Electronics that are thrown out, or e-waste, can be harmful to our environment and health. It’s estimated that consumers threw away 92 billion pounds of used electronics last year, an increase from 87.7 billion pounds the previous year, according to a report by United Nations University.
So what are you supposed to do with your old laptop when you get a new one for the holidays? There are couple different options for where and how to recycle your laptop.
Just be sure you erase all the data on your hard drive before you hand over your laptop. And by “erase all the data,” we don’t mean dragging all the files to your trash. There are a couple different ways to wipe your hard drive, but you can follow Apple’s directions on how to prepare your Macbook here and Microsoft’s directions here.
Amazon Trade-In Program
Amazon’s Trade-In Program gives customers an Amazon gift card in exchange for different items, including phones, electronics, video games, books, DVDs and CDs. The company will provide you with a free shipping label, so all you have to do is pack your unwanted items and mail it out.
On Best Buy’s website, you can find a state-by-state list of all the items the store will take off your hands. You can also read state-specific recycling information. It’s a free service, aside from scheduled in-home pickups. For smaller items, you can drop them off in a kiosk near the store’s door. You can take larger products to customer service. You can schedule a pickup from your house for free if you’re buying a new product. If you’re not getting a new product, they’ll pick it up for a small fee.
At Staples, you can get an eCash Card when you trade in your old technology in-store or online. They’ll inspect your device, and you’ll get a quote for how much it’s worth. If you’re doing it online, you can ship it to them for free. Then you’ll receive an eCash Card that you can use on anything in the store or online.
Gazelle buys and sells used electronics. Just check if the item is on the website — if it’s not, then Gazelle doesn’t accept it. You’ll detail what condition your item is in, and the website will give you an offer. You can select how you’d like to get paid: check, PayPal or Amazon.com gift card. Shipping is free, and Gazelle will send you a box for qualified orders.
Depending on where you live, your state might have an electronics recycling program, which you can find out through a quick Google search. The website for your state’s department of sanitation might outline any drop-off locations you have access to or ways you can arrange for a collection of your items. You can also stop by recycling events in your area, like New York’s SAFE Disposal event. Reminder: double-check any fines you might receive if you don’t dispose of electronics properly.
A lot of brands offer free mail-back options. Check the brand’s website to see if they have a recycling program for items you no longer want. For example, Apple’s Reuse and Recycling Program takes back a variety of products, even PCs. If it qualifies for reuse, you’ll get an Apple Store gift card. If it doesn’t qualify, Apple will still recycle your stuff for free.
The Salvation Army accepts electronics, and Goodwill accepts electronics other than large, old televisions.