(NBC NEWS) -- Americans are forever gravitating to new electronic gadgets and getting rid of old ones at a rate of 50 million tons a year according to Earth Day Network.
Unfortunately, only about 25 percent of them are disposed of safely.
"There are so many components in your cell phone, in your tablet, that are poisonous
and it gets into the water system by going into the soil after a time," explains Bridget Clark of CNET.com. "This is something that is really dangerous."
Lead, cadmium and mercury are just some of the heavy metals in tech devices that can be hazardous to the environment. So much so, it's illegal in 25 states to simply throw away your electronics.
"Even if it's an old device, or its broken, you can always find a way to recycle it and get it into a better area than a landfill or a dump," Carey advises.
Numerous websites and major retailers pay money for used electronics.
It's usually not a lot for phones more than two years old; they're often just stripped for parts.
Second hand Apple products though, tend to fetch more and re-sell as-is.
Gadgets that have fallen out of favor can also be taken to increasingly visible eco-ATMs.
They offer money for your items on the spot.
"The machine can scan to make sure its in decent condition, or make sure that it actually is a cell phone. And if it's destroyed, it'll at least give you a dollar, even if it's really old and something no one else would want, they'll at least give you a buck for it," Carey says.
Even if you simply want to ditch your outdated gadget, use a recycler that's met government
standards for "e-Stewards" or "R2" certifications.
That will ensure disposal in an Earth-friendly manner.