By Kevin Tibbles, NBC News Correspondent
So I'm in my house one Saturday morning cleaning out the basement in preparation for a new floor, and I stumble across something I bet most of us have secretly tucked away in remote nooks and crannies.
A couple of old burned out computers, four or five cell phones, a disused VCR, batteries for what I don't know, and a mountain of cables, computer mice and who knows -- maybe a real mouse or two.
Do I just chuck this stuff in the weekly garbage pickup?
That seems like, well, a waste. And, hence I was off and running to try to figure out what one is to do!
First, the EPA tells us, Americans throw out two million tons of this 'e-waste' every year. Just think of the plastics, heavy metals and poisons that end up in our landfills as a result. Struck me as a potential environmental nightmare once this stuff starts breaking down and seeping into ground water.
So, I soon found out that you CAN take it somewhere.
In Chicago, the city runs a recycling depot especially for this e-waste -- and chances are your community does too.
And, there are entrepreneurs out there who will actually break down and separate all the metals and other stuff for re-use.
In many ways, old electronic junk is a gold mine.
Out of a castaway computer comes gold, silver, platinum and other precious metals.
Also comes bad things for us, like lead and mercury.
Tonight's story will help guilt you into doing something positive with your old 'e-junk'; so you can give your electronic waste and electronic reincarnation.