There’s nothing better than bringing home the latest piece of technology, be it a Smartphone, laptop, MP3 player, PDA or — preferably — all of the above. But in the rush to get started with the shiny new device that promises to organize your life, improve your productivity and do your laundry, the old gadgets you used to love often get tossed by the wayside.
When it comes to getting rid of electronics that have outlived their glory days, there’s no reason to head for the trash. Aside from the fact that it can be dangerous to chuck batteries and other parts, there are plenty of options that let you get rid of the unwanted accessory and pay homage to Mother Earth. Here are a few ideas for cleaning up your act and ditching old electronics the green way.
- Manufacture recycling — A lot of tech companies are jumping on the Earth-friendly bandwagon (would that be a Prius?) by setting up recycling programs that help you get rid of your old stuff without adding it to a landfill. For example, the Apple Recycling Program will take that used computer off your hands, disassemble it and reuse about 90% of the old parts. If you’re not into donating parts to The Man, you can also take just the battery to any Apple Store for free recycling, or pay $30 for shipping to dispose of any non-Apple PC or display.
- Trade-in programs — Getting something for nothing makes it worthwhile to be environment-conscious. The Walmart Electronics Trade-In program and others like it let you choose from over 30 categories (including cell phones, hard drives, cameras and more), ship your stuff to the store for free and get a prepaid Visa for your troubles. According to the site, some people have gotten as much as $150 for their old iPhones and Xboxes. Walmart removes all personal data from these pieces, then either reuses (read: resells) or recycles them.
- Charitable donations — Use your old electronics could do a good deed and help someone in need. Donating to charitable organizations like SafePlace, which helps victims of sexual and domestic violence, lets you pay it forward and make more space on your shelf. Check your favorite nonprofit’s high-demand donations list to find out if your gadget can aid the cause. (Hint: Old cell phones and chargers go long a long way toward helping.)
- Online re-sale — Of course, one of the best ways to get rid of stuff you don’t need is to sell it yourself. Sites like eBay and Craigslist offer the average Joe a venue for unloading superfluous electronics without being wasteful. Whether it’s listing that 5-year-old PC for parts or peddling the whole setup to a starving college student for a couple hundred bucks, reselling your stuff is a great way to offset the cost of your new gadgets and keep your conscience clear.
- Personal storage — Instead of immediately tossing it, try holding onto anything that’s in halfway decent shape as a backup. You never know when your new machine is going to break down or take a trip to the evil geniuses at tech support. If you don’t need the extra cash from selling the old gadgets, you can potentially save yourself a lot of stress and keep it out of a landfill. To make this option more affordable (i.e., make the new stuff cheaper so you don’t need the re-sale money), look for online discounts (like free shipping with Gazelle.com coupons) that cut your techno-costs.
There are tons of ways to options for getting rid of unwanted electronics in ways that would make the environmentalists proud. Use these tips to decrease clutter and even make a little cash on your old gadgets while doing your part to keep the planet clean.