Tag Archives: Staples

How and Where to Recycle Cell Phones and Laptops

Suppose you’re one of the millions of Americans who purchased or were gifted electronics over the holidays. In that case, you may be wondering how to best dispose of or recycle your old devices. We all have a drawer crammed with old phones, chargers, cables to a VCR you haven’t used in years, and accessories for devices you stopped using years ago. 

There’s a right way and a wrong way – well, many wrong ways – to dispose of electronics. Before we get into that, let me remind you to ensure you’ve wiped the device of any personal information before you toss it. All it takes is a charger for a bad actor to access any data you’ve left on your device before disposing of it. The best way is to back everything up then do a factory reset. 

The EPA has a list of Certified Electronics Recyclers to ensure the site you’ve chosen is reputable and not going to dump your device in a landfill. 

Did you know batteries fall into the same category as used electronics? Don’t throw them in the trash once they’re spent. Instead, collect them in an old shoebox or another container, then take them to Best Buy, Whole FoodsHome DepotLowes, or Staples, each of whom has free drop-off spots for dead batteries. Earth 911 is an eco-friendly resource for recycling, and they will help you locate the nearest recycling location based on the type of battery you need to dispose of (e.g., alkaline, lithium, zinc-air).

Old cell phones – depending on how old – can often be traded in against a new device’s price. If it’s too outdated, wipe it, then choose from one of these options:

  • Best Buy accepts three phones per household per day,
  • Lowes has recyclables collection centers at stores across the U.S.
  • Staples accepts mobile phones along with many other electronics.  
  • Home Depot accepts phones up to 11 pounds.
  • Whole Foods, Navy Federal Credit Union, and ShopRite partner with Secure the Call to get 911 emergency-only phones to senior citizens and individuals in domestic violence shelters. Check local listings for participating stores or send your phone directly to Secure the Call
  • Cell Phones for Soldiers accepts used phones enabling troops to call their families at home for free.

When it comes to laptops, there several options. Earth911 allows you to search for “laptop computer,” enter your ZIP code, and it will pull up a list of the nearest drop off-sites. If the device is older or broken, Dell’s Goodwill Reconnect Program is a good option. If it’s less than five years old, there’s a good chance someone can use it. Many local nonprofits and libraries accept used laptops after refurbishing; just remember to bring the software and accessories that came with them (charger, mouse, printer).  

Happy recycling! 

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.

Give the Gift of Streaming

By Tracey Dowdy

Though there has been much progress on getting a vaccine approved to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the CDC warns we’ll still be wearing masks and social distancing for the next few months. Once approved, the goal is to have all those who choose to be vaccinated receive the vaccine by the end of 2021.

That means that for the foreseeable future, we’ll continue to spend time at home, and with the colder months upon us, we’ll be indoors. That means finding ways to entertain ourselves and stave off cabin fever. And, with the holidays just around the corner, this year’s most popular gift may be the gift of a streaming service. 

Not only can it help keep your quarantine team entertained, but you can also share with extended family and friends, near or far, through features and extensions like Teleparty (formerly called Netflix Party), Disney Plus GroupWatch, and Amazon Prime Video Watch Party.

Here are a few options:

Disney Plus allows you to gift a one-year subscription for $70 (it usually costs $7 a month, saving you $14 over a year). When the subscription is up, the recipient will have the option to add their payment details and continue subscribing. Go to Disney Plus to purchase a subscription, enter the recipient’s email address (must be a U.S. resident, new subscriber, or willing to create a new account), choose a delivery date, and write a personal message. On the date you’ve chosen, they’ll get an email with instructions on how to redeem their gift subscription. All Disney Plus subscriptions include Disney Plus GroupWatch, which syncs your streams so you can watch any title on Disney+ with your personal friends and family virtually through the app. 

Though You do not need to have an Amazon Prime membership to use Prime Video, it can’t be gifted as a stand-alone service. It is bundled with an Amazon Prime membership ($119 a year or $13 a month), bringing plenty of perks besides streaming. To gift someone a Prime subscription, go to Amazon.com/giftprime. Login to your account and choose either the one-year or three-month option. At checkout, you’ll enter the recipient’s email, the date you want it delivered, and be able to write a personal note.

To gift a Netflix subscription, you’ll need to purchase a gift card online through AmazonWalmartBest BuyTargetNewEgg, or Kroger. You can buy in-store at Walmart, Target, Best Buy, CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, 7-Eleven, Dollar General, and Safeway. Gift card values range from $25 to $200, and Netflix subscriptions range from $9 to $18 a month, depending on the number of screens you choose to stream at the same time and if you want HD. The recipient can use the gift card for new or current subscriptions with the card’s value applied as a gift balance. Netflix notifies account holders when the balance is running out. The subscription includes Teleparty, which synchronizes video playback and adds a group chat feature to Netflix, Disney, Hulu, and HBO (subscriptions to each required for all participants).

Hulu also offers gift cards ranging from $25 to $100 that you can purchase online or in-person (TargetWalmartBest BuyKroger, and Paypal. A subscription to Hulu costs $6 a month with ads, $12 a month to go ad-free, or $55 a month for Hulu Plus Live TV. The recipient can redeem their gift card through their Account page on the app or website. If they are a new subscriber, they’ll need to update their payment details after the gift card balance is up, or Hulu will cancel the account.

 Video streaming isn’t the only game in town. Spotify is a great option for the music or podcast fan in your life with a Spotify Premium individual plan costing $10 a month. You can buy eGift cards online at TargetNewEggKroger, and PayPal or purchase physical cards online at Amazon or Best Buy, or in-store at Walmart, Target, Staples, CVS, 7 Eleven, Kroger, and Simon Malls. Choose from $10, $30, $60 or $99. Note, gift cards can be used only for Premium Individual plans — you can’t use them for Premium Student, Premium Family, Premium Duo, or trial offers. 

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.