What to Do with Old Electronics
Electronic devices like smartphones, TVs, tablets, and laptops provide endless entertainment and help us stay connected. And it’s no secret that we can get a bit attached to our technology – research shows that over 97% of Americans own a cellphone!
Tech companies keep us on our toes with the latest gizmos and gadgets – and technology quickly becomes outdated or obsolete. What’s one to do with old electronics without contributing to the pile-up of e-waste?
Fortunately, you have options. Here are a few responsible tactics for getting rid of unwanted laptops, TVs, phones, and more.
What can you do with old electronics?
When your electronic device reaches the end of its usable life, you might be tempted to toss it in the garbage. But wait! There are several more safe and effective ways for disposing of old devices without hurting the planet.
DIY enthusiasts are finding new ways to turn old tech into new products and projects. From transforming an old computer into a terrarium to creating art with DVD players, there are many interesting ways to repurpose your old devices.
If you’re handy with gadgets, you can turn old electronics into something completely new and functional. Or, venture over to websites like Pinterest.com for craft and art ideas. There are even Facebook groups that share tips, DIY kits, and support in turning old devices into repurposes projects.
Recycling electronics (safely) is one of the best ways to help reduce pollution and prevent e-waste from ending up in landfills. In fact, many electronics recycling centers will repurpose old electronics and materials into new products and put them on the market. This can help reduce the energy used in new manufacturing.
Here are the most common electronics you can recycle for free:
- Desktop computers
- TV and computer monitors
- Portable DVD players
- Ink and toner cartridges
- Cell phones
To find an electronics recycling center near you, visit Google.com or Bing.com.
Near Seattle, Washington, there are over 10 FREE recycling centers in the area.
Donating your old electronics is another responsible option. This allows other people and businesses to use your old devices after you no longer need them. Providing a service to your community feels good!
You can donate old electronics via:
- Community Facebook Groups
- Local donation centers/non-profit organizations
- Posting your gadgets on Nextdoor.com
- World Computer Exchange
- Your local Goodwill
- Computers with Causes
- Cartridges for Kids
- PickUp Please
- Local school district/colleges
- Local religious organizations/institutions
If you have electronics of significant value (or you’d just like to get a bit of a return for your old gear), selling your old electronics might be an option. Of course, this depends on the condition of your gadget, whether there’s a resale value for your device(s), and the amount quoted by the reseller.
At Living Green Technology, we buy back old electronics under certain conditions. We typically accept laptops, desktops, monitors, tablets, servers, barcode scanners, telecom systems, and networking equipment. Contact us to learn more.
Many electronics manufacturers offer their own recycling programs. Companies like HP, Office Depot, and Best Buy accept select items to be recycled. Some will even provide a donation receipt that you can report on your taxes.
Here are some other tech firms that accept electronics donations:
- Amazon often provides gift cards for donated electronics devices, as well as CDs and video games
- Apple offers its GiveBack program, which includes up to $1,530 in gift cards or in-store credit for qualifying products
- Staples has a rewards program that offers money back on donated printer cartridge (some conditions apply)
Landfill (not recommended!)
Throwing your old electronics in the trash should be a last resort. After all, there are many donations and recycling programs that take back most types of old electronics and hardware. Almost all types of electronics can be at least partially recycled.
- Here are the items that should always be recycled:
- Cell phones
- Audio and video equipment
- Power tools
- Appliances (such as microwaves, toasters, and ovens)
Note: In many states, electronics are banned from landfills and are not accepted at hazardous waste collection sites.
However, if your old electronic is not eligible for recycling, cannot be repurposed, and is in too poor of a condition to be resold or donated, then you might have to dispose of your old devices for good.
Read more about what e-waste is and why it matters for our environment and communities.
Electronic Recycling Laws by State
As stated above, many states have banned electronic waste completely and have enacted laws to ensure the safe recycling of these products.
25 states have launched their own electronics recycling programs, all of which are free (under most circumstances). Some costs may apply for businesses and corporations.
There are the states’ statute citations and links to their recycling programs:
|State||Statute Citation||Year Enacted||State Program Website|
|California||Cal. Public Resources Code §§42460 to 42486||2003||Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003|
|Connecticut||Conn. Gen. Stat. §§22a-629 to 22a-640||2007||Connecticut’s Electronics Recycling Law|
|Hawaii||Hawaii Rev. Stat. §§339d-2 to 339d-6||2008||Electronic Device and Television Recycling Law|
|Illinois||Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 415, §§150/1 to 150/999||2008||Electronic Waste Recycling|
|Indiana||Ind. Code §§13-20.5-1-1 to 13-20.5-10-2||2009||Electronic Waste|
|Maine||Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 38, §1610||2004||Electronics Recycling|
|Maryland||Md. Environment Code Ann. §§9-1727 to 9-1730||2005||e-Cycling in MD|
|Michigan||Mich. Comp. Laws §§324.17301 to 324.17333||2008||Electronic Waste Takeback Program|
|Minnesota||Minn. Stat. §§115a.1310 to 115a.1330||2007||Minnesota’s Electronic Recycling Act|
|Missouri||Mo. Rev. Stat. §§260.1050 to 260.1101||2008||Electronic Waste|
|New Jersey||N.J. Rev. Stat. §§13:1E-99.94 to 13:1E-99.114||2008||E-Cycle New Jersey|
|New York||N.Y. Environmental Conservation Law §§27-2601 to 27-2621||2010||E-Waste Recycling|
|North Carolina||N.C. Gen. Stat. §§130A-309.130 to 130A-309.141||2007||North Carolina Electronics Management Program|
|Oklahoma||Okla. Stat. tit. 27A, §§2-11-601 to 2-11-611||2008||E-Waste Information|
|Oregon||Or. Rev. Stat. §§459a.300 to 459a.365||2007||Electronics Waste|
|Pennsylvania||Pa. Cons. Stat. tit. 35, §§6031.101 to 6031.702||2010||Electronic Recycling Management Program|
|Rhode Island||R.I. Gen. Laws §§23-24.10-1 to 23-24.10-17||2008||Electronic Waste|
|South Carolina||S.C. Code Ann. §§48-60-05 to 48-60-150||2010||Electronics|
|Texas||Tex. Health and Safety Code Ann. §§361.951 to 361.966||2007||Electronics Recycling and Waste Reduction|
|Utah||Utah Code Ann. §§19-6-1201 to 19-6-1205||2011||None Found|
|Vermont||Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 10, §§7551 to 7564||2010||Vermont e-Cycles|
|Virginia||Va. Code §§10.1-1425.27 to 10.1-1425.38||2008||Virginia’s Computer Recovery and Recycling Act|
|Washington||Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§70.95n.010 to 70.95n.902||2006||E-Cycle Washington|
|West Virginia||W.Va. Code §§22-15A-22 to 22-15A-28||2008||E-Waste West Virginia|
|Wisconsin||Wis. Stat. §287.17||2009||E-Cycle Wisconsin|
We’ll Help You Get Rid of Old Electronics
When it’s time to get rid of old electronics, don’t toss them in the trash. Instead, refer to the safe options above in order to dispose of your old gadgets responsibly (and even earn a buck back!)
The safe donation, recycling, or repurposing of old electronics helps save the planet. Not only does this help prevent e-waste, but it keeps hazardous materials from ending up in our water supply, around our kids, and around our pets.
At Living Green Technology, our goal is to connect Seattle residents with the various options they have in disposing of old electronics. Visit our Services page to connect with us or read our blog for more helpful tips.