Caring about the environment is patriotic.
June 16th, 2009
After my hair dryer broke last month, I contacted Remington customer service to inquire as to how to repair or recycle the dryer, and was met with the disturbing response that if the dryer was older than the two-year warranty, I should just throw it in the trash. Not satisfied with that answer, I set out on a mission to find some way — any way — to forfend a landfill fate for my dryer. Here’s what I uncovered.
Repair it yourself. While nearly every drugstore-variety hair dryer manufacturer I spoke with — Remington, Conair, and, ironically, Vidal Sassoon Ecostyle — offers neither repair service nor a recycling/take-back program, it’s actually relatively simple to repair one yourself. Essentially a heating element and a fan motor, a hair dryer isn’t complex machinery; sometimes a good internal cleaning is all that’s needed to get it running again. Not handy yourself? Ask a friend or family member who is to help you, or call it a “science project” and challenge your son or daughter to fix it. (Just make sure it’s unplugged first!) Here’s an easy-to-follow article to get you started.
Find an e-waste recycling event. When I first contacted the Department of Public Works (DPW) for LA County, I was informed that e-waste recycling only encompasses computers, printers, and cell phones. But after doing a little internet digging, lo and behold: a page on the DPW website that says hair dryers are, in fact, accepted at county-wide e-waste recycling events (I called the DPW again and spoke with a rep who confirmed this). If you live in LA County, click here for the e-waste collection event schedule, as well as a list of permanent collection centers. If you’re outside the LA area, Google “e-waste recycling” and the name of your city or town.
Next time, buy wisely. When I had my hair cut a few weeks ago, my stylist told me that many of the professional-grade hair dryer companies offer repair service. While these appliances are more expensive than your cheapo drugstore model (expect to pay upward of $100), you won’t have to buy a new one every two years. Solano, for instance, offers a two-year warranty on all its dryers that you can renew every two years, indefinitely. If your dryer breaks, you just send it off to the repair center, it’s fixed within two days, and the company even covers the cost of return shipping. “This keeps our dryers in the hands of stylists and out of the landfills,” states the website. That’s what I’ve been waiting to hear!