I have a lengthy list of things I should do but don’t get around to, such as cleaning out the garage. A little monetary persuasion pushes me to action.
With the approach of Earth Day (Sunday, April 22) and the fact that I really need to get on with reducing, reusing and recycling, I’ve found some technical solutions for going green that sometimes even make some greenbacks.
First stop is Recyclebank.com, website of a New York-based firm that awards points for recycling, participating in contests, watching videos with eco-friendly tips or taking surveys from sponsors such as the gift site UncommonGoods and cereal-maker Kashi. Trade points for coupons, magazine subscriptions, even gift cards.
If your community participates, Recyclebank tallies the amount of recycled material in your area and divides the total points among all that community’s recyclers. Recyclebank has more than 3 million members, and its rewards-for-recycling program operates in more than 300 communities among 31 U.S. states and the United Kingdom. Points won’t expire, as long as you’re active at least once every 12 months.
Even better, you can donate your points to the school of your choice. Since 2007, Recyclebank has granted more than $350,000 to schools across the country.
My home has cabinets full of once-essential gadgets and gizmos now gathering dust. By Earth Day, I vow to turn over some of them to BuyMyTronics.com, a website that will buy back lightly used electronics. It has the largest list of eligible electronics I’ve found: cellphones, wireless aircards, MP3 players, cameras, e-book readers, GPS devices, even game consoles.
For example, it offers $3 for a Canon PowerShot A590 camera in average working condition or $119 for an iPad 16GB WiFi in excellent condition, with the original box and charger.
Sure, I might make a couple more bucks on eBay, but the simplicity of three clicks and an offer will get the stuff off my shelf and into a postage-paid envelope. BuyMyTronics takes items in any condition and recycles stuff that’s not salable. If your item isn’t listed, request a custom quote.
Don’t like BuyMyTronic.com’s offer? Check out Gazelle.com (for Apple products and some smartphones), where that same iPad draws a quote of at least $145. Also compare prices for handheld electronics, smartphones and laptops at YouRenew.com.
You know you should carpool, but every Monday it’s just you and Starbucks shelling out at the pump. Zimride.com promises to help you “sell” the extra seat in your Suburban to someone headed your way. Designed to help college and corporate communities share rides, the service is also popular with road trippers. Drivers set the price for seats (typically $25 to $40 each, depending on destination) and communicate with would-be passengers through Facebook so that everyone can verify identities. Participants pay via PayPal. John Zimmer and Logan Green started the service in 2007 at Cornell University and the University of California, Santa Barbara; today, Zimride has partnered with more than 100 universities and companies. Those entities pay Zimride a fee to coordinate ridesharing. Users don’t pay an additional service fee, at least for now.
If you can’t find your route through Zimride, check out GoLoco.org. It sets the trip price at 50 cents a mile, dividing that cost among the driver and all passengers. GoLoco charges a 10 percent transaction fee when it coordinates the money transfer, but you have the flexibility to share a taxi or rental car, or add other costs (like bridge tolls) to your trip so all fees are split evenly.
• Andrea Eldridge is CEO of Nerds on Call, which offers on-site computer and home theater set-up and repair. Based in Redding, Calif., it has locations in five states. Contact Eldridge at www.callnerds.com/andrea.