Most of us have old electronics and gadgets lying around the house or sitting in a box in the garage. Whether they’re broken or just outdated, it’s hard to decide what to do with them — and some people end up throwing them in the trash. Thankfully, there are a number of options and ways to recycle your electronics and gadgets. Many programs will even offer you cash for cell phones, e-readers, and digital cameras.
Easy ways to recycle your electronics
1. Look to the Manufacturer
Do you have a PC lying around? Many manufacturers offer programs to recycle your computers. For example, Dell will pick up any Dell product for free using FedEx and recycle it for you. If you buy a new computer from Dell, they’ll take your old one and recycle it, regardless of what brand it is.
Apple offers a similar program. If you bring your old iPod into the store, they’ll give you 10% off a new one. They also offer Apple gift cards for many of your electronics—whether or not they are Apple products. Fill out the form on their website and they will estimate the value of your old electronics. Send them in and, once verified, Apple will send you a gift card.
2. Drop it Off at Goodwill
We love this one! Dell has a partnership with Goodwill called Dell ReConnect. Take your equipment, regardless of the brand or condition, to Goodwill and they will make sure that it is either refurbished or recycled responsibly. This program has created 250 new jobs and makes sure that your computer doesn’t make it to the landfill.
3. Get Paid for Your Gadgets
If you do a quick Google search, you’ll find a plethora of companies that offer cash for your electronics. It can be hard to know which one to choose. Some offer phone recycling. There are some companies that search a network of buyers and gives you a list of offers for your electronics. They find buyers for phones, tablets, digital cameras and more. Most companies will also cover shipping costs.
4. Sell Your Used Electronics
If your electronics still work, there might be a surprising demand for them. Craigslist, garage sales, and word of mouth are great ways to find people who will get use out of your working computers and other electronics. When using websites like Craigslist, just be careful and avoid scams (they provide some important guidelines to follow when buying or selling on their website).
5. Recycle Locally
If you know your computer cannot be refurbished through Goodwill, and you don’t want to bother sending it somewhere, there may be options locally. Earth911.com allows you to enter the type of item you’d like to recycle, then generates a list of local recycling programs. This is a great tool for some of the electronics that other companies may not take. I was able to find places in my area that would take cassette tapes, floppy disks, and even two-way radios. If you are cleaning out your attic or basement, Earth911.com is a great resource.
Bonus way to recycle: Repurpose them for fun
Many libraries offer children the opportunity to take apart old, outdated, and safe electronics. Kids can see the inside of a computer mouse, a radio, a keyboard, a non-working phone… the opportunities are endless. Kids will enjoy the chance to learn about electronics from the inside and learn about repurposing items before disposing of them. This is something kids can do at home, with supervision, with their parents’ castoffs as well. My kids love their Fitbit Zip and are wondering what the inside of a Fitbit looks like. They are already talking about the inside of their fidget cube as well.
New ways to recycle your electronics
Do your part to help the environment and be responsible with your unwanted electronics. According to the EPA, only 8% of cell phones were collected for recycling in 2009; the rest ended up at the garbage dump. Have you used any of the recycling programs offered by retailers? Do you have any tips for recycling gadgets? Photo credit: Dell’s Official Flickr Page