Tag Archives: Lowe’s

How and Where to Recycle Cell Phones and Laptops

Suppose you’re one of the millions of Americans who purchased or were gifted electronics over the holidays. In that case, you may be wondering how to best dispose of or recycle your old devices. We all have a drawer crammed with old phones, chargers, cables to a VCR you haven’t used in years, and accessories for devices you stopped using years ago. 

There’s a right way and a wrong way – well, many wrong ways – to dispose of electronics. Before we get into that, let me remind you to ensure you’ve wiped the device of any personal information before you toss it. All it takes is a charger for a bad actor to access any data you’ve left on your device before disposing of it. The best way is to back everything up then do a factory reset. 

The EPA has a list of Certified Electronics Recyclers to ensure the site you’ve chosen is reputable and not going to dump your device in a landfill. 

Did you know batteries fall into the same category as used electronics? Don’t throw them in the trash once they’re spent. Instead, collect them in an old shoebox or another container, then take them to Best Buy, Whole FoodsHome DepotLowes, or Staples, each of whom has free drop-off spots for dead batteries. Earth 911 is an eco-friendly resource for recycling, and they will help you locate the nearest recycling location based on the type of battery you need to dispose of (e.g., alkaline, lithium, zinc-air).

Old cell phones – depending on how old – can often be traded in against a new device’s price. If it’s too outdated, wipe it, then choose from one of these options:

  • Best Buy accepts three phones per household per day,
  • Lowes has recyclables collection centers at stores across the U.S.
  • Staples accepts mobile phones along with many other electronics.  
  • Home Depot accepts phones up to 11 pounds.
  • Whole Foods, Navy Federal Credit Union, and ShopRite partner with Secure the Call to get 911 emergency-only phones to senior citizens and individuals in domestic violence shelters. Check local listings for participating stores or send your phone directly to Secure the Call
  • Cell Phones for Soldiers accepts used phones enabling troops to call their families at home for free.

When it comes to laptops, there several options. Earth911 allows you to search for “laptop computer,” enter your ZIP code, and it will pull up a list of the nearest drop off-sites. If the device is older or broken, Dell’s Goodwill Reconnect Program is a good option. If it’s less than five years old, there’s a good chance someone can use it. Many local nonprofits and libraries accept used laptops after refurbishing; just remember to bring the software and accessories that came with them (charger, mouse, printer).  

Happy recycling! 

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Use AR for Your Online Shopping

By Tracey Dowdy

Today in “Been around for a while but just popped up on my radar” news, I was reminded of Amazon’s AR View which allows Android and iOS users to view products in your home before you buy them. 

I’ve recently started a kitchen/family room renovation, and the option to see whether or not that island or cabinet will fit or overwhelm a space before I buy is very appealing. So, I started doing a little research and it turns out they’re not the only – nor were they the first – to add AR to their online shopping features. IKEA and Wayfair were among the first to use AR for furniture and home goods retailing to realize that letting consumers place and manipulate catalog items at scale in their homes without having to first purchase the item was a ticket to bigger sales. 

It’s not just furniture. Sephora offers magic mirrors in both their retail stores and their mobile app to help customers visualize what different colors and make-up treatments will look like on them. L’Oreal, Cover Girl, and others also saw AR’s potential and jumped in with their own versions.

Ikea’s Ikea Place app allows shoppers to virtually place Ikea furniture within their home, checking for fit in color, look, size and more. Perhaps most impressive is that the app scales furniture size with 98% accuracy, so you can feel confident the item really will fit in the space and not have to fear roaming an actual Ikea trying to follow the arrows to escape. Here’s to your relationship surviving assembling that flat pack – for that you’re on your own.

Lowe’s lets customers shop their furniture line with the Envisioned by Mine and the Measured by Lowe’s apps, which turns your phone camera into a virtual measuring stick to measure the dimensions of floors, walls, and other items, making it easy to shop for furniture online and in-store.

Perhaps the universe’s greatest gift to home renovation is Dulux’s Visualizer App lets you pick a color from anywhere and see the colors live in your living space. Save the image as a video or photo which you can then share with your family and friends for that always important second opinion. 

Not every retailer has AR native to their apps or websites, but as the old iPhone commercial says, there’s an app for that.  The Amikasa app invites any furniture seller to upload 3D imagery of their product to be featured on the app and similarly, TapPainter lets users visualize paint colors from several different brands. Users select shades from a color wheel or input a color code from a swatch.

Chip and Joanna Gaines, the couple behind TV’s Fixer Upper and owners of Magnolia Market use Apple’s ARKit to allow shoppers to view their entire product line, everything in store and in stock, from any angle, allowing you to examine the product from above, below, or around the side.

Stone Crandall, Magnolia’s digital experience manager, says, “Thanks to AR, online shoppers will now have the answers to: How will this piece look in my home? How big is the item in real life? What does the inside look like, or the back? At the end of the day, nothing tops the in-store experience, but AR provides the capabilities for guests to make equally informed buying decisions from afar, at all hours of the day.”

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some shopping to do.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.