Why You Should Recycle Your Electronics Instead of Throwing Them Out

How I recycled my old phones and laptop and made some money.

With March just around the corner I decided to get a head start on my spring cleaning list and started cleaning out the drawers in my kitchen. For the most part it was pretty simple to figure out what needed to be tossed and what needed to be better organized. Decluttering my utensils was easy, but one thing that had me stumped was what to do with all my old cell phones. In the past whenever I got a new cell phone I would toss the old one in a junk drawer never to be used or thought of again. I now have quite a collection of old phones and chargers that I keep hanging onto because I have no idea what to do with them. This year instead of tossing those phones back in said junk drawer or just throwing them in the trash, I decided to finally look into my options and dispose of them properly. 

*When electronics end up in landfills toxic materials, such as lead and mercury, can be released into the environment. When recycled correctly your old electronics can be refurbished or used to make new products. 

When I started researching how to properly dispose of my old electronics I was surprised how many options there were. For instance, Best Buy offers tech recycling and not just small electronics but larger items too, like kitchen appliances. Other office supply stores like Staples and Office Depot offer take back programs as well. Depending on where you live and what stores are closest to you, they might be good options to look into. I chose two different companies to trade and recycle with and want to share with you how my experiences went. 

Apple Trade In

Most of my old electronics are Apple products, so I first checked online to see if they offered any buy back or trade in options. I was excited to find out that they do. Through Apple.com I was able to check to see which cell phone models were eligible to be traded in for a credit or gift card and which were only eligible for recycling. Out of the five iPhones, I only had two that qualified for trade in: the iPhone 6 and 6s. I had the option to mail in both phones for an Apple gift card, but I chose to take both cell phones into the Apple store. There the sales associate informed me I would only be able to receive credit for the iPhone 6 because the 6s had a crack in the screen. Before the trade in was complete the sales associate was able to wipe my phone of any personal data. I did have the option to have it recycled through Apple, but I chose to hold on to it and explore other options.

As for the phone I was able to trade in, I received a $60 Apple gift card. I also had an old MacBook I wanted to trade in, but computers must be mailed in before you can receive credit. To do this I went to the Apple website and typed in the model number. I was then given an estimate for my laptop and emailed a shipping label and instructions on how to package the laptop and mail it in. Once they received the laptop they emailed me an Apple gift card with a value of $100. Another great benefit of recycling or trading with Apple is that they are able to clear any data or other private information from the hard drive for you.

Apple trade in isn’t limited to Apple products alone. They also offer recycling of other cell phone brands, chargers, and cell phone cases.

Other Recycling Options

Remember that iPhone 6s with the crack in the screen? Well, I held onto it and found a website, declutter.com, that buys old electronics. Even though that phone was “broken” they still paid me $14 for it. I know it’s not much but it’s more money than I would have made by keeping it in that junk drawer for another year. All I had to do was search for the item I wanted to trade in and they gave me an instant estimated value, then I selected to trade it in and was emailed the instructions and shipping label at no cost to me. Once they received the item I was notified via email. I then had the option to receive payment by check or direct deposit.

I should also mention that I forgot to unlock the phone before I mailed it in. But they were able to email me instructions so I could unlock it using my Apple account on my computer. The whole process was very simple and quick. This is also a great site to check out if you want to trade in other brands such as Samsung or Android or if you have other items you are interested in selling such as CD’s, DVD’s, video games, tablets, and more. These items can be traded in for cash or recycling, and just like Apple they clear all data and private information from your devices.

Now that I’ve finally cleared out all of my old electronics I hope to continue finding new ways to create less waste in the future.

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