How to Recycle Your Tech
Summary: Ready to upgrade your cell phone or laptop to the newest model but not sure what to do with your old one? We’ve outlined how you can safely recycle your tech and reduce your e-waste footprint.
When it comes to technology, we all suffer from shiny object syndrome. We all want the next best thing, whether that’s the iPhone 14 or a brand-new laptop.
While that’s all well and good, there’s just one problem: what are we supposed to do with our old gadgets when we’re done with them? That question isn’t always easy to answer.
According to The World Counts, humans generate around 40 million tons of electronic waste every year worldwide. To put that into perspective, that’s like throwing 800 laptops away every second.
When these gadgets end up in landfills, the chemicals that make them so effective—namely lead, mercury, and cadmium—leach into the surrounding environment, harming humans and animals alike.
So, what can you do to safely dispose of your old electronics? Keep reading to find out.
Even if your tech isn’t in the best shape, consider donating it to a local charity. They may be able to sell it as is, refurbish it, or sell it for parts. You’ll feel good knowing that the cell phone or computer you might have otherwise dumped in the trash is going toward a good cause.
But remember, before you donate your computer or cell phone to a charity, be sure to back up your files, photos, and anything else you might want to save. Then, wipe the internal hard drive clean.
Here are some charities worth considering:
- You may already donate your old clothes there, why not your tech too? Goodwill will take your old cell phones, printers, laptops, and TV sets and sell it in-store or online at shopgoodwill.com. All proceeds go toward funding their ultimate mission: helping those with disabilities or workforce barriers find employment.
- If you have a computer you’d like to donate, they make that easy. Goodwill partners with Dell to collect and refurbish computers of any make and model. Simply drop it off at your nearest participating Goodwill.
- The World Computer Exchange
- An international nonprofit, The World Computer Exchange (WCE) builds computer labs in underdeveloped countries using donated laptops and computers. They only accept certain makes and models of computers, so visit their site to learn more.
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- Support another worthy cause by donating your old cell phones and laptops to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) and their partner, Cellular Recycler. All proceeds go straight to NCADV.
In addition to these donation programs, you can also check with your local school or library to see if they could benefit from your old technology. It never hurts to ask.
Trade It In
As the e-waste problem becomes increasingly dire, tech companies are working to curb the problem by offering trade-in programs. Once you’re done with your gadget, send it back from whence it came, and they’ll either refurbish it for a new customer or recycle it on your behalf.
- Apple Trade In
- Have an old iPhone, iPad, MacBook, or Apple Watch that’s no longer working? Send it back with Apple Trade In. Depending on your old gadget’s condition, you may receive credit toward your new purchase or an Apple gift card. If it’s broken, they’ll recycle it for you at no cost.
- Amazon Trade In
- The same goes for Amazon. If you’d like to upgrade your Alexa device, Kindle, or other Amazon device, trade it in to receive an Amazon gift card and up to 25% off your new device.
Before trading in your technology, be sure to back up your data, deregister it from your iCloud/Amazon account, and factory reset your device.
Finally, the last option is to take your old tech to a recycler. Recycling your tech is a great way to recover precious metals that are costly and unsafe to extract from the earth. There are several resources, organizations, and companies that can help you safely recycle your tech — here are the ones we recommend.
- If you have old batteries or cell phones collecting dust at home, bring them to one of Call2Recycle’s drop-off locations to have them safely recycled. Enter your ZIP code here to find your nearest recycler.
- Earth911 is an extensive recycling database that helps you figure out how to recycle everything from cell phones to glass, paint, and hazardous materials. Simply enter your zip code here to get started.
- Best Buy
- Recycle up to three items a day for free with Best Buy’s electronic recycling program. You can find out exactly which items they’ll recycle for you here. Depending on what you bring in, you may be eligible for a trade-in discount or gift card.
- If you need to recycle more than three items, stop by Staples. They’ll let you recycle up to seven items for free per store per day. You can also bring your Nespresso or K-Cup pods while you’re at it — they’ll recycle them too!
Just like if you’re donating or trading in your tech, be sure to back up your data and wipe your hard-drive clean before bringing your gadget to a recycler.
Now that you’ve properly recycled your old device and got your hands on the latest model, it’s time to do one last thing: equip your home or business with high-speed fiber internet. That’s where we come in. Give us a call at 866-383-3080 to get started!