I always have a hard time parting with my old electronics. Whether it’s a cellphone, laptop or point-and-shoot camera, it’s hard to forget that at one time they were all valuable items. But keeping broken or outdated technology around doesn’t do any good. Luckily, we have plenty of options for recycling or getting cash for these items.
If you’re trying to make a little money off of your electronics purge, you have a choice of credible sites. Amazon, Craigslist and eBay give you the most freedom to name your own price, but there’s no guarantee someone will buy your product. Other services give you a quote on the value of devices and buy them from you.
A website called Gazelle will make you an offer on your old cellphone or Apple product. The site accepts various smartphones, as well as iPhones, iPads, iPods, Macbooks and Macs. It’s quick and easy to get a quote through Gazelle, and if you accept the price it has named, the site will send you a box to cover the shipping for your device. If the product is in the condition you described during the quote process — anywhere from broken to flawless — you’ll receive your payment in the form of a check, Amazon gift card or PayPal credit within three to five days.
If you’re an avid Target shopper, you might consider using NextWorth. This site buys a wide variety of products including iPhones, iPads, iPods, various smartphones, cameras, tablets, e-readers, calculators, select DVDs and Blu-Ray discs, video games, and video game consoles. These items will be accepted in various conditions, even if they’re broken. NextWorth has a partnership with Target, so you can take your items to the Roanoke or Christiansburg Target locations to get a quote and drop it off. You also can get a quote online and mail your items into the site with a prepaid shipping label. After they inspect the item, you’ll receive a payment in the form of a Target gift card, check or PayPal credit within 10 days.
BuyMyTronics.com also accepts a huge variety of electronics, broken or brand-new. Cellphones, iPhones, iPads, iPods, tablets, digital cameras, video game consoles, e-readers, wireless air cards, MP3 players, PDAs, Macbooks, Apple accessories, GPS devices, camcorders, camera lenses, Macs and Apple displays (such as the Apple Cinema) all are accepted. BuyMyTronics.com provides an online quote and then gives sellers the option to download a shipping label or wait for the site to send a shipping kit. Then, usually within a week, you will receive a payment via check or PayPal.
Multiple other services available will buy your old electronics, but it’s important to make sure they’re trustworthy. Most sites will routinely remove any personal information from devices, though I’d recommend returning everything to the factory settings before sending it away. Also check to see whether it’s necessary to send any accessories, such as charging cables, with your device.
Some stores and name brands offer trade-in or buyback services, which allow you to bring your old device in and have the value applied to a new, up-to-date product. Best Buy and Walmart both offer this service and pay in store credit. If you have participated in Best Buy’s buyback program in the past, you can can use it, but they are not accepting new customers at this time.
These programs are convenient, but Consumer Reports found the payouts to be less than other options. It’s best to shop around and see what service can benefit you most.
If you have electronics that are too old to sell, it’s important to recycle them instead of tossing them in the trash.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “Electronic products are made from valuable resources and materials, including metals, plastics, and glass, all of which require energy to mine and manufacture. Donating or recycling consumer electronics conserves our natural resources and avoids air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by manufacturing virgin materials.”
The EPA’s website has some valuable tips about recycling electronic devices. It also links to several other resources that keep track of recycling drop-off locations and events. It also includes a reminder to remove any batteries from devices. Batteries should be recycled separately.
One shocking figure noted on the website: “For every million cell phones we recycle, 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.”
How’s that for an inspiration to let go of that flip-phone from 1999?
Many cellphone retailers such as Verizon, AT&T and Sprint accept phones for recycling in their stores or at authorized dealers. Additionally, brands such as Samsung and Dell, which has a partnership with Goodwill, have drop-off locations that accept multiple electronic devices.
Some retailers offer to recycle old products for a fee, but there are so many alternatives that I wouldn’t recommend paying anyone. Goodwill, FreeCycle, The Salvation Army, the National Cristina Foundation and Recycling for Charities are all free options that accept old electronics.
How do you prefer to get rid of old electronics? What services do you like or dislike?