How to Recycle Old Electronics

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Given the short life cycle of cell phones, computers and other electrical equipment, it is becoming more and more vital to recycle electronics. It is not only an environmental issue but it is a practical one. The complex systems within items such as a computer are often reusable. Therefore, taking the extra effort to make sure these devices do not simply end up in a landfill will contribute to the longevity of technology as well as the earth.

Erase, Delete, Destroy

Before you recycle any cell phone or computer device, it is in your best interest to first backup all the information and then take the time to delete the old unit’s memory–this includes all of your contacts and other information you need to keep private. If your device is broken or cannot be charged, a power drill will do the trick. Drill holes through the hard drive. Remove the SIM card from your cell phone and use it for your new phone or destroy it. Be safe and wear goggles. A found device can be used in many ways by people interested in stealing identifies or worse. Protect yourself.


Donating old electronic items can do wonders for those in need. Used electronic programs are available for the poor as well as domestically abused women and can be found by contacting your city or town’s chamber of commerce.


Many schools will take old devices off your hands as long as they are still in working order and fairly up to date (most schools will not accept large computer monitors anymore).

Thrift Stores

Used clothing shops such as thrift stores often have a corner carved out for old electronics. Again, if your items are still usable you can offer them to these businesses on consignment or for a contribution tax write off.

The Library

Although many people have forgotten about the importance of a library, they are still around and often willing to consider items that may be of use to them.

Senior Citizen Homes

The elderly can use every resource they can get. Contacting your local senior citizen home can possibly be a successful recycling location for used electronics. Not only computers or cell phones but items such as blow dryers, curling irons and radios are often used in these establishments.

Go to the Source

The business that sold you your electronic will often have a recycling program on site. Chain stores like Staples, Best Buy, PC Richards and Apple to name a few, usually implement not only a recycling site but sometimes a discount incentive for you to re-purchase a similar yet upgraded item. Any old iPod returned to Apple stores when purchasing a new one will get you ten percent off.

Post It

Online message boards such as your local newspaper, Craigslist or a great organization called, are excellent ways to recycle your old electronics by directly handing them over to willing takers.

Designated Town Days

Many towns have designated electronic recycling days. A location is setup where you can simply drop off your items and they will do the rest. Contact your town hall for a calendar listing.

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