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What is E-Waste? 7 Ways to Recycle Electronics


Every day, kids and adults across the country get new smartphones, computers, tablets, and other devices, which begs the question: What do you do with the old technology? According to a United Nations study, 53.6 million tons of e-waste were discarded in 2019, and only 17.4 percent was disposed of properly.

Fortunately, consumers have several options for electronic waste disposal that do not causing harm to the environment. Here are some suggestions.
Sorting through electronics


If family members or friends don’t need the latest bells and whistles, they can use your old device to access email and search the internet.


Similarly, find a new life for the old model. For instance, keep the outdated iPad Mini in the kitchen look up recipes or listen to music while you cook.


If the device isn’t ancient, you might find a market for it on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or neighborhood message boards.

Sites like will facilitate the transactions. The platform compares the resale prices of 40 vetted electronic buyers in the United States, explains COO Sarah McConomy. The site has a best-price guarantee: “If a user spots a higher price on another site after they’ve traded a device, will double the difference back,” she says.

Another option is ecoATM, which has more than 5,000 kiosks in the country that will give you cash for your phone. Get a price estimate on the website. Do a factory reset to remove personal information, visit the kiosk, place the phone in the cubby, and collect your cash.


Many retailers have trade-in programs. For example, Best Buy will give customers a gift card for the trade-in value. Walmart also has a Gadget to Gift Cards program.
Recycle used batteries


Devices contain components made with rare metals and hazardous chemicals, and rechargeable batteries can spark fires. Causes include high heat from using the wrong charger or extreme temperatures.

Many states have dedicated sites and/or receptacles for recycling electronics. Some retailers also have recycling programs. Staples, for instance, gives customers rewards for recycling technology, ink, or toner cartridges and select Logitech products. They’ll also take batteries, fax machines, keyboards, and shredders.

Recycle batteries at Batteries Plus. “Consumers can simply bring their electronics into a Batteries Plus, and we will take it from there,” explains Cameron McDonald, vice president of planning and inventory. “The company has safety protocols that are followed to handle and ship the materials to the recycling facility safely. Any cost passed onto the consumer covers the production process surrounding creating these materials into new rechargeable batteries.” Batteries Plus does not make any revenue from fees collected.

To find other vetted recycling locations, visit or
Donating eletrontics


Many charities will take electronic items, but confirm what they’ll accept before you make the trip.


Your new purchase will only last so long. Before making another purchase, consider these suggestions:


  • Replace the battery instead of the entire device. A bad battery will slow down a device.
  • Purchase refurbished technology, especially if the manufacturer offers it, suggests Chris Velazco, a member of The Washington Post’s Tech Help Desk. Many refurbished tech products come with a warranty.
  • Limit the number of electronic devices in your home.
  • Resist the urge to have the latest model. Undoubtedly, another version will hit the market before your current one shows signs of wear.