If you just finished up your spring cleaning, chances are you found an electronic device or two that you can’t justify keeping around. It could be an outdated laptop that you’ve already replaced, or maybe an old kitchen appliance that finally broke down. In observance of Earth Day 2018, Direct Energy urges you to take a few minutes to give that old device a second life.
Most curbside recycling programs don’t pick up electronics and appliances, which means you’ll have to put in a little effort to prevent your old devices from ending up in a landfill. But it’s worth it — when broken down properly, most devices are made almost entirely of recyclable parts, and some electronics contain chemicals that can be harmful to the environment if they’re left to degrade at the dump.
We’ll show you four easy ways to dispose of your unwanted devices responsibly: trade-in, sell, donate and recycle.
1. Trade in Your Electronics
While it’s a noble enough effort just to make sure your old electronics get recycled and not cast onto the trash heap, the best case scenario is that you get something in exchange for your formerly prized possessions. And if you seek the easiest way to recycle electronics for cash, your best bet is to find a trade-in program.
Some of the most popular trade-in programs are operated by retailers like Amazon and Best Buy, which provide online tools to help you estimate the value of your devices and give you shipping labels so that you can send them in for free. After your devices are accepted, you’ll receive gift card credit.
There are also e-commerce companies like Nextworth, Gazelle and eBay’s Quick Sale service that offer similar trade-in programs with payment options that include gift cards, PayPal deposits or mailed checks.
With most trade-in programs, your payment will be a flat rate based on the device, its condition and the payout option that you choose. It’s fast and convenient, but you’ll usually make a little less dough than you could by finding a private buyer. So if you’re looking to maximize your profit…
2. Sell Your Electronics
Devices that still have some life left in them are worth something to someone. Even broken electronics may have decent value in spare parts. If you’re willing to put in a little more work, your best chance at a nice payday is to find an interested buyer.
You can use free websites like craigslist or apps like Letgo to reach out to prospective buyers in your area, or for nominal fees, you can advertise your sale to a wider audience with an online auction site like eBay.
If no buyers are biting but your device might still be of use to someone, it may be time for your generosity to take over.
3. Give Away or Donate Your Electronics
Simply giving away your used electronics is another eco-friendly option that can also make you feel great about yourself. As with selling, you can easily use sites like craigslist to find takers for giveaways by posting your listing in the “free” section.
There are all kinds of nonprofit organizations that accept donations of electronics and appliances, as well. You can do some online sleuthing to see if you can find a local organization that is actively soliciting donations, and if you can’t, it doesn’t hurt to call around to see if you can find someone who is interested.
Electronics like operable computers, tablets and mobile phones are often in high demand by schools, tutoring centers, churches and civic organizations. Other household electronics and appliances can be transferred to new owners by organizations that assist people with life transitions from homelessness or abusive environments. Many organizations will come pick up your large items.
If nothing else, a local thrift store is likely to take any devices that work, and many such stores operate on a nonprofit basis. But if you come to the conclusion that what you have is total junk…
4. Recycle, for Earth’s Sake
Because most devices must be broken down into their component parts before they can be recycled, electronic recycling is a specialized industry. Don’t chuck your old VCR into just any recycling bin and hope it gets reused.
Some electronics retailers, including Best Buy, provide drop-off bins for old computers, phones, cables, chargers and other electronics. But the easiest way to find an appropriate drop-off near you is to use the Greener Gadgets search tool, provided by the Consumer Technology Association. Just enter your zip code for a list of all nearby locations for free electronic disposal.
Whether you recycle your device or find it a new home, giving your old electronics a new lease on life is a simple but meaningful way to make a difference this Earth Day. As your old gadgets become obsolete, use these options to make sure none of them end up in the landfill.