Gifted a new phone or computer? Old electronics should not go in the trash, but there are a lot of easy ways to reuse, recycle, or donate them.
Did you finally replace your old cellphone (with the cracked screen and 30-minute battery life) this holiday season? Don’t let it, or any of your other old electronics, collect dust in the closet when there are lots of quick and easy ways to reuse or recycle them.
While electronics are made of valuable metals and materials that can be recycled, they also contain toxic chemicals that should not end up in landfills. Consider two options for their next life: repair/donation or recycling.
First, consider repairing or donating your device.
As great as recycling is, even better is figuring out how to give old products new life. Before you get rid of your old TV, computer, or other electronic device, you can check out a website like ifixit.com for tips on how to upgrade or repair it. If your device is working and in good condition, someone else may be able to use it. Tips for donating your electronics:
- Where Can I Donate or Recycle My Old Computer and Other Electronic Products?
The Environmental Protection Agency's resource page for reuse destinations.
- Donate a Computer to a Community Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher
Search for participants in the Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher program, which provides operating system software for refurbished computers.
- Check out computer reuse ideas from Earth911
Rather recycle your old device?
You’re probably not going to use that 20-year old beeper even if you can repair it. E-Cycle Washington allows residents to recycle their electronics for free by dropping them off at an authorized E-Cycle Washington collection site. To date, the E-Cycle WA Program has collected 422,766,648 pounds of electronics!
Check out this list of common electronics and what to know before you recycle them:
- Cellphones and other Smart Devices—Some cellphone providers, like T-Mobile, offer trade-in, buy-back, and recycling programs for old cellphones. Find the full list of companies that will recycle your cellphone or smart device. Remember to delete all personal information before recycling.
- Computers and Laptops–Recycle for free at all E-Cycle WA locations. HP and Dell also offer free drop-off locations for computers and laptops. Remember to delete all personal information before recycling.
- Computer Accessories—The E-Cycle WA Program does not recycle these items, but stores like Best Buy and Staples will recycle keyboards, printers, and toner cartridges at no charge.
- Televisions—Most E-Cycle WA locations will recycle old TVs. Call ahead to ask about badly damaged TVs before heading to a drop off center.
- Video Game Consoles—Several drop-off locations will recycle your old video game console for a small fee. Visit 1800.recycle.wa.gov to check locations available for drop-off.