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Written by Living Green Technology
on October 19, 2022

What to Do with Old Electronics

Electronic devices like smartphones, TVs, tablets, and laptops provide endless entertainment and help us stay connected. And it’s no secret that we can get a bit attached to our technology – research shows that over 97% of Americans own a cellphone!

Tech companies keep us on our toes with the latest gizmos and gadgets – and technology quickly becomes outdated or obsolete. What’s one to do with old electronics without contributing to the pile-up of e-waste?

Fortunately, you have options. Here are a few responsible tactics for getting rid of unwanted laptops, TVs, phones, and more.

What can you do with old electronics?

When your electronic device reaches the end of its usable life, you might be tempted to toss it in the garbage. But wait! There are several more safe and effective ways for disposing of old devices without hurting the planet.

Repurpose

DIY enthusiasts are finding new ways to turn old tech into new products and projects. From transforming an old computer into a terrarium to creating art with DVD players, there are many interesting ways to repurpose your old devices.

If you’re handy with gadgets, you can turn old electronics into something completely new and functional. Or, venture over to websites like Pinterest.com for craft and art ideas. There are even Facebook groups that share tips, DIY kits, and support in turning old devices into repurposes projects.

Recycle

Recycling electronics (safely) is one of the best ways to help reduce pollution and prevent e-waste from ending up in landfills. In fact, many electronics recycling centers will repurpose old electronics and materials into new products and put them on the market. This can help reduce the energy used in new manufacturing.

Here are the most common electronics you can recycle for free:

  • Desktop computers
  • Laptops
  • TV and computer monitors
  • Tablets
  • E-readers
  • Portable DVD players
  • Keyboards
  • Printers
  • Ink and toner cartridges
  • Cell phones

To find an electronics recycling center near you, visit Google.com or Bing.com. 

Near Seattle, Washington, there are over 10 FREE recycling centers in the area.

Donate

Donating your old electronics is another responsible option. This allows other people and businesses to use your old devices after you no longer need them. Providing a service to your community feels good!

You can donate old electronics via:

Sell

If you have electronics of significant value (or you’d just like to get a bit of a return for your old gear), selling your old electronics might be an option. Of course, this depends on the condition of your gadget, whether there’s a resale value for your device(s), and the amount quoted by the reseller.

At Living Green Technology, we buy back old electronics under certain conditions. We typically accept laptops, desktops, monitors, tablets, servers, barcode scanners, telecom systems, and networking equipment. Contact us to learn more.

Tech firm

Many electronics manufacturers offer their own recycling programs. Companies like HP, Office Depot, and Best Buy accept select items to be recycled. Some will even provide a donation receipt that you can report on your taxes. 

Here are some other tech firms that accept electronics donations:

  • Amazon often provides gift cards for donated electronics devices, as well as CDs and video games
  • Apple offers its GiveBack program, which includes up to $1,530 in gift cards or in-store credit for qualifying products 
  • Staples has a rewards program that offers money back on donated printer cartridge (some conditions apply)

Landfill (not recommended!)

Throwing your old electronics in the trash should be a last resort. After all, there are many donations and recycling programs that take back most types of old electronics and hardware. Almost all types of electronics can be at least partially recycled.

  • Here are the items that should always be recycled:
  • Cell phones
  • Computers
  • Tablets
  • Printers
  • Scanners
  • Televisions
  • Cameras
  • Audio and video equipment
  • Power tools
  • Lamps 
  • Appliances (such as microwaves, toasters, and ovens)

Note: In many states, electronics are banned from landfills and are not accepted at hazardous waste collection sites.

However, if your old electronic is not eligible for recycling, cannot be repurposed, and is in too poor of a condition to be resold or donated, then you might have to dispose of your old devices for good. 

Read more about what e-waste is and why it matters for our environment and communities.

Electronic Recycling Laws by State

As stated above, many states have banned electronic waste completely and have enacted laws to ensure the safe recycling of these products.

25 states have launched their own electronics recycling programs, all of which are free (under most circumstances). Some costs may apply for businesses and corporations.

There are the states’ statute citations and links to their recycling programs:

State Statute Citation Year Enacted State Program Website
California Cal. Public Resources Code §§42460 to 42486 2003 Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003
Connecticut Conn. Gen. Stat. §§22a-629 to 22a-640 2007 Connecticut's Electronics Recycling Law
Hawaii Hawaii Rev. Stat. §§339d-2 to 339d-6 2008 Electronic Device and Television Recycling Law
Illinois Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 415, §§150/1 to 150/999 2008 Electronic Waste Recycling
Indiana Ind. Code §§13-20.5-1-1 to 13-20.5-10-2 2009 Electronic Waste
Maine Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 38, §1610 2004 Electronics Recycling
Maryland Md. Environment Code Ann. §§9-1727 to 9-1730 2005 e-Cycling in MD
Michigan Mich. Comp. Laws §§324.17301 to 324.17333 2008 Electronic Waste Takeback Program
Minnesota Minn. Stat. §§115a.1310 to 115a.1330 2007 Minnesota's Electronic Recycling Act
Missouri Mo. Rev. Stat. §§260.1050 to 260.1101 2008 Electronic Waste
New Jersey N.J. Rev. Stat. §§13:1E-99.94 to 13:1E-99.114 2008 E-Cycle New Jersey
New York N.Y. Environmental Conservation Law §§27-2601 to 27-2621 2010 E-Waste Recycling
North Carolina N.C. Gen. Stat. §§130A-309.130 to 130A-309.141 2007 North Carolina Electronics Management Program
Oklahoma Okla. Stat. tit. 27A, §§2-11-601 to 2-11-611 2008 E-Waste Information
Oregon Or. Rev. Stat. §§459a.300 to 459a.365 2007 Electronics Waste
Pennsylvania Pa. Cons. Stat. tit. 35, §§6031.101 to 6031.702 2010 Electronic Recycling Management Program
Rhode Island R.I. Gen. Laws §§23-24.10-1 to 23-24.10-17 2008 Electronic Waste
South Carolina S.C. Code Ann. §§48-60-05 to 48-60-150 2010 Electronics
Texas Tex. Health and Safety Code Ann. §§361.951 to 361.966 2007 Electronics Recycling and Waste Reduction
Utah Utah Code Ann. §§19-6-1201 to 19-6-1205 2011 None Found
Vermont Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 10, §§7551 to 7564 2010 Vermont e-Cycles
Virginia Va. Code §§10.1-1425.27 to 10.1-1425.38 2008 Virginia's Computer Recovery and Recycling Act
Washington Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§70.95n.010 to 70.95n.902 2006 E-Cycle Washington
West Virginia W.Va. Code §§22-15A-22 to 22-15A-28 2008 E-Waste West Virginia
Wisconsin Wis. Stat. §287.17 2009 E-Cycle Wisconsin

 

We’ll Help You Get Rid of Old Electronics

When it’s time to get rid of old electronics, don’t toss them in the trash. Instead, refer to the safe options above in order to dispose of your old gadgets responsibly (and even earn a buck back!)

The safe donation, recycling, or repurposing of old electronics helps save the planet. Not only does this help prevent e-waste, but it keeps hazardous materials from ending up in our water supply, around our kids, and around our pets.

At Living Green Technology, our goal is to connect Seattle residents with the various options they have in disposing of old electronics. Visit our Services page to connect with us or read our blog for more helpful tips.

 

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