Now that the holidays have past and people have gotten used to their new devices, it’s time to consider what to do with the old ones. Tossing old electronics in the trash is terrible for the environment and completely unnecessary because there are much better alternatives for disposing of unwanted devices.
Before doing anything else with an old device be sure your personal information is removed. Once you’re sure it’s cleared, you can choose the best option depending on the condition, age, and potential of the device.
First, you have the option to reuse it. Is there a child or younger sibling who has always wanted your device? What about a less tech-savvy friend who has been asking advice on electronics? Give them your gently used one. Many electronics that get replaced are still in good, working condition and can be re-gifted to someone else. This can give those who are interested but unsure if they actually want a device the option to test it out and see if it’s for them. It could also be used as the designated kid-device if you have children who constantly ask to play games or watch videos. An old phone is a great toy for toddlers, although it’s best to remove the battery because even phones without a calling plan can make an emergency 911 call.
Second, you can repurpose it. Keep an old phone in a vehicle with a car charger so you can call for emergency assistance if there’s ever a need and your regular phone is dead or forgotten. An old tablet can become a digital picture frame: upload pictures or videos, turn on the slideshow, add some velcro to the back and hang it on the wall. There are apps that can be downloaded to turn your old tablet into a remote control. Load an old tablet or phone with songs and keep it in the car as a music player.
Third, you can sell it. Amazon will buy many used devices and pay with Amazon gift cards. Gazelle is a national company that will buy used phones and computers for cash. Other possibilities are eBay, Craigslist, or a local Facebook seller’s page.
Lastly, you can recycle it. If a device is broken beyond repair, old enough that no one else wants it, or just past its usefulness, you have a responsibility to dispose of it properly. Most devices are not safe to simply throw in the trash, due to substances like lead, mercury, and lithium that are used in making the device and its battery. Instead of just tossing it in the trash, give it to one of many places that take old devices and dispose of them. Options include electronic stores like Best Buy, wireless providers, some grocery stores like Whole Foods, even some public libraries have cell phone & small electronics recycling bins. If none of these options are available in your area, a local recycling center can also take old electronics.
Whatever you decide to do, please remember to be responsible when disposing of old devices and don’t simply throw them in the trash.