Why You Should Recycle Your Old Electronics (And How to Do It)

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recycle old electronics

If you’re like most people, you have several old electronic gadgets lying around the house that you don’t use anymore. They’re probably there because you know you’re not supposed to put them in the trash but you don’t know how to get rid of them properly. The best way is to recycle your old gadgets through a recycling program — you might even be able to make a little money from them. Take a look at how to recycle your old electronic toys and why you should do it.

What Electronics Can You Recycle?

Pretty much all electronics are recyclable. This is because legislation has been passed forcing all electronics companies to take measures to keep their products out of the landfills. That doesn’t mean you can simply put old electronics in your home recycling bin, though. You have to find a place that accepts electronics donations.

Even though almost all electronics are recyclable, there are a few things you should keep in mind. The bigger the item is, the more difficult it is to recycle. For instance, there are several places that will take old cell phones, but it’s a lot hard to find places that accept old, clunky desktop computers.

Here is a list of electronics you can recycle:

  • Desktop computers and monitors that you no longer use
  • Laptops and tablets
  • Printers and ink
  • Cell phones and landline equipment.
  • Camcorders and cameras
  • Modems, answering machines, and other office equipment
  • Anything with batteries that you don’t use anymore

 

Why Should You Recycle Electronic Gadgets?

 In this fast-paced technology world, electronic gadgets go obsolete within two to five years. This means there are a lot of gadgets being thrown away and filling up landfills. Not only is this a space problem, it is an environmental problem because of the chemicals in the batteries and devices that seep into the earth and cause environmental and health issues.

Additionally, electronic items don’t decompose like other waste. For instance, it only takes yard waste a few months to decompose if it stays wet enough, where as it takes electronic waste a few hundred years. That’s a huge reason why electronics need to be kept out of landfills. Of course, another great reason to recycle electronics is to reuse the metals, since there is only a limited supply of them around the world.

 

Where to Recycle Old Technology

There are several different ways to dispose of electronic waste, but your options are different depending on where you live. This is because every state has different rules and regulations on recycling. You can usually find specific state information on your state’s website or from your sanitation department.

Generally, it’s really easy to dispose of small electronic items like tablets or ultrabooks because there are drop boxes at several large chain companies. You’ve probably seen those little recycling boxes at movie rental stores and grocery stores. However, large items like laptops don’t fit in the recycling receptacle, which means you have to find other ways to recycle them. Most of your options are then online.

It’s important to note that many states have passed legislation requiring electronics companies to take back their goods. So, the easiest way to recycle your old electronics is to just take them to the store where you bought them to see if they will recycle them for you. Most office supply companies will do it for you and some will even give you money for your old electronics.

Here are some organizations that accept old electronics donations for you to consider:

  • Cell Phones for Soldiers: You can give your old cell phone to this program to help servicemen keep in touch with their families.
  • Gazelle: They send you a box with pre-paid shipping to make recycling everything easy for you.
  • TechForward: You can register your devices on this website and get a guaranteed buy-back price for the future.
  • Earth911.com and 1800recycling.com: They help you find local donation sites.

 

How to Prepare Electronics for Recycling or Donation

Recycling is a great way to help the environment, but there are things you should do to your devices before turning them in to protect your security. The first is to remove any trace of ownership. So, take off stickers and make engravings unreadable. You also might want to clean the device up a bit to get a better trade-in value, if that’s the method you are using.

If you are recycling a computer, or larger electronic device, you should wipe the hard drive. You never know who the next person to use your computer will be, so you don’t want there to be any accessible personal information. There are programs that help you wipe the memory, but you might need to take it to a computer repair shop if you’re unsure of how to do it yourself.

Alternative Ways to Recycle (Some Can Earn You Cash)

Of course, you don’t have to use a recycling center to keep your gadgets out of the landfill. You can try to sell your old gadgets or re-purpose them yourself. There might even be someone you know that could use your old device. Many people also prefer to find places that will pay them cash for their old electronics to help pay for their new toys.

Here are some alternative ideas for recycling your old electronic items:

  • Turn it into a toy for your kids
  • Trade it in for a newer model
  • Sell it on an online auction site
  • Put it out during a yard sale
  • Repurpose it in other ways
  • Repair the gadget so it can be used again
  • Donate it to a school or developing country

There are so many different options for getting rid of your old electronic items that they should never have to go to a landfill. So, when you upgrade to that new ultrabook take the initiative to recycle the old replacement. Then, spread the word so others follow suit. Do you know any great organizations that can help that weren’t mentioned here?