estate sales, garage sales, and online markets looking for that missing piece to their collection.

If you have an old stereo system or set of speakers that you want to get rid of, try to sell or donate them before you decide to recycle them. Please don’t throw them away. There are proper ways to recycle electronic equipment, most communities have e-scrap drop off locations.  If you don’t have that option, there are companies who will come and pick up your old stereo equipment. Below are a few options.

Proper recycling of old stereo equipment has been made easy these days, check out Load Up at:

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