What To Do With Your Old Tech

By Tracey Dowdy

If you have given or received devices and gadgets this Christmas, you might be wondering what to do with the tech that they’re replacing.

I’m glad you asked. The EPA has initiatives to work with governments and environmental officials on e-waste management, and there are countless ways we as consumers can ensure technology is safely and appropriately disposed of and kept out of landfills. According to data from the EPA, electronic waste is one of our biggest environmental issues, comprising more than 2 million tons of our total waste. Data from 2014 shows we disposed of nearly 42 million tons of e-waste, according to a United Nations report yet only 10 to 40 percent of it was discarded properly.

This list of resources can help you decide where and how to recycle or up-cycle your no-longer-needed tech.


No matter how old, most devices with a battery or plug can be recycled. There are a number of non-profit organizations and local communities that offer options.

  • Call2Recycle has drop-off sites for rechargeable batteries and cell phones all over the U.S. To find a location, go to org and enter your ZIP code.
  • TIA E-cycling Central lists electronic collection days in your area – just click on the map for an upcoming event.
  • eStewards lets you search by zip code for a recycling, refurbishing, or consumer drop-off site in your area.
  • Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI) lets you search by filters or browse their interactive map to find participating recycling and refurbishing facilities in your area.
  • Best Buy offers recycling options for your electronics (and more), no matter where you bought them.


Another excellent option to consider is donating your electronics to charity.

  • Verizon collects new and used mobile phones, batteries, chargers and accessories in any condition, from any service provider through their HopeLine program which benefits victims and survivors of domestic violence. Drop off devices and accessories in any Verizon retail location or request your prepaid mailinglabel and drop it in the mail.
  • Amazon accepts trade-ins of used games, phones, tablets, smart watches, Kindle readers and eBooks and pays you in Amazon gift cards whether they were purchased through Amazon or not. The condition of the items determines the value of the rebate.
  • Dell Reconnect partners with Goodwill to accept any brand of computer and computer accessories. Drop off used devices off at participating Goodwill locations around the country.
  • The World Computer Exchange promotes the reuse of and proper recycling of electronics and close the gap on the digital divide in developing countries. As part of its mission, they accept and then distributes used computers, accessories, and other electronic devices to communities around the world.
  • eBay isn’t just for making a little extra money from cleaning out the closet or garage. eBay for Charitylets you sell your unwanted devices – or anything else you’re purging – and donate all (or a portion) of the sale to a charity of your choice.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. For even more options on what to do with those unwanted items, check out this list from The Balance.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.


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