Advancements in technology are great for gadget-lovers, but tough on the environment. Now that iPhone 5 is out, what happens to replaced iPhone 4? When you’ve upgraded your TV to an LED model, what do you do with that old LCD screen? Many electronics, like TVs, computer monitors, and household appliances, can’t be thrown in the trash because they contain toxic materials. Instead of relegating used tech to the junk drawer and the garage, recycle or sell your electronics. There are a variety of innovative programs making it easier than ever to safely recycle electronic items, also known as e-cycling. With a little effort, you can earn extra money, help the planet, and clear your home of clutter.
NextWorth accepts over 20,000 electronic items for trade-in, in exchange for a Target gift card in the value of the traded used electronics. You can trade in cell phones, cameras, iPods, e-readers, tablets, laptops, video games and consoles, DVDs, and even calculators. In good, working condition, newer devices like the iPhone 4 can fetch as much as $130, while the older iPhone 3Gs goes for $45. If your device has a cracked screen or a missing button, Target will still accept it, for a smaller payout. The service is available in select Target stores and online at both NextWorth and Target’s websites, with free UPS shipping. The online service features a simple, interactive questionnaire about a device’s quality, making it easy to determine the cash value of your item.
BuyMyTronics offers an electronics buyback program similar to NextWorth’s, available online and by mail with free shipping. BuyMyTronics also specializes in bulk orders from businesses, organizations, and schools. But the real advantage of BuyMyTronics is their fundraising program for nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits can partner with BuyMyTronics to host an electronics recycling drive, sell the electronics to BuyMyTronics, and receive an additional 5% of sales back as a donation from BuyMyTronics.
Most major electronics brands run e-cycling programs, with mail-back service and retail drop-off locations. Dell partners with over 2,600 Goodwill stores to recycle electronics and raise money for charity in its Dell Reconnect program. Both Samsung and LG partner with recycling vendors and sponsor e-cycling collection events. Apple will assess the value of your old iPhone, iPad, laptop, or desktop Mac. If your device has a monetary value, you’ll receive an Apple gift card. You can also recycle a used iPod at an Apple store for a 10% discount on a new iPod.
Retail E-Cycling Programs
Many large retailers, including Best Buy, Staples, and Office Depot, offer in-store recycling for mobile devices, computers, printer ink cartridges, cables, and batteries. With the purchase of a new appliance or TV with delivery, Best Buy will haul away your old model for recycling. Best Buy also does in-store and online trade-ins of used electronics in exchange for a Best Buy gift card, similar to the Target/NextWorth program. Staples also sponsors a similar trade-in program.
Many regional and state governments run electronics recycling programs, often within the Department of Environmental Quality. Some, like Oregon E-Cycles, are implemented with financial support from electronics manufactures. The Environmental Protection Agency maintains a good list of where to recycle electronics.
Amy S. writes about technology for RJS Software Systems, offering document management systems to help businesses eliminate paper and electronically manage the lifecycle of information.