Farewell Old Friend: How Do You Know When To Recycle a Gaming Console?

Posted on July 15, 2014 @ 4:39 PM EST

A console like the Playstation 3 should be recycled, not thrown outWhen you were a kid, playing games could be a bit of a hassle. If you ever had a Nintendo Entertainment System, the first generation of what would eventually become more sophisticated pieces of technology like the Wii and the Wii U, then you probably have fond childhood memories of sitting down to play classics like Super Mario Brothers, Ice Climbers, and the Legend of Zelda. You probably have less fond memories of frantically blowing down the bottom of the cartridge to try and dislodge dust and airborne particles, putting it into the console, and getting only a flashing screen. We’ve come a long way since those early games. The pixellated figures that kind of look like a plumber if you squint are now photorealistic graphics, the stories have gone from “Sorry, but your princess is in another castle” to Oscar worthy tales, and the gameplay has evolved from stomping Goombas and Koopas to controlling intelligent heroes with an array of weapons and skills. However, with great technology comes great responsibility, and part of that means that you have to be aware of electronic equipment recycling. Simply tossing an Xbox 360 or a PS3 into the trash is a massive waste of resources, as well as being a cruel goodbye to a friend that has lasted you many years. So what should a gamer do instead? With a new generation of consoles (The Xbox One and the Playstation 4) emerging, recycling an old console may be the best bet when they begin to fail. Here’s how you know when it’s time to say goodbye, and how you should prepare your console for recycling.

Why Should You Recycle a Console Instead of Throwing It Out?

Consoles are a sophisticated piece of technology, with many small parts working together to bring your favourite games to life. The individual pieces of a console are often made up of valuable metals and useful pieces of technology. This means that even after a console fails, it’s still worth something. The pieces within can be reused for other consoles, phones, medical technology, and so on. Therefore, it’s a waste to simply send it off to a landfill. Some recycling programs will even compensate the user for making the effort. This little bonus can often be used to treat yourself to a next-gen console like an Xbox One or a Playstation 4. Furthermore, you can know that you’ve done a good deed and helped protect the planet from a little extra waste!

Jumping the Gun: Why You Should Avoid Recycling Too Early

Despite the fact that recycling is a beneficial thing overall, you should avoid doing it too early. Why is this? Your console gave you many hours of entertainment; don’t disrespect it by putting it here!First of all, recycling in a rush often means that you’re getting rid of a console when it could have been repaired or fixed. Secondly, the hard drive of your console often contains memories that you might want to keep. Saved games, videos, messages, contact information, and friend lists are all common things that can be found on the average PS3 or Xbox 360 hard drive. If you take your console off for electronic equipment recycling, you should make sure that you have gotten every last drop of life from it. Furthermore, the new consoles (the PS4 and Xbox One) are not “backwards compatible”, which means they will not play PS3 or Xbox 360 games. If your favourite game is a generation behind, you should hold onto your console for the time being.

When Is It Time To Go? Signs Your Console Needs Electronic Equipment Recycling

Here are the biggest signs that your console is near the end of its lifespan and is ready for electronic equipment recycling:

  1. Your console is suffering constant freeze ups, resets, glitches, and other technical issues that interfere with gameplay. These are signs the internal mechanisms of your console are beginning to slow down and suffer problems. Once these issues start, they rarely resolve themselves, and instead become worse.
  2. You see a “yellow light of death” (Playstation) or a “red ring of death” (Xbox). These are signs that your console has completely croaked after a long life, and the only known way to “fix” the issue is to get a new console altogether. These are notorious online for being an end to someone’s gaming fun, and there is no reliable way to reverse or repair the problem.
  3. Your console has repeatedly sustained damage from overheating, physical damage such as being dropped, and so on. While older consoles like the Nintendo NES were infamous for being able to survive falling off surfaces or tumbling down the stairs, modern day consoles often struggle to work after taking a beating. Make sure you take good care of your gaming systems, or they’ll face an early trip off to the plant for electronic equipment recycling.

What Steps Should I Take Before It’s Time for Recycling?

To avoid premature recycling, take these quick and easy steps. They shouldn’t take too long, and they’ll help you avoid making a mistake you’ll regret.

  1. Call the manufacturer of the console and see whether you are under warranty or if they are able to help you at all.
  2. Backup any data you can off the console’s hard drive before bidding it farewell.
  3. Google your issue online and see if there are any clever solutions that could extend the lifespan of your console, such as placing it vertically instead of horizontally, cleaning out the fans, etc.

At EDI Refining, we take electronic equipment recycling seriously. Not only are we working to help save the environment, but we will sometimes offer compensation to users bringing in their electronic scrap depending on the materials. For more information on our services, check out our website for a detailed look at all we have to offer!