My family loves tech and gadgets. While my dad is the original collector with stereo equipment and early green-screen computers dating back to the late 1970s and early 1980s, we have built quite the collection of antiquated electronics. Although some of it is valuable, most of it is junk which is difficult to dispose of. And as I’ve come to find out, throwing them away is basically tossing money out the window. While the operating systems are completely obsolete, they are still in good shape. After doing a little research, I have discovered seven ways you can sell and recycle old electronics so they don’t end up at the local landfill.
7 Ways to Sell and Recycle Old Electronics
1. Trade-in Programs
One of the most convenient ways to get compensation for your old electronics is through trade-in programs. A quick online search will pull up several retailers who will give you cash, credit, or gift cards. While there may be a few local options, there are several national companies that offer to pay you for them.
- Target offers gift cards when you turn in old laptops, phones, video games, and other electronics.
- Best Buy allows you to trade them in for in-store credit. Or, if you want to trade up or use the credit for future purchases, you can mail them in for gift cards.
- Amazon will pay you for your outdated devices.
- Apple’s Recycling Program also offers gift cards. However, it is limited to Apple products only.
2. Sell Them Online
Another way to earn cash for your electronics is to sell them yourself. If your devices are still functioning well, you could try to advertise them online or through local marketplaces. You are more likely to get the maximum value if you sell it yourself, but it could take a while to find a buyer.
The best sites and marketplaces to post your items are Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, eBay, or Amazon. Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are more local, so they require face-to-face transactions. These are usually cash only and won’t have shipping fees unless you offer the option. On the other hand, eBay and Amazon help you reach a wider market and improve the chances of finding a buyer. But, they also take a percentage for using their platform.
If you decide to go this route, you should cross-list items in several places to cast the widest net possible.
3. Use a Direct-Buy Used Electronic Sites
Unfortunately, most people don’t have the time or patience to deal with private sales. So, if you don’t want the hassle of advertising and meeting with potential buyers in person, you should check out direct-buy sites for used electronics.
Amazon, Gazelle, and Decluttr give you access to trusted buy-back programs for your electronics. All you have to do is send them your old electronics. Once they receive them, then they will evaluate the value and send you compensation.
4, Check with Local Repair Shops
Sometimes local repair shops will buy used laptops and phones for parts, or repair them and sell them for a profit. So, even if your devices are old and well-worn, they still hold value.
Check with repair shops in your area to see if they can scavenge parts that are still valuable and compatible with other devices. They may offer you cash or trade-in credit, depending on what components they can get from your old electronics. Even if they don’t, repair shops are usually willing to dispose of them for free.
5. Pass Them on to a Friend or Family Member
Perhaps you know someone who needs a laptop or phone upgrade. Accidents happen all the time, and electronics are expensive to replace. Try asking around to see if anyone is looking for a temporary fix until they can afford something else.
Many people insist on giving you something, but you may have the opportunity to help someone you care about who is facing a tough financial situation. This is a good option if it is the first cell phone or laptop for a student as well. If they have a used or older device, there is less fear of damaging or losing it since it isn’t the latest and most expensive one available.
6. Donate Them to a Good Cause
In some instances, helping the less fortunate is more important than getting a good price. If you want to donate your outdated electronics to a good cause, you can look into local chapters of these organizations.
Many shelters and programs that assist veterans and victims of domestic violence gladly accepted older phones. There are also non-profits and charitable organizations that always need electronic upgrades. You can also call around to schools, shelters, churches, and other charities that may have a use for them. Donating them is a great way to give back to your community, instead of trying to sell or recycle your old electronics.
7. Safe Disposal and Recycling
However, if the devices are too far gone, it may be best to just scrap them. You can save yourself time and trouble by finding a place to safely dispose of them.
Many electronic retailers and recycling services will accept old electronics and get rid of them for you, free of charge. All you have to do is find designated kiosks inside stores like Best Buy where you can drop them in. Or, you can usually drop them off at the customer service desk, and they will make sure the devices are properly handled.
Before You Sell and Recycle Old Electronics…
Before you hand over any of your personal devices, make sure you wipe or destroy the hard drive. Many recycling centers do this for you, but it’s always safer to do it yourself. You don’t want your personal information floating around, or give anyone access to important documents that could leave you vulnerable to fraud or identity theft. So, if the hard drive has nothing on it or has been destroyed, you know your information is secure when you sell or recycle your old electronics.
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Jenny Smedra is an avid world traveler, ESL teacher, former archaeologist, and freelance writer. Choosing a life abroad had strengthened her commitment to finding ways to bring people together across language and cultural barriers. While most of her time is dedicated to either working with children, she also enjoys good friends, good food, and new adventures.