New iPad tablets are seen in a window display in an Apple store in Sydney. Credit: Reuters/Tim Wimborne
A new gadget, be it the latest iPhone, a Canon camera or a Sony tablet, brings a lot of joy to owners, who happily show off their latest buy to friends and family. Weeks or years on, the utility of the device reduces and as better gizmos flood the market, one is tempted to make the switch. But what happens to the older models?
“They usually get lost in my house,” says Kunal Karnik, marketing executive, adding that he usually finds them again after a few years while doing some “spring cleaning”. Others tend to give them away to their household help, pass them on to older family members not as well-versed with technology and even to electronic stores, who repair and resell at a lower rate. Another popular choice for disposal is to sell gadgets second hand on websites that specialise in it, like eBay.in.
And though not many know about it, manufacturers have a recycle policy to help dispose phones in an environment-friendly manner. And the onus of the safe disposal is higher after the E-waste (Management and Handling) Rule, 2011 came into effect. It places responsibility on the producers for the entire lifecycle of a product.
So if you are looking for a way out, here’s what we suggest.
Use these tips to cut down on gizmos
Update: Without the continuous updates, apps no longer remain compatible with the device forcing a change.
Prioritise: Make a mental note of what you will use a device most for. For example, if you take multiple pictures, a phone with a decent camera is essential. Else, you will spring cash again for a new gadget offering these same facilities.
Research: Take time to read up about the gadget you intend to buy. At times, better versions of the same device are out or will be out in the coming months.
No outdated products: Ensure that the manufacturer doesn’t intend to do away with the line, else you could be stuck with a product with no spare parts available as well as no software updates.
Mix and match: Try and pick products that offer all-round services. For example, an iPhone’s camera is decent enough to double up as a point-and-shoot camera and is a good phone.
Donate your device to someone who needs it
Make a wish India: Accepts electronic gadgets that are then passed on to kids with life-threatening diseases as appropriate to their age and ability.
Givingworks.ebay.com: The website allows you to sell gadgets via auction. You can donate 10 to 100 per cent of the money bid to a charity of your choice.
Envirocom.in: Envirocom takes complete care to manage the end-to-end process of recovery, processing, sales and distribution of used mobile phone stock. This helps them work towards reducing the carbon footprint.
Ashanet.org: Donate your personal computers (PC) to schools in India. They work with a number of groups in the US to make this happen.
Donateyourpc.in: Brings together Indian PC and computer peripheral donors with NGOs or schools and people who need computers for education and empowerment.
Here are a few options to consider
Apple: It has a recycle programme for customers. Whatever equipment you wish to recycle, they will collect and recycle it responsibly for free. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Canon: They have tied up with authorised recyclers to dispose waste in an environment friendly way. Email: email@example.com
Nokia: Collects electronic products, batteries and packaging materials from dedicated collection points. Log on to www.nokia.com, go to store locator and find the closest drop-off point.
Samsung: The company has contracts with recyclers and has a ‘take back and recycle’ programme. For more information on how to dispose the products, call their helpline on
1800 268 282.
Panasonic: Each Panasonic product comes with a product information booklet. This carries instructions on how to dispose the product when it reaches the end of its life. Or call the toll-free no: 1800 103 1333
Toshiba: Just like Panasonic, these products too come with disposal instructions. You could also call on 1800 200 8674 (toll free)
Law and effect
In 2011, India introduced a law on e-waste. The E-waste (Management and Handling) Rule, 2011 places responsibility on the producers for the entire lifecycle of a product, from design to disposal. It came into effect across India on May 1, 2012. Incidentally, India's e-waste burden was expected to touch 8 lakh tonnes a year in 2012.