Recycling in stereo is harder than it sounds

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Recycling dilemma of the month: old stereos.

I found out that Crutchfield no longer does an all-the-time recycling program. They used to have a trailer outside the store that would take most electronics (for a fee), but these days they just do periodic and kind of apocalyptic events in which people literally wait in line for long periods of time on 29N for the privilege of not putting their TVs and computers in a landfill. It truly does warm my heart, but I am rather too lazy to join that line. I’m hoping for a different solution for my own retired equipment—including a shelf system that I’ve had since I was a mere lass of 17!

Goodbye, old friends. Thanks for all those happy mixtape-making sessions.

I’d heard Staples did e-cycling, but I found out that they won’t take stereos. So I set off on a long chain of web links, looking for someone local who would accept these broken beasts. Someone who’d accept them for free would be even better.

My search began at Better World Betty, where "Stereos" is one of the many categories a would-be recycler can search, looking for local dropoff points. Betty lists five places to take stereos, but four of these are resale stores. I’m guessing even the Salvation Army does not want my crippled, if beloved, stereo. Betty also lists Crutchfield, so I went back hoping for clues.

At first I just found a dead end: a link from their site to CExchange, which will give you a Crutchfield gift certificate only if you trade in something "of value"—sentimental value not included—and doesn’t seem to take stereos at all. Another link, though, brought me to Digital Tips, where I put in my ZIP code to find recycling options. And lo and behold, I got a link to Best Buy.

The page for our local store on 29N isn’t clear about whether Best Buy will take stereos, but I followed yet another link to their Recycling page, where Virginia-specific info does seem to indicate stereos are fair game. I’ll give it a try. (Anyone done it before?)

The persistence required to figure this out is enough to make me want to spend more on my next stereo, just so it’ll last longer and I won’t have to do this again for a long time. More to the point, it would put a lot of people off. Here’s an official Green Scene wish for a municipal e-cycling program: simple, free and well-advertised. Who’s with me?

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