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Out with the Old, In with the New: How to Recycle Old Electronics

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Did Santa bring you the latest and greatest robot vacuum? Did your kids get an upgrade to their old Mac? Wonderful right? But what to do with that outdated, defunct or altogether dysfunctional consumer good?

Well, you can’t just toss it in the trash because, unfortunately, electronics products can also contain toxic substances – such as lead, mercury, and cadmium – so they must be disposed of carefully. You should make sure to completely erase all personal information on devices that store data. A Google search for the exact device you are looking to recycle should point you in the right direction to remove personal and sensitive information. We’ll leave that task up to you – today’s tips are focused on helping you find ways and locations to responsibly dispose of unwanted electronics .

If you’re looking for the easiest place to properly and socially responsibly dispose of those old consumer goods, look no further than your nearest Best Buy. You heard it here: Best Buy offers one of the most comprehensive consumer goods and electronics recycling programs in all the land! The retailer proudly claims to recycle more electronics (and appliances)  than any other retailer. It’s as easy as walking in and dropping them off at the Customer Service desk.

You may consider trading in, or up, devices that are still functional. Some programs pay you back with credit or a gift card. Best Buy offers a trade-in program. But who wants to walk into a retail store these days? You may consider a program that offers mail-in options, such as Amazon’s trade-in program. Amazon credits your Amazon account up to $200 for just about any kind of electronics device, as well as for music CDs and video games. Not to be left out of the recycling game, Apple also offers a trade-in program.

Goodwill is also interested in your old tech items. Goodwill partners with Dell’s “Reconnect” program that takes in electronics. You can bring computers and peripherals to any participating Goodwill collection location in exchange for a tax-deductible receipt. Learn more about this free and fabulous program.

Before throwing those old cell phones in the pile, be sure to check each manufacturer’s or service provider’s website. Many cell phone service providers offer account credits of up to $300 for mobile phones from any carrier. You can also look at Call2Recyclye for drop-off options on cell phones and batteries.

Finally, many local municipalities offer collection days for electronics. TIA E-cycling offers a clickable map and lists of events by state, along with other local recycling options. For even more options and ideas visit this helpful page from Consumer Electronics.

Now go forth and responsibly recycle!

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