How to Sell or Donate Old Electronics

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Hazardous E-Waste Recycling. Household electrical and scrapped electronic devices in recycle box.
Yekatseryna Netuk /

Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on Living on the Cheap.

Have you recently upgraded your mobile phone, computer or other electronic device, but your old gadget is still sitting in your house gathering dust?

It’s good that your old electronics are not in a landfill, but you can get them out of your house while still reducing your e-waste.

If you want to get that old TV or tablet out of your house, while making money or helping someone in need, follow these tips for disposing of your unwanted electronics.

1. Sell your old devices

Assorted electronics including a laptop, tablet, headphones, mouse, cell phone, remote, keyboard
Veja /

Websites such as Gazelle buy old devices and even pay the postage to have them shipped.

To take advantage, you typically answer a few short questions about your product (Apple iPhones, iPads and Android devices are especially popular) and describe its condition. The company may then offer you a quote to buy it.

If it’s a deal you like, you can send the device to the company. After the item is received and inspected, payment is released.

Another option for selling your electronics is to try a marketplace such as eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or a local Nextdoor group. Make sure you read each site’s policies about buying and selling an item, and try to ensure that you’re only dealing with legitimate buyers.

Always be sure you follow the manufacturer’s directions for erasing the device’s memory. You certainly don’t want a third party to have access to any personal information that was stored.

2. Trade them in for credit

Smiling man sitting down to read an ebook
Aruta Images /

Old cellphones can often be returned to your provider for a credit on your bill or against a new phone.

Companies such as Apple have trade-in programs that let you turn in your old devices for credit toward a newer model. Definitely check on these credit options before upgrading to a new device.

Amazon also offers a trade-in store. You can trade in items such as Kindle e-readers, tablets, bluetooth speakers, video game systems, cellphones and more, and get an Amazon gift card in return.

3. Donate electronics to charity

Hands holding headphones and placing electronics in a box including old tablets and phones for donation
Veja /

Nonprofits such as Goodwill may accept used computers, phones, printers and other devices and find new homes for them.

Some charities can accept a donation at any time, while others may have specific days on which they accept electronics. Check with your local center for details.

If you have a cellphone to donate, several charitable organizations will accept donations of cellphones. Some national organizations include the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, SecondWave Recycling and Medic Mobile.

Check with your favorite local charities, too. Many have special programs that accept electronic products that benefit your community.

If for some reason there’s no local charity around to accept your device, consider offering it on Freecycle or in a Buy Nothing group.

4. Reuse them

Child in costume with cellphone
Photobac /

If you have an old smart phone and Wi-Fi service at your home, you could use your device to surf the internet when you’re not traveling. It’ll conserve the battery on your actual phone for when you leave the house.

An old computer tablet that uses your home Wi-Fi could become a portable device that plays your favorite music or video streaming service, a free portable MP3 and movie player for your kids, or a game center for your favorite games apps.

In addition, apps for your smartphone can let you make Wi-Fi calls and texts without the need for a data plan.

Plus, don’t discount the appeal of old electronics as playthings for your children. Old cordless or flip phones and computer keyboards are especially entertaining to little kids.

5. Recycle old electronics

Recycle computer /

Stores like Staples and Best Buy will recycle your working and broken electronics to reuse the various components and materials.

Some companies will charge you to recycle and safely dispose of your gadgets and devices, while others have free programs. Check around to see who handles television and computer recycling near you.

Make sure you read the fine print about which devices are accepted for recycling and any associated fees, and always wipe your hard drives clean before bringing the items in to be repurposed.

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