How to Recycle Electronic Devices

Last updated on November 9, 2020

Do you have many old electronic devices at home? Do you store them away in your garage or basement? Here’s how to recycle electronic devices properly.

Do you know how to recycle electronic devices? Well, most people don’t, really. That’s why there are usually many devices lying around in their houses, and people end up not using them very often, just watching the pile grow.

This is why it’s important for everyone to learn how to recycle electronic devices but do it safely because of the wide array of chemicals and dangerous components found inside a laptop or cellphone, which can be very dangerous to the environment. Not just that, but if these devices are not recycled correctly, they will sit in a landfill for years upon years. That fact can be very hazardous to the environment, even if people might think that ‘it’s just one cellphone’ or ‘it’s just a couple of batteries’ as it can make a difference over time.

People know the importance of minimizing electronic waste and why it’s an important issue in our world today. However, many find themselves confused about what they should do with their old gadgets and computers. The good news is that there are a plethora of resources available where you can read about recycling electronics correctly. 

So, how can people be more responsible and recycle the proper way? Here are a few tips.

What's Inside?

Do Your Research

online research

The first thing you’ll need to do is look online and find a good site with all the information you’ll need to start recycling your electronics. There are a ton of different sites out there that offer various approaches on recycling, so make sure you look around carefully. There are also many websites out there that can help you learn how to recycle these devices yourself. With the appropriate research, you will likely discover where you can take your devices, and how they are safely disposed of without affecting the environment. 

During your research phase, it might be worthwhile to check out sites such as enviroinc that can give you ample information on how to live a greener life. You will learn more about the recycling process itself and find out what materials are best to recycle. You can use this information as a starting point in your own personal project to save money and resources in the future. Not only will this information help you learn how to recycle, but you will be able to recycle more effectively because of it.

Find an E-Recycler

electronic recycle

If your device is damaged or the battery is dead, it’s time to consider recycling. This is an ideal way of saving money and keeping the environment clean at the same time. However, many people will not do this as they feel that the items will just end up in a landfill somewhere. The fact of the matter is that many people are recycling these devices and they are finding that they could save money in the long run.

In order to recycle electronic devices, it’s crucial to know what type of equipment you have. You need to know how much you use your computer on a daily basis. After you have determined this, it’s time to choose the device that can go into the recycling process. The next step is to check with the company that you are going to recycle with, as some companies will offer you the services for free while others may charge you certain fees for this service. 

After you have taken the steps above on how to recycle electronic devices, you are now ready to set up an appointment to take your old devices to be recycled. If your old device has no preinstalled battery, it will be great because you will not have to worry about this aspect. Once the equipment has been taken out of the recycling bin, it will be carefully inspected by the experts and will be put into a temporary storage area until it’s time for it to be taken through the recycling process.

However, if you do contact an e-recycler, you want to make sure this is a reputable source to ensure your electronics do not end up in the wrong hands. If this is a major concern of yours, then you may want to wipe out all the information off the devices before you drop it off, as this will likely protect your information. 

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Drop Off at a Retailer

electronics drop off

If you’re unable to contact an e-recycler, or they are unable to take the devices due to some sort of complication, then it’s possible to drop your devices off at a retailer. Typically, some tech retailers that offer this service can be found online. These retailers will have a drop off zone. They would also promote a dropping off protocol, typically using a container with a lid, where you can simply drop the device off, seal it inside, hand it over, and walk away. This option doesn’t require an appointment and it can be done in your own time, which is easier for your schedule.

Certain big-name consumer electronics retailers in major cities and neighborhoods offer such services where you can drop off an old device to have it recycled regardless of where you bought it. Some tech firms even offer gift cards for your device when you turn them in. So, it may take a little research to find the best route to take, but there are a number of resources available to help you recycle your old devices.

Usually, these big-brand retailers have a scheduled pick-up schedule where a recycle facility worker arrives at your house and picks up the recycled devices every week. Then, these devices will be taken to their facility where they are disposed of safely and correctly, which will reduce waste. Much like with the above, before dropping off your pre-loved gadgets at one of these locations, you might want to wipe out all the information in it. The storage units for these recycled devices may not be theft-proof, so this is the best way to protect yourself against the dangers of a data breach and identity theft.

Manufacturer Services

recycle button

Sometimes, the manufacturer of the gadgets you own offers a service where you can send in the device and they will take care of the process for you. Some tech brand giants will even provide a shipping label based on the type of device you are recycling. If you believe this to be a viable option, then it would be best to contact the device manufacturer’s toll-free hotline and see if they do offer this service, and if so, how it can be arranged. If you’re looking to dispatch a phone, some smartphone providers even offer a service where you can drop off the device at one of their stores, and they will take the device for you. These services can be in your return policy as well, so it might be worth checking your receipts and manuals to see what’s available regarding your purchase.

Note that it might be advisable to go ahead and wipe the information on your devices yourself, as this process is one of the safer ways you can recycle. Your manufacturer could indeed offer similar services that wipe out the device data anyway, but it’s best not to let strangers do this for you, especially if you have sensitive data stored in it.

old tv

If your devices still function and you’re simply looking for ways to get rid of them since you have no use for them anymore, then it might be a good idea to pay it forward. It’s possible to recycle a device by donating it to a charity, a group, or an organization that takes old gadgets and upcycles them, in a way. What they do is take the device, refurbish it if possible, and give it to someone who can’t afford a new device or donate them to their constituents in less affluent scenarios. This might not be the usual sense of recycling, but paying it forward can be quite rewarding, considering that device can help someone get a job, contact a loved one, or help them in more ways than one can imagine.

There are many organizations or private groups that could teach you how to donate a device. They can not only give you the information on how to facilitate such donations, but they can also help get it into the hands of someone in need. 

If donating a functioning device interests you, it’s possible to contact a local charity and see if this is an option, then figure out if they have a nearby drop-off zone or if you should take the device directly to the organization. Again, before giving your gadgets away, you would want to ensure you have wiped out all the information on the device to protect yourself and your identity.

The Takeaway

Overall, if you do recycle your old devices correctly, then you are doing more to help humanity, the environment, and the ecosystem as a whole. It doesn’t matter whether you do this using an e-recycler or donating a functioning device to someone in need. What matters is that you’re contributing to the lessening of the growing e-waste on the planet.

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