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How to Properly Recycle Old Electronics

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When you sort through your belongings before a move, you're likely to come across a variety of electronics that you no longer use. Whether they're obsolete or no longer working, you're going to need to find a way to properly recycle old electronics.

how to recycle old electronics

Disposing of electronics isn't as easy as throwing them in a big black garbage bag and leaving them on your curb. When you recycle electronics, dispose of them in a way that is environmentally safe. There are certain guidelines for recycling electronics, as many items contain elements like mercury, lead, and cadmium that can harm the environment if not disposed of properly.

Donate old electronics that are still in working condition

There will always be a charity or non-profit organization out there that will be more than happy to take your old electronics -- regardless of age. For example, schools are always looking for televisions, computers, laptops and monitors in good working condition. Also, these donations can be tax deductible, which is certainly one of the benefits.

Some donation programs that take old electronics: 

  • Dell Reconnect: Dell partners with Goodwill to take any unwanted computer you may want to get rid of. Find a donation box where you can drop these devices off for your convenience.

  • World Computer Exchange: This organization really appreciates any sort of electronic donation that is in working condition -- from calculators, computers, laptops, flash drives and headphones.

  • eBay for Charity: This popular marketplace allows you to sell your used devices and donate some or all of the proceeds to a charity of your choice. 

  • Donating to troops overseas: Consider giving the old, working electronics you don't need the troops overseas. Soldiers don't always have phones, so your donation allows them to keep in contact with loved ones.

Find a recycling program for the rest of your old electronics

You can find plenty of recycling programs non-profit drives within your community. These programs ensure your electronics are being handled safely and correctly while conserving resources and natural materials.

There are two main types of recycling programs: 

  • Corporate recycling programs: Many corporations have programs that enable their customers to safely dispose of their old products. Companies like Apple, Sony and T-Mobile will recycle your old electronics for you, often using them to create refurbished items for resale. Also, electronics retailers like Best Buy and Staples have places in their stores where you can drop off your old electronics to be recycled.

  • Community recycling drives: Contact your local town or city about their next donation drive. These annual drives are a great way to donate to others in need. If your town doesn't have this option, inquire about your next best recycling option.

Give electronics away to electronic manufacturers 

Several electronic manufacturers and retailers have recycling programs for consumers who want to get rid of them safely. Verify a company's participation in this recycling program on the United States Environmental Protection Agency's website. 

Some companies that offer recycling are: 

  • Best Buy: They offer many options to recycle old electronics -- even if you did not initially purchase them there
  • Amazon: Amazon gives out gift cards in exchange for donations such as cell phones and video games
  • Staples and Office Depot: If you choose to recycle with an office supply store, they offer you store credit for items such as ink cartridges

Robert Moreschi  Posted by Robert Moreschi on November 9, 2018

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