Recycling DVD players: My Best Buy experience

I finally gathered my two castoff DVD players and the old stereo deck from my car and took them to Best Buy to check out their program for recycling electronics.

DVD Player

Don’t add your dead DVD player to the landfill. Take it to a recycler. (Photo credit: yaron e)

Before I could do this, I’d needed to take apart both DVD players to remove the discs that wouldn’t eject. To my relief, I found that removing the DVDs proved to be a much simpler process than extracting a VHS cassette from a videotape player.

  • Assuming that you’re planning to discard the DVD player, just keep on unscrewing things and pull everything apart until you get to the piece that holds the DVD in place.
  • Unscrew that piece, pull it off, and you should have your DVD in your hand, unscathed.

My copies of Major League and Crocodile Dundee are now back in their cases, ready to play the next time I use the treadmill.

Before heading for Best Buy, I checked the company’s website to see whether they accepted DVD players and stereo decks. Yes, they do, along with a great many other devices. (See the list here.)

While I was on the website, I clicked on their suggestion, “See what happens to your recycled product.” The link took me to a livestream video that presented some statistics on Best Buy’s recycling program and then demonstrated just what happens to the devices that we drop off at their stores.

  • Best Buy packages the devices and ships them to one of the company’s chosen recyclers.
  • The recycler disassembles them and separates them into their components.
  • If they’re recycling a computer, they remove the hard drive, wipe it clean, and physically destroy it.
  • They send the wiped hard drive and almost everything else to the shredder, where steel, aluminum, and precious metals are separated from the plastics.
  • They take monitors apart by hard, pop out the circuit board and strip out the wiring, and send the cathode ray tube for crushing. The resulting glass shards are cleaned without water or toxic chemicals. A vacuum process removes the debris, and the remaining glass goes to the smelter.
  • By the time the whole process is finished, what’s left is raw material for new products: plastic, aluminum, steel, precious metals from the circuit boards, and cobalt and iron from recycled batteries.

Confident that my recycled electronics would not end up in a landfill, I bagged the DVD players and the stereo deck and headed for the nearest Best Buy store. I walked in, explained my mission, followed the directions to the customer service counter, asked an employee whether I could just leave the product, acknowledged that I didn’t need a receipt, left the bag on the counter, responded to his “thank you,” and left.

Best Buy Store

Best Buy stores accept consumer electronics for recycling (Photo credit: Coolcaesar)

As simple as that: three pieces of consumer electronics out of my spare bedroom and into the recycling system, and kept out of the landfill. Thank you, Best Buy!

More About Toilet Paper Cores

Toilet Paper Core

Still useful, even after they’re empty. (Photo credit: Luigi Chiesa)

I just came across a delightful graphic demonstrating several ways to use empty toilet paper cores: to create wall art, to hold office supplies and other odds and ends, to keep rolls of wrapping paper safe and tidy. Check them out here.

My reluctance to discard these things probably qualifies me among the lunatic fringe of recyclers. (It’s my mom’s voice in the back of my mind: “are you sure someone can’t use this?” I bet she’s surprised to find out that I really was listening.) When the local daycare center greeted with joy my offer of a bagful of the things, I decided to let the world call me crazy and keep saving them.

Recycle Refrigerator Magnets: Answering a Reader’s Question

A reader left a comment recently on my original (March 31, 2011) Keep It Out of the Landfill post, asking whether I can suggest any ways to recycle old refrigerator magnets. Great question, and one I wish I’d thought of myself.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

Refrigerator with Magnets

Are you ready for some new uses for those refrigerator magnets? (Photo credit: Jacinda Santora)

  • If they’re the flat, flexible magnets, cut them to whatever size you need and glue photographs or other scrapbook-y things to them. Keep them to use on your own refrigerator, or give them to family and friends.
  • If you have a small business, cut them to business-card size and glue your business cards to them for distribution to customers and prospects. (I’ve bought business-card size magnets to use for this purpose. That’s why I wish I’d thought of the question myself.)
  • Attach a magnetic strip or small magnet to the side of your desk to control stray paper clips.
  • Keep one in your sewing kit to clean up needles and pins.
  • Keep a couple in your tool box to hold screws while you’re taking something apart.
  • Glue one to the end of a ruler — better yet, a yardstick — to retrieve small metal things that fall into awkward places. Keep one of these in the car to pull small objects out from under the front seat or the corner of the trunk.
  • Use them for crafts: use the back pocket from an old pair of jeans to turn one into a notepaper holder or make a photo-frame magnet. (Check out this YouTube video.)

And if you exhaust all your own crafty ideas:

  • See whether a local preschool/daycare center can use them. I recycle some weird household discards that way, and the daycare folks are delighted to have them. (See my July 26 blog post.)
  • Offer them “free to a good home” on Craigslist or Freecycle.
  • Get really good at reusing them, and you can probably teach a class on things you can do with them.

You may have been told to keep magnets away from your computer because they’ll erase your data. In the days of floppy disks, this was an issue, but evidently it’s no longer considered a serious problem. Check out this post from Greg Keizer of PC World. (Personally, I still don’t keep magnets near my computer. But I’m getting old and set in my ways, and I’d rather avoid problems than solve them.)

Anyone have more ideas about what to do with refrigerator magnets? Let me know, and we can share them.

Recycling Trail Mix: The Chipmunk Will Eat It

Last spring, I bought a large bag of trail mix from the wholesale club. We ate a little of it and didn’t like it. What to do with a ten-dollar bag of trail mix that you don’t like?

My husband’s suggestion: maybe The Chipmunk will eat it.

Ever since I moved into our condominium when Leo and I got married sixteen years ago, I’ve been enjoying The Chipmunk’s occasional brief appearances. I know that chipmunks live only about three to five years in Northeast Ohio’s climate, so the one we’re seeing now is several generations removed from The Original Chipmunk, but who can tell — he sure looks like his mommy and daddy.

Chipmunk eating nut

Trail mix doesn’t last long when there’s a chipmunk around. Photo credit: Gilles Gonthier

We’ve grown fond of the little critter, especially since the day thirteen years ago when he and my final cat faced each other through an open doorway and decided to let well enough alone. The Chipmunk went back to his lair under the garage, Muffy came back inside and curled up on the couch.

In the years since, I’ve put various nutty/fruity leftovers out onto the patio, and The Chipmunk, or some other beastie, has made them go away. Once in a great while I’d be rewarded by the sight of him stowing the goodies into his little chipmunk cheeks.

So last spring I poured a couple of tablespoons’ worth of the untasty trail mix onto a plastic lid left over from a can of salted cashews and placed it on the patio about where Chippy disappears into the shrubbery. I checked it every couple of hours, and, later that day, the dish was almost empty.

From time to time this summer I’ve set more of the trail mix out on the patio, and it reliably disappears. The bag is finally running low, and this afternoon I put out what may be Chippy’s second-last serving. About ten minutes later I glanced out the back door and watched as he dashed out of the shrubbery hell-bent for the stand of mint growing behind the grill. Leo joined me to see him get halfway there, stop, lift his head, taste the air, and hang a sharp left for his plate o’ goodies. The plate’s about half-empty now — he can stuff only so much into those little cheeks — but I’m sure that by bedtime it will all be gone.

Once I empty the bag, I know I won’t be able to abandon him. I guess I’ll just have to start doling out the walnuts I’ve been saving for the cookies I never seem to bake. And maybe next spring I’ll buy him another bag of trail mix.