Gadget Recycling Programs: Turn Your e-waste to $$$

Constantly buying new gadgets is both hard on your wallet and the planet. Here at dealnews, we typically try to help with the former, but in honor of Earth Week, we've decided to start helping with the latter as well. So rather than toss your e-waste to the side, we've gathered a variety of earth-friendly services that can rid you of yesteryear's tech.

Free Service
These services will recycle your old tech for free.

United States Postal Service
Recycling your old devices is now as easy as sending snail mail thanks to the USPS and Clover Technologies. The two have teamed up to create the USPS' Mail Back program. This program lets you recycle old Blackberries, digital cameras, used ink cartridges, and even your iPod for free. At the moment, the service is only offered in select cities, but the program is expected to go nationwide this Fall. All you need to do is swing by a participating postal office, pick up the free, postage-paid Mail Back envelopes, and load them up with your used tech.

Suffering from gadget gluttony? Goodwill Industries and Dell have partnered to create the Reconnect program. This program lets consumers recycle their unwanted computers, printers, and scanners by dropping them off at participating Goodwill stores or Goodwill drop-off sites. Any brand of computer is eligible, and components that can't be refurbished will be recycled. You can find participating Goodwill locations in seven states including California and New Jersey. Just remember to wipe out that hard drive before dropping off your system.

Although they were once a notable e-waste contributor, Apple has since made a barrage of earth-conscious strides in the way they design their products. As part of its "Greener Apple" campaign, the Cupertino-based company currently recycles old and damaged iPods for free, while giving customers a 10% credit toward the purchase of a new iPod. Just simply drop your old device off at any Apple Store location. In addition, Apple will also recycle your cell phone free of charge regardless of the model and manufacturer.

Money-Back Service
Help mother nature (and yourself) with these cash-back services.

Staples' and Costco's Trade-In & Recycle Program
Only one thing is better than going green, and that's going green and getting paid to do it. Anyone with a closet-full of gadgets can take advantage of Staples' and Greensight's trade-in program. Simply find the gadget you're looking to recycle from this list and follow the drop-down menus to calculate how much cash you'll get back. (Staples pays you with a Staples coupon that's good for up to 6 months after being issued.) Some items, like CRTs and fax machines, have no trade-in value, but Staples will nevertheless pay to pick up and recycle your item for free. Frequent Costco shoppers can take advantage of a similar plan from GreenSight here and receive Costco cash cards for their recycled items.
What You Can Expect: $40 for a used iPod Photo
From your outdated Palm PDA to your bricked iPhone, the folks at can turn your electronic trash into cash. The site will buy your used, new, and even broken electronics and give you cold, hard cash in return. They currently accept iPods, cell phones, PDAs, Zunes, and game consoles with plans on broadening their services soon. They typically offer competitive prices (i.e. they offered $106 for a used Xbox 360 Core System compared to Staples' $92) and claim to pay within 48 hours via PayPal or check.
What You Can Expect: $48 for a used iPod Photo

If you're the type of fanboy that upgrades every few months, then you might want to check out TechForward. This company will buy back your outdated devices so you can purchase new models when they're announced. To participate you'll need to purchase a "guaranteed buy-back plan," which locks in the trade value for your device. So rather than get $100 for your old Dell laptop when you sell it a year from now, you'll lock in a guaranteed buy-back fee if and when you sell your laptop. (The fee decreases per year.) In addition, devices in excellent condition receive 15% bonuses. (Likewise broken devices will decrease the value of your trade-in.) When you're ready to cash in your laptop for a new model, TechForward will send you a pre-paid shipping box to return your unwanted device, which then gets recycled.
What You Can Expect: Buyback Plan for a MacBook: $29 (one-time fee)
Buyback rates for a used MacBook: $480 (if sold in Oct 2008), $330 (if sold April 2010).

They aren't expected to launch until later this Spring, but ecoNEW is already generating buzz with its forthcoming gadget trade-in program. The company is partnering with retailers like Best Buy and Wal-mart to let technofiles drop off their old, used, and worthless tech at participating stores — even if they weren't purchased there. You'll then receive an in-store gift card for a predetermined amount based on the condition of your device. Alternatively, you'll also be able to fill out a form online and ecoNEW will pick up your device and pay for the cost of shipping.
What You Can Expect: N/A

DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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