Save $99 on eero Pro 6 + Install. Use Code EEROINSTALL

How to Recycle Your Electronics & Fight E-Waste

how to recycle electronics can you throw electronics in the trash

If you’re like most people, you probably have old electronics stored somewhere in your house. Instead of letting them sit in some forgotten drawer, why not recycle them, donate them, or even trade them in for a little cash? If you don’t want your devices ending up in a landfill, here’s how to properly recycle your computers, smartphones, and other electronics.

What Is E-Waste?

E-waste (or electronic waste) is a collective term for discarded electrical devices, such as old TVs, computers, cell phones, speakers, home appliances, and anything with a cord, plug, or battery.

According to a UN report, the US generated 7 million tons of e-waste in 2019 alone. That means the average American throws away 46 pounds of e-waste every single year, and only 15% of electronics are properly recycled.

In many states, it can be difficult to recycle electronics on a large scale. Some states don’t even have e-waste laws at all. As a result, e-waste has become “the fastest growing domestic waste stream,” according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).

Can Electronics Be Thrown In The Trash?

Some electronic devices should never be thrown in the trash. These include computers, monitors, laptops, cell phones, and printers. Throwing these devices in the trash is not only harmful to the environment, but it could also be illegal in some jurisdictions.

Melbourne,,Australia, ,Jul,13,,2020:,Collecting,Electronic,Waste,For

When electronics are not disposed of properly, harmful chemicals can leak into the ground and contaminate the groundwater. Some of these chemicals, like lead, cadmium, and chromium, pose serious health risks for anyone who comes in contact with them.

To solve this, a number of states have made it illegal to throw certain electronics in the trash. For example, New York City’s Guidelines for Electronic Disposal imposes a fine on anyone who throws their televisions, computer peripherals, monitors, and other e-waste in the trash.

To find out what e-waste landfill bans your state has enacted, check out this list from the National Center for Electronics Recycling (NCER). However, even if your state doesn’t have e-waste laws, it’s still a good idea to recycle your electronics anyway.

How to Recycle Electronics

There are lots of places that will recycle your electronics to take your devices and mine the metals and other reusable parts. However, it’s important to find a reputable recycler to ensure they don’t ship e-waste to developing countries.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) specifically recommends two households recycling services: GreenerGadgets and Call2Recycle. GreenerGadgets will show you more locations that accept more types of gadgets, including major stores like Staples and Best Buy. On the other hand, Call2Recycle is a good resource for recycling old cell phones and batteries.

How to Recycle Electronics
(Image Source: GreenerGadgets)
*Make sure to enter your zip code to find recycling services near you

For businesses, there are two accredited certification standards that exist in the US: Responsible Recycling (R2) and the Standard for Responsible Recycling and Reuse of Electronic Equipment (e-Stewards). These certifications ensure the services they provide, like data security and sustainability efforts, are above board.

How to Trade In Your Old Electronics

If you want to make money off your old electronics, some big-box retailers have trade-in programs that make it easy to part with your devices. These programs sometimes offer cash or store credit for bringing in your old and damaged electronics.

  • Amazon: You can earn gift cards when you send in Amazon and non-Amazon electronic devices to be recycled or refurbished. Discounts apply to Kindle e-readers, Fire TV streaming devices, Echo speakers, headphones, Ring video doorbells, eero WiFi routers, cell phones, game consoles, and more. Amazon will provide you with a prepaid shipping label, and you will have the appraisal value added to a gift card once the device is received.
  • Best Buy: You can get money for your old cell phones, tablets, MP3 players, game consoles, and more. There are also ongoing promotions where you can save money on a new device when you trade in an eligible item.
  • Apple: You can get hundreds of dollars back when you trade in your old iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, or even Android devices. All you have to do is send your old devices through the mail or bring them to an Apple store. Apple will give you a trade-in estimate, which can be added to an Apple gift card or go towards the purchase of a new device. Apple also offers to recycle devices that are not eligible for trade-in credit.

Read More: How much will Apple pay for your old iPhone?

apple trade in

(Image Source: Apple)

Where to Donate Your Old Electronics

By donating your old electronics to a charity, nonprofit, senior center, or shelter, you can help others in need and get a tax break, too. Some of the most popular donation centers are Goodwill and the Salvation Army. Just make sure to wipe your data before giving them your devices.

  • Goodwill: With thousands of donation centers across the country, Goodwill acceptsvarious electronics, including monitors, laptops, cell phones, and working flatscreen TVs. However, they will not accept old CRT TVs and computer monitors.
  • Salvation Army: You can get a tax deduction by donating your old electronics to the Salvation Army. They accept computers, cell phones, and other devices, but you can’t donate broken devices, old TVs, large TVs, or large stereos.
  • Computers with Causes: Help individuals and nonprofit organizations in need by donating laptops, tablets, desktops, and even surplus bulk computers for a tax deduction. All you have to do is fill out a donation form, then ship the item or schedule a pickup.
  • World Computer Exchange: This nonprofit organization provides computers to youth in developing countries. They accept desktops, laptops, tablets, readers, and more. You can drop your devices off at a WCE chapter or send them through the mail to their Boston chapter.

How to Sell Used Electronics

If your devices are still in good condition, you can try selling them online. There are lots of online marketplaces that you can use to sell your old electronics, including eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and Gazelle.

  • eBay: Get the most money from your devices by listing them to a market with millions of shoppers. To use the platform, just sign up for an eBay account and create a listing. Registering gives you 250 free listings every month on eBay. There’s also a 10% final value fee in addition to the payment processing fees. Make sure to consider these fees when pricing your devices.
  • Facebook Marketplace: Simply upload photos, add a description, and set a price and your location. You can then post your listing to any buy-and-sell Facebook groups that you are a part of. You can also meet the buyer in person or use Messenger or PayPal to receive your payment.
  • Gazelle: This online marketplace is made for buying and selling used electronics. You can sell your old Apple products or cell phones from Google, LG, HTC, Nokia, Motorola, Blackberry, and Samsung. You will receive your device’s trade-in value through an Amazon gift card, PayPal credit, or check.
  • ecoATM: With over 5,000 ecoATM locations across the country, selling and recycling your device is easy. All you have to do is drop off your old cell phones, MP3 players, and tablets at any ecoATM kiosk. The ATM will calculate a price for your device based on its model, condition, and value in the secondary market. Once you find out how much your phone is worth, you can decide to sell it on the spot or take it back and keep it.
ecoatm recycle electronic e-waste
(Image Source: ecoATM)

Was this article helpful?

Thanks for your feedback, add a comment here to help improve the article