We all love our electronics, but once they get old, slow down, or break, we automatically think of replacing and repairing them. In the case of an old item, it’s often more expensive to go through the hassle of replacing and repairing, and it’s often cheaper to upgrade to a new product. That’s also more profitable to companies, but let’s not forget about the environment, which is full of rubbish that individuals and organizations haven’t appropriately recycled.
Upgrading isn’t always the easier option. You must be aware of your options before attempting to get rid of your old electronics, including large appliances, smartphones, TVs, refrigerators, tablets, desktop computers, laptops, and more.
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According to the Global E-Waste Monitor, only 15% of the 6.9 million metric tons of e-waste was collected back in 2019 in the United States. The rest of the e-waste was dumped into landfills or, as with most other rubbish, shipped overseas, where it gets dismantled by underpaid workers.
Don’t forget about privacy
Before selling, donating, or getting rid of your electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, or smartphones with onboard storage, make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to properly factory reset the device, or ensure that no personal and confidential information is provided left on it that you wouldn’t want others to see.
It’s worth remembering that simply doing a factory reset on a device isn’t always enough to remove all of the files on the hard drive, and they can still be recovered with special software and tools. It’s best to use the official factory reset option to wipe the device and then use another third-party tool to repeat the process. If you’re getting rid of a smartphone, we recommend you remove the SIM card before selling it or recycling it.
Try to donate or resell
If your device is still in working condition, why not take the extra step and list it online? After all, just because it may be too slow for you, it may be precisely what someone else needs. If the device still functions and operates normally, you could give it to a friend or family members, or even donate it to a school. There are also many charities that will gladly take any and all working devices and provide them to those who need them the most.
eBay, Swappa, Decluttr, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist are all great websites that let you list your old items, and earn a buck or two. It’s also important to keep in mind that some retailers and manufacturers might also allow you trade-in your old device in exchange for in-store or online credit. You could use the money towards another new, shiny item and let the company refurbish and get rid of your old electronics safely and responsibly.
Before you go ahead and trade-in your old device, you might want to read my Apple trade-in nightmare story, and see why it might be better to sell it yourself.
- Computers with Causes: sends technology to individuals who need specific items.
- World Computer Exchange: sends refurbished desktops and laptops to schools, community centers, universities, schools, and even developing countries.
- globe tops: lets you decide who you want to donate your refurbished products to, or you can let them decide.
- Here is a useful list of charities that let you donate old electronics.
- Call2Recycle: lets you drop off, ship, and explore your options for responsibly recycling batteries.
- BigGreenBox: can recycle batteries for you starting at $36.
Look for recycling certifications
As it currently stands, there are two certificate programs in the US for companies to recycle electronics. There are the e-Stewards, and the Responsible Recycling (R2) certificates. Both programs use best management practices, and offer a way to assess the environmental, worker health and safety, and security practices of entities managing used electronics (via EPA). Companies certified by e-Stewards are required to meet more stringent rules than those of R2, and it prevents entities from exporting hazardous materials to other countries.
Let the others do the work for you
Recycling electronics isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s good to know that you have options if you don’t have a way to transport large appliances, or don’t want to hassle with all processes. You can pay a flat fee to any of the companies mentioned below. However, you’ll still often be required to unplug machines and make sure that staff members can quickly gain access to selected applications and can be taken away.
While BestBuy may be on the pricey side, it will haul-away up to two large products (including TVs, major appliances, all-in-one computers, and monitors, along with an unlimited number of smaller products, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, headphones, and more. BestBuy’s Haul-Away service costs $199.99, and the company promises that it will responsibly and safely recycle all products. The service costs 20% less for those with a BestBuy’s Totaltech subscription, and it will be available for $159 .
If you’re interested in the terms and conditions, and want to see the list of products that the company is happy to get rid of for you, you can visit this site for more information.
Haul Away Service
The BestBuy Haul-Away Service costs $199.99, or $159 if you have a Totaltech subscription. The service includes two large items and an unlimited number of smaller products.
Samsung is one of the best companies for getting rid of old smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches, especially if they’re Samsung. The company often offers insanely high prices for old electronics. You might want to trade-in and upgrade to a new Galaxy smartphone, Galaxy tablet, or a Galaxy Watch smartwatch. You can check the trade-in options at Samsung.com.
Trade in and Upgrade
Samsung offers some of the best and highest prices for old and used Galaxy smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches. You can easily trade-in your old device and upgrade, while saving a buck or two, and protecting the environment.
Apple isn’t the best company to trade-in, but it could help you recoup some of your previous investments, and it does offer an environment-friendly method to recycle electronics. Apple offers up to $630 for smartphones (including Android phones), up to $680 for tablets, up to $2,720 for computers, and up to $170 for smartwatches.
Trade in and upgrade
Apple offers an environment-friendly method to recycle electronics and offers a great trade-in value for Apple-branded devices, but it’s far from the best company that offers the best value and customer service.