Out with the Old, In with the New: Reuse, Recycle, and Cash-in Old Electronics
How many of you got a new iPad or the Nintendo Wii U this Christmas, or some other fancy new device? Are you now faced with the predicament of what to do with your old electronics? You could pass that iPhone 4 on to your grandma or younger sibling, but if they're not in the market for newer or fancier devices, why not repurpose your out of date electronics? We don't mean you should paper maché the chassis, but rather, how about donating, recycling, or even exchanging your old tech for some cold hard cash?
Money for Old Electronics
If the devices you're looking to get rid of are in relatively good working condition, you may be able to earn some money in the process. NextWorth aims to prevent e-waste by offering cash for old electronics while keeping functional devices circulated and in use. Just search for your model, answer a few questions about its quality and accessories, and NextWorth will offer you a quote for trading in those unwanted gadgets. They accept cameras and lenses, desktops and laptops, eReaders and tablets, cell phones and smartphones, GPS units, calculators, video games and consoles, and even DVDs and Blu-rays.
It may come as a surprise, but those would-be coasters / dust-collectors may be worth more than you think. Depending on the condition, an Xbox 360 250GB console can earn anywhere from $0.02 to $50. A first-generation 8GB Amazon Kindle Fire will fetch up to $54, and the discontinued 13" MacBook, up to $198. (These prices are based on like-new condition with all accessories and no blemishes.) NextWorth offers electronics trade-ins via UPS shipping with the choice of refund via PayPal or check, or in the form of a Target gift card. Speaking of Target, NextWorth also offers in-store trade-ins and recycling at Target and J&R, with trade-in payment in the form of a respective gift card from either merchant.
eBay, too, offers a trade-in program called eBay Instant Sale (formerly known as Rethink Initiative). The online auction giant has partnered with eBay super-seller AllTechWholesale which accepts, assesses, and then offers payment via PayPal for old electronics. AllTechWholesale pays for UPS shipping, too. Many consumers may also be familiar with Gazelle, a service that prior to this past August was very similar to NextWorth. However, in recent months the online electronics recycler scaled down its accepted trade-ins to include exclusively Apple products and the occasional Android smartphone. Gazelle still offers its customers free UPS shipping and payment via PayPal or check, but its inventory is significantly pared down.
In addition to NextWorth and Gazelle, Amazon's increasingly popular trade-in program offers credit to the online giant in exchange for used electronics. Other online arms of major retailers like HP and Sony offer trade-in credits for the likes of laptops, cell phones, and more. Toshiba also boasts electronics recycling programs but also partners with Best Buy to offer a wider range of trade-in options.
For the video game nerd who long ago beat Guitar Hero (on Expert, of course), you can trade in with NextWorth or scout out a new adventure with store credit trade-in from GameStop. The store accepts old, unwanted, beaten video games and offers an extra 50% in-store credit when you opt for other pre-owned games.
Past Its Prime? Recycle Your Electronics
Electronics can be recycled for almost all of their components: metal, plastics, glass, and more. And there are more local, manufacturer, and retailer recycling programs than you'd think. New York City alone is serviced by six EPA-approved recycling programs, and they pick up!
Stores like Target, Best Buy, and their ilk make it easy to recycle your small electronics. What's more, cellular carrier stores, including AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile offer consumers their choice of in-store drop off or pre-printed shipping labels that make for quick and easy returns, free of charge.
However, recycling larger items might actually cost you. For example, while Office Depot encourages electronics recycling in schools and offices, it does charge to assist in doing so. For up to a $15 fee, you'll receive a box that can be filled with unwanted and broken electronics and then returned to the store to be processed. Staples on the other hand has done away with its $10 processing fee for monitors and the like. Yet, your best bet for recycling larger consumer appliances is with a local organization. Greener Gadgets offers a list of nationwide manufacturer, retailer, and certified eCycling programs in your area.
Give New Life to Old Tech with Donations
Perhaps you have a fully-functioning device in your possession, but you're feeling charitable and would rather forgo cash for a donation. There are numerous established organizations that accept donations of old electronics and repurpose them for a good cause. Doesn't the idea of letting school children use your old computer sound nice? The Environmental Protection Agency is a good resource to find a local organization to unload your old electronics.
Or, if you're a fan of the aforementioned Gazelle or HP, you can contribute your earned electronics-recycling refund to one of 40 charities, from the Easter Seals to the YMCA. In some cases, this is probably nicer than passing off an old deskjet printer, scanner, or brick cell phone.
Regardless of when you choose to unclutter your eLife of gadgets, we hope that you all recycle that dot matrix printer, trade out your old video games, allow someone else to reuse your old laptop, and even cash-in on your old TV for parts. Reuse and repurposing is the best way to unclutter your technological life and reduce e-waste.
Note that this feature has been updated since it was originally published last year.