Recycling E-Waste: What to do with Old Electronics


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Below is a guest post by Tony Buonocore, who loves working with electrical components at Westway Electric Supply. When he’s not helping customers in the store, Tony can be found spending time with his family or traveling.

recycling e-waste
You can get rid of old electronics clutter and help make a healthy environment.

Have an island of misfit electronics that you can’t seem to get rid of? Check out these tips on recycling e-waste and how to finally get rid of old electronics clutter in your house!

Recycle/Trade-In to Retailers Many electronics retailers have their own recycling program. The types of items allowed depend on the retailer, but many take back everything from ink cartridges to cell phones to cords and cables to fax machines. Some companies offer a discount if you either recycle or trade-in an item with them.

For instance, Amazon’s buyback program gives you a gift card for trading-in Kindles and other electronic products, and Staples gives you a coupon if you recycle ink cartridges with them.

Recycle/Trade-In to Manufacturers Most electronics manufactures offer a take-back program and sometimes even sponsor local recycling events. Some manufactures even provide you with a receipt for tax purposes. For example, through Apple’s Reuse and Recycle program, you can send Apple old iPhones, Macs and PCs and Apple will either apply the value of the product towards an Apple gift card, or will responsibly recycle the product if it has no value.

Additionally, if you bring your old iPod to an Apple Retail Store, Apple will responsibly recycle it and give you 10% off a new one.

Responsibly Recycle In addition to retailers and manufacturers offering recycling programs, many municipalities now recycle light bulbs, TVs, batteries and more. This is done through disposal sites throughout the municipality’s area and designated electronics collection days.

The majority of these are free to donate to. Not only do townships offer recycling programs, but many nonprofit organizations also offer recycling options. When in doubt, see if a recycler is part of the e-Steward network, which ensures a globally responsible way for recycling e-waste.

Donate If you’re looking to donate an electronic item, there’s most likely an organization that’ll be happy to accept it. Depending on the state of the item, most local libraries and nonprofits will gladly accept working devices. Cell Phones for Soldiers is just one example of a charity accepting old electronics. Also, the Salvation Army, Goodwill and many other large organizations accept used computers and electronics.

Before donating a computer to Goodwill, check to make sure that your local location accepts donated computers.

Sell for Cash If your old device is still in good working condition, there are many online companies that will buy it. You will most likely receive the best price on websites like Craigslist, Amazon and eBay, but these sites often require a large time commitment to register for an account, make a listing and research how much you could realistically sell your device for.

If you’re just looking to quickly get rid of your product and aren’t concerned with getting the best possible price for it, consider selling your product to companies like Gazelle and NextWorth.

Recycling e-waste is important because electrical components will not break down on their own in a landfill, and will often times leak and contaminate surrounding land and water. In order to protect our environment, we need to take every step that we can to ensure electronic devices are handled in a safe and environmentally-friendly way. When you come across old or unused electronics, follow these tips to maintain a safe and healthy environment!

Photo: George Hotelling

Links to products featured on RecycleScene are affiliate links. We try and only feature products that close the recycling loop. Make a purchase of recommended products on our site, and we get a small percentage of affiliate commission to maintain our site. Read more in the Terms of Use & Disclosure link in footer. Thanks!


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