Recycle
General Green IT

What To Do With Old Technology

The constantly evolving market of technology has resulted in a glut of old electronic devices in our homes, offices, and, unfortunately, our landfills. Most of these devices contain harmful chemicals that we do not want leeching into our soil and water. Dispose of those unwanted items responsibly! Not sure where? Read on, I’ll provide you with plenty of choices and resources to reclaim your storage space, while keeping in harmony with Mother Nature.

  1. Sell it! Is your old tech not REALLY that old? Well, then you are in luck! Maybe you tried a new device, and it just didn’t meet your needs. Or maybe your occupation/hobby/interests simply require that you upgrade to newer technology. Either way, you can make a few bucks to go towards that next purchase. Here are the best places to sell:
    • Auction – eBay – The auction site is great for selling old and newer electronics alike (many search eBay for hard to find replacement parts or devices no longer available from the manufacturer).
    • Direct Selling – Craigslist – your local Craigslist website makes it convenient to sell all sorts of things, including electronic devices. Since you are meeting people in person, take precautions! Lifehacker recently ran an article on “How Can I Avoid Getting Screwed When Selling on Craigslist?“. Good advice.
    • Direct Buy websites – You won’t get your best price on any of these sites, but if you’d rather avoid the hassle of dealing with an unknown buyer, these are a great option.  A few of these sites are Gazelle.comBuyBackWorld.com,  BuyMyTronics.com, or NextWorth.com. The equipment they purchase varies from site to site.
    • Used PC retailers – check your local listings for sellers of used computer equipment in your area. They may buy direct from you.
  2. Trade it in! Sometimes, you just can’t find a buyer for your used gear. Fortunately, other retailers may be interested in trading you credit at their store in exchange for your used electronics. Lucky for consumers, more and more retailers are adopting this trend. Some of the big names are Amazon, BestBuy, and GameStop.
  3. Donate it! You may be able to get a tax write-off if you donate your used, in-good-working-condition tech to a worthy cause (consult your tax preparer for details). Check your local listings for women’s shelters, non-profit thrift stores, carpenter shelters, and religious organizations to see if they are accepting donations. Donations often benefit families or non-profit institutions who cannot afford to purchase new computers and other equipment.
  4. Recycle it! If you’ve been hanging on to some of your gadgets hoping that they would increase in value (They very rarely, if ever, do. It’s always best to sell, trade, or donate them as quickly as possible after you upgrade or replace an item.), and have discovered that they are worthless, do NOT dispose of the item in your trash. As I mentioned above, most electronics contain toxic heavy metals, hazardous chemicals, and other pollutants that we do NOT want to get into the environment or our bodies. (To learn more, read Greenpeace‘s “What’s in Electronic Devices?” article.) So, recycle those electronics…here’s where to do it:
    • Retailers – Those same retailers willing to buy or trade-in your devices, such as BestBuy, may also offer to recycle those that have no value for free. Simply drop them off at participating locations.
    • Your County – Most counties now offer free electronic device recycling to residents. Restrictions often apply as to when, what, and where they accept electronics. For more information, visit your county’s website.
    • Electronics Recyclers – We produce so much electronic waste that it has produced a new kind of “scrap yard” business. For a small fee, these businesses will recycle your old equipment, even shredding hard drives and other magnetic media to destroy data. Check your local listings for a recycler in your area.

It doesn’t get much easier! There are many options available to properly dispose of the old electronics hanging around the house or office (and make some money in the process!). In a later article, I’ll discuss how to prep electronic devices to destroy any sensitive, personal data before they leave your possession.

ITGirl
Hi, I'm ITGirl, an information technology consultant residing and working in the DC Metro area. Get to know me! I'm funny, informative, opinionated, a bit sarcastic even... the female geek is a mysterious and elusive, yet surprisingly outgoing breed. Thanks for reading!
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