Upgrading your cell phone, iPod or computer? Recycle – don’t trash – your old one

Chances are, for many of you, there was at least one new electronic gadget under your Christmas tree this year. As they say, out with the old and in with the new, but how exactly do you get out with the old when it comes to electronics? Needless to say, it’s not directly to your trash can. You shouldn’t toss old electronics in your regular garbage as they have harmful toxins which can leach into the ground and water, plus valuable components that can be recycled.

Whether it’s an old iPod, computer, or cell phone, your best bet is to try and recycle these items – in many cases, you’ll get cash or credit back! Here are some easy ways to recycle, not trash, old electronics:

Many major retailers, like Best Buy, have a take back program where they accept old electronics, regardless of where you purchased it. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) lists many of the national manufacturers and retailers with take back programs, including AT & T, Dell, and Office Depot. Their website has a great chart listing what companies take back what electronics.

Many charitable organizations accept electronics. I have turned in my old cell phone to an organization that rehabs phones and gives them to soldiers ( gives you money for your old phone (shipping is free!). In my city, there is a charity that that repairs old computers and donates them to families. Google “Computer Recycling” in your city to see options where you live.

Apple will take back old Apple computers or monitors and recycle them responsibly for free, and if a unit has monetary value, it will give you an Apple gift card ( Apple will accept old iPods or iPhones in store or by mail (for free) and give you 10% off a new one.

Most cities and towns also have recycling and take back programs – check out your municipality’s website. A word of caution – make sure to properly erase all personal information from your old electronic before recycling. Symantec and Webroot both have good programs for computers. Check out your manufacturers’ instructions (check out their website) for phones and other items.

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