What To Know Before Recycling Electronics

If you are in the process of moving or cleaning out the house, you may feel inclined to just hang on to old unused laptops, cords, and small appliances because you can’t recycle them on the curb. Instead of keeping old electronics or tossing them, considering recycling your unwanted gadgets. If you’re looking to go green with your devices, here’s what to know before recycling electronics.

Most Electronics Are Recycled Differently

Before you can take your unwanted laptops and microwaves to the local electronics store for recycling, you should know that the recycling process for most electronics is different. If you are looking to recycle as much as possible in one trip, big-box electronics retailers take a variety of recyclables and often have buyback programs to incentivize recycling. If you’re recycling locally, know that your recycling center may not accept printers or specific battery-operated items, but they might have room for larger appliances. Some electronics contain hazardous chemicals, so consider all options for getting rid of items like TVs without pitching them.

Removing Data Means More Than Deleting Files

For those looking to recycle personal devices like laptops, tablets, or phones, there may be concerns about privacy and data security, especially with drop-off centers. If you have private photos, bank account information, or addresses saved into a device, do the following to ensure that no one can retrieve and steal your data once you put your device out for recycling:

  • Back up all your data onto a USB drive or online backup service
  • Remove any SD cards or storage devices
  • Encrypt data and files, if possible
  • Perform a factory reset on your device

Some electronics stores or recycling centers will perform these actions for you, but it’s best to erase as much data as possible before giving up your device.

Cords and Chargers Are Fair Game

As you clean out unused electronics in your home, don’t forget the box of cords and mystery chargers that many of us hang on to! Cords, chargers, and connecting cables are all recyclable. Facilities can process these e-waste items by stripping insulation and recovering any metal inside. You can also resell chargers or cords that still function online or to buyback programs, if available.

The last thing to know before recycling electronics is that you should consider all your recycling options. If you’re hoping to make money recycling your items, consider any selling, trading, or buyback options available to you. On the other hand, you may need to pay to recycle items that are especially difficult or dangerous to handle, so recycling is unlikely to bring much money in. No matter how you repurpose, recycle, or resell your gadgets, preventing e-waste from ending up in the landfill is the best possible outcome.

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Written by Logan Voss

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