If you just finished your summer cleaning, chances are you discovered an electronic device or two that you can’t justify keeping. It could be an old laptop that you’ve already replaced or it could be an old kitchen appliance that has finally failed. Unfortunately, most curbside e-waste recycling programs do not collect electronics and appliances so you’ll have to go out of your way to keep your old devices from ending up in a landfill.

But it’s worthwhile because, when properly disassembled, most devices are almost entirely made of recyclable parts. In addition, some electronics contain chemicals that can be harmful to the environment if left to degrade at the dump. We’ll show you four simple ways to responsibly dispose of your unwanted devices: trade-in, sell, donate and recycle.

Buy-Back Program

While it’s a noble effort to ensure your old electronics are recycled rather than discarded, the best-case scenario is that you receive something in exchange for your former prized possessions. If you’re looking for the simplest way to recycle electronics for cash, a trade-in program is your best bet.

Some of the most popular buy-back programs are run by retailers, such as Amazon and Best Buy, which provide online tools to help you estimate the value of your device as well as shipping labels to send them in for free. After your device is accepted, you will be credited with a gift card.

Most trade-in programs will pay you a flat rate based on the device, condition and payout option you select. It’s quick and easy but you’ll usually make less money than if you found a private buyer if you want to maximize your profit.

Sell Your Electronics Online

Someone is willing to pay for devices that still have some life in them. Even broken electronics can be worth a lot of money in spare parts. If you’re willing to put in a little more effort, finding an interested buyer is your best bet for a nice payday.

Reach out to prospective buyers in your area for free using websites, like Craigslist, or apps, like Let go, or you can advertise your sale to a larger audience for a small fee using an online auction site, like eBay.

If no buyers are interested but your device may still be useful to someone, it may be time for your generosity to shine.

Give Away or Donate Your Electronics

Giving away your old electronics is another environmentally-friendly option that makes you feel good about yourself. As with selling, you can easily find takers for giveaways by posting your listing in the “free” section on sites, like Craigslist.

Numerous non-profit organizations accept electronics and appliance donations. You can do some online research to see if there is a local organization actively soliciting donations and, if not, it doesn’t hurt to call around to see if you can find someone who is.

Schools, tutoring centers, churches and civic organizations frequently request electronic devices, such as operable computers, tablets and mobile phones. Organizations that help people transition from homelessness or abusive environments can transfer other household electronics and appliances to new owners. Many organizations will come to your location to pick up your large items.

Recycle Everything You Can

Electronic recycling is a specialized industry because most devices must be disassembled into their parts before recycling. So, don’t just throw your old VCR in a recycling bin and hope it gets reused.

Drop-off bins for old computers, phones, cables, chargers and other electronics are available at some electronics retailers, including Best Buy. However, the Consumer Technology Association’s Greener Gadgets search tool is the simplest way to find an appropriate drop-off location near you. Enter your zip code to find a list of all nearby free electronic disposal locations.

Giving your old electronics a new lease on life is a simple but meaningful way to make a difference, whether you recycle it or find it a new home. As your old electronics become obsolete, use these options to ensure that none of them end up in a landfill.


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