How To Sustainably Recycle Your Small Electronics

How To Sustainably Recycle Your Small Electronics

Ever wonder what you should do with those old electronics you no longer use? Some of us still have an iPod touch from the mid-2000s but don’t know how to dispose of it appropriately. Electronics should never go into the trash. Instead, sell, donate, trade-in, or recycle the device. Read on to learn more about how to sustainably recycle your small electronics.

Sell the Device

Some of us may have an old tablet stashed away. Although no one in the home uses it, the device remains unused, never seeing the light of day. Rather than letting it waste space, you could sell it.

Before selling a small electronic, inspect it for deep scratches, and ensure it works. If you want to sell an old camera, make sure there are no missing parts or scratches on the lens.

Price the item fairly when you list is online. If you initially paid over $200 for the camera, don’t sell it for the same price. Consider the condition and age of the item. Detach yourself from the device and think about the price you’d believe is fair if you were the shopper.

Selling Tip

If you plan to sell, hop on eBay or Facebook Market Place to see what others sell the same device and model for. Doing so will help you set a fair, competitive price.

Before Mailing Devices

Sending electronics in the mail often has different requirements than other items. Call your local post office to understand how the United States Postal Services requires you to mail electronics. You may need to remove specific parts and add a lithium-ion battery label on the outside of the packaging. Keep in mind that this isn’t possible for most users with particular devices like smartphones.

Donate to Charity

For some people, listing an item, communicating with potential buyers, and sending it out is more work than it’s worth. However, most of us feel wasteful disposing of a working electronic. Donations allow you to avoid those feelings of guilt while helping others.

Many charities accept a wide range of items. Some even focus on home goods and electronic devices. Visit the organization’s website and see if they have an “acceptable items” page listing what they accept. If the charity doesn’t explain what they take, call to verify. This saves you and the organization time by ensuring you only donate the appropriate items.

Tips for Donating

Don’t opt for donating an item solely because it wasn’t good enough to sell. You probably shouldn’t give something to charity if you feel embarrassed about selling it. These organizations don’t want a beat-up or improperly working device. Treat donations the same way you’d handle sellable items.

Project B Green

Are you looking for a local charity to take your small devices? Project B Green offers donation drop-off in Woodbridge, VA for small electronics!

Find Local Recycling Companies

You should never put an electronic in the regular trash or recycle bin. Not only is this illegal, but it’s also harmful to the environment. The metals that comprise the device can take centuries to break down. Additionally, many electronic devices contain lithium-ion batteries, which are hazardous to Earth.

Many electronic devices contain toxic materials such as lead, mercury, and cadmium. Allowing these electronics to decompose in a landfill risks these materials polluting Earth.

Search for local recycling companies that accept small devices. Many take used electronics without charge. Some places of work offer electronic recycling programs annually or seasonally.

Use Buyback Programs

Some manufacturers and stores have buyback programs. If you want to get rid of your small electronics, go to the manufacturer’s website and see if they offer this benefit. Some stores also offer trade-in programs, allowing you to bring in your old device for a discount on a new one.

Retailers such as Best Buy offer buyback. After entering key information on the items, such as condition, type of device, and model, you’ll receive a trade-in amount. Then, you can put this money toward a new device.

Deciding the Best Method

Among the many ways to sustainably recycle small electronics, the perfect option is a matter of opinion. If you want a bit of money, it may be ideal to use buyback programs or sell the device online. However, if you don’t need the cash and the items still work, give them to charity. Lastly, if your small electronics no longer work, then your only option is to recycle them.

Wipe the device’s memory before selling, donating, or using a buyback program. This is especially important if you have a laptop or tablet that may contain important information. Do a factory reset on the electronic to erase its memory.

What’s Considered a Small Electronic?

A small electronic is an entertainment device that’s typically portable. This can include any of the following:

  • Cell phones
  • MP3 players and iPods
  • Tablets
  • Digital cameras
  • Mini projectors

Many of us have some of these items at home and don’t know what to do with them. Rather, many didn’t know until now. You can donate, sell, trade-in, or recycle those unwanted devices.

Why Recycling Small Electronics Matters

Recycling small, unwanted electronics helps your community and the planet. When you bring devices to a recycling center or trade them in, professionals typically refurbish them or dismantle them. When doing the latter option, experts separate the materials—plastic, glass, and metal—to recycle each material properly. The scrap metal industry can buy the metal to melt down and resell the material for others to use.

Giving Makes a Change

Project B Green is a for-profit organization that partners with various non-profits in Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia, and Maryland. A part of our mission is ensuring our charitable partners receive the essential funds to run their incredible programs by monetizing in-kind donations on their behalf

We happily accept donations from community members and local businesses. If you need to get rid of company phones, tablets, or other electronics, bring them to us! Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have questions about Project B Green or want to make an in-kind donation.

How To Sustainably Recycle Your Small Electronics


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