How To Recycle Headphones {Explained!}

By Rebekah Pierce

Do you have a drawer full of old headphones? Or maybe an old pair stashed away in a desk or closet? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of people across the globe own at least one pair of outdated headphones. But before you toss them in the trash, consider recycling them! Here’s how to recycle headphones – the easy way.

How Do You Dispose Of Old Headphones?

With the ubiquity of smartphones and other devices that use headphones, it’s no surprise that there are billions of old headphones collecting dust in drawers all over the world. If you’ve got a pair of old headphones that you’re no longer using, you may be wondering how to dispose of them properly. 

Most people don’t realize that headphones can be recycled. In fact, many of them end up in landfills, where they release harmful toxins into the environment. Headphones are made with a variety of materials, including plastic, metal, and glass. These materials can all be recycled and used to make new products.  

The good news is that there are a few different options for recycling or repurposing your old headphones – and you don’t necessarily have to throw them in the trash. 

One option is to recycle them through an electronics recycling program. Many cities have programs that allow you to drop off old electronics for recycling. 

Headphones can also be recycled through some mail-in programs offered by major retailers. 

Another option is to donate your old headphones to a local charity or thrift store. Many donation centers will accept old headphones, and often, you can sell the headphones to a local consignment shop or online (via eBay) if they are still worth anything, too. 

How To Dispose Of Broken Headphones

While it may be tempting to simply throw them away, there are a few things you can do to ensure that your broken headphones don’t end up in a landfill. 

One option is to recycle them. Most electronic manufacturers have recycling programs that will allow you to send your old headphones back to be recycled into new products.

Although you can’t just throw old headphones in your regular municipal recycling bin, it’s easy enough to find recycling facilities near you that deal specifically in headphones. 

Another option is to donate them to a local thrift store or charity. This way, someone else can make use of them and keep them out of the landfill (even if they aren’t using them exactly as they were intended). Finally, if you’re feeling really ambitious, you can try to fix them yourself. 

Here’s a video that will walk you through the process of fixing broken headphones:

How To Dispose Of Wireless Earbuds

Wireless earbuds are a great technological advance that allows people to enjoy music and other audio without being tethered to a device by a cord. However, when it comes time to dispose of them, it is important to do so properly in order to protect the environment. The first step is to remove the batteries from the earbuds. 

This can be done by gently prying open the battery compartment with a small screwdriver or other similar tool. Once the batteries are removed, they can be recycled at most electronic waste facilities. 

Next, the earbuds themselves can be thrown away in the trash; however, if possible, it is best to donate them to a local charity or recycling center. By taking these simple steps, you can ensure that your old wireless earbuds don’t end up in the landfill! 

Can Old Headphones Be Recycled?

Yes, old headphones can be recycled. However, they can’t be tossed directly into your recycling bin. There are a few ways you can do it instead.


JLab is a company that specializes in the sales of speakers, headphones, and Bluetooth devices. To participate in the recycling program, all you need to do is fill out a form on the Jlab website. 

As soon as you complete the application, you’ll get more information on hot or recycle your old headphones with them. As another incentive, you’ll get a 30% discount coupon to use for future purchases on the company’s website. 


Another company that will allow you to recycle your old headphones is Thinksound, a New Hampshire-based company. When you choose to recycle with Thinksound, you’ll get a 15% discount on your next purchase (often more, if you’re recycling devices sold and manufactured by Thinksound).

Best Buy

Many Best Buy stores have recycling programs. These programs aren’t just for old headphones but also for things like other electronic devices and appliances. You can ask for more details at your local Best Buy, but usually, there’s a bin in the entryway to drop off any old electronics you no longer want. 

Other stores that have either recycling programs or trade-in programs for old headphones include:

  • Amazon
  • Podswap
  • Sony
  • Apple 
  • Earth911
  • Recycle My Electronics

Selling Or Donating Your Old Headphones

If your headphones are still in good working order, you may want to consider selling or donating them. You’ll fetch a pretty penny, especially if your headphones are from a high-end brand, by selling on sites like eBay or Craigslist. 

Of course, you could always donate your old headphones to a local thrift store or to a family or friend in need, too. 

Make Your Headphones Last Longer

Headphones are fragile, but there are things you can do to prolong their life. 

First, avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures, as this can damage the electronics. Second, be careful not to pull on the cord excessively, as this can cause it to fray or break. 

Finally, make sure to clean them regularly with a soft cloth; this will remove any build-up of dirt and dust that could otherwise damage the components. 

By following these simple tips, you can keep your headphones in good shape – and keep them out of the landfill for longer. 

Headphones Recycling Near Me

Looking to recycle your old headphones? Do a quick Google search to find headphones recycling facilities near you. You’ll be amazed at everything that turns up in your search! There are often facilities near you as well as one-time recycling events in which you can drop off any kind of electronic waste you need to get rid of. 

Have you ever recycled headphones? It’s easier than you think, and there are a few ways to do it. We’ve outlined the best methods for recycling headphones above. Now that we know how to recycle headphones, let’s all do our part in keeping them out of landfills. Give one of these methods a try!

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