How to Recycle Electronics

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How to Recycle Electronics

Most people love getting a new cell phone, laptop, or gadget. Often, however, folks are not sure what to do with their old one. With the speed technology moves, it is only a matter of time before that brand new tablet or music player becomes old news or even obsolete. In the past, many people simply threw their old or broken electronics away. While convenient, this came with some downsides. Simply discarding electronics not only uses up increasingly scarce landfill space, but also wastes valuable resources like metal, glass, copper, and plastic. E-waste can also leach toxins into the ground and water, putting human and environmental health at risk.

Luckily, it's easy to be responsible with unwanted electronics. Many older devices retain resale value, and can be sold or traded in. This is a great way to make a little extra money while also keeping gadgets out of landfills. Working computers and cell phones can also be donated to schools, charities, or other organizations for reuse.

Broken or obsolete electronics should be recycled. Recycling electronics is a simple process which saves energy, recovers raw materials, and keeps electronics out of landfills. With the ever-growing number of electronics in our lives, it is important to be responsible when it is time to pass them on. Programs like eBay Instant Sale make both reselling and recycling items hassle-free.

Why Recycle

Cell phones, computers, and other electronics quickly go out-of-date, and are also easily broken. While it's tempting to just treat them like trash, there are a lot of good reasons not to throw them away. Electronics contain many valuable resources, which are wasted in landfills. These materials can be used to make new items, using less energy than manufacturing with virgin resources. Discarded electronics can also be a source of harmful pollutants. Mercury, lead, cadmium, and lithium can all leach into groundwater systems, causing potentially serious environmental harm.

E-waste is a growing problem worldwide, with as much as 20 to 50 million tons of electronics discarded each year. E-waste is the fastest growing segment of solid waste, and is often more hazardous than regular garbage. Therefore, it is important to either reuse or recycle electronics. Recycling electronics helps reduce garbage and pollution, and is the responsible way to handle unwanted or broken devices.

Resell, Reuse, or Recycle

Electronics which seem like trash to one person might be valuable to someone else, and many of the gadgets which are thrown away could instead be used or repaired. Working computers, cell phones, and other electronics which might seem obsolete are still in demand by people who don't need or can't afford the latest gadgets. Since reuse is the most environmentally responsible way to pass on electronics, reselling old or broken devices might be a great way to help the planet while making a little extra cash. While not every device has resale value, many can be quickly and easily be sold through programs like eBay Instant Sale.

Working computers and cell phones can often be donated to organizations which can use them. Schools, charities, and other groups are often looking for electronics, and donating these items keeps them out of landfills and puts them to good use. Of course, some relics might be too broken or obsolete to be used or worth anything. These items can still be recycled to save energy and resources.

Reselling Electronics

Not everyone wants or needs the latest technology. There is a big market for used electronics, and reselling an older gadget is a great way to keep it out of a landfill while making a little extra cash. For those without the means to buy new, buying used gear can mean the difference between a perfectly working cell phone or computer, and none at all. Buying used also helps the environment, by reusing an existing device instead of requiring a new one. Therefore, many older electronics retain some value years after their original purchase.

People reselling unwanted electronics have a lot of options. On and offline classifieds, used electronic stores, and traditional eBay auctions are all great places to sell used gadgets. However, these methods can take effort and time, and rely on finding an interested buyer. Some people, especially those with lower-value items or less time, might be discouraged from selling their used electronics by these hassles. eBay Instant Sale can be a more convenient way to resell.

eBay Instant Sale

eBay Instant Sale is simple, fast, and free; giving sellers an immediate cash offer in less than 60 seconds. Sellers can get a quote for working and non-working items, and choose to accept instantly. There are no fees for using the service, and prepaid shipping labels are sent to cover shipping costs. Developed by eBay's sustainability team, Instant Sale is a hassle-free way to sell smartphones and cell phones, laptop computers, digital cameras, GPS systems, mp3 players, tablets, and camcorders.

Instant Sale and PayPal

Getting a quote on Instant Sale doesn't require an account, but receiving funds does. For those without a PayPal account, sign up is free and easy. PayPal is a secure way to manage online payments, and is also a popular way to pay for items on eBay and other sites. Payments from eBay Instant Sale are deposited directly into a PayPal account.

Donating Electronics for Reuse

For the environmentally conscious, reusing unwanted electronics is even better than recycling. Many organizations and individuals are in need of working computers, phones, and other devices, and donating your electronics is a great way to help out while getting them off your hands. Many schools, churches, and other groups will gladly take working computers. Cell phones are also easy to donate. Women's shelters and abuse prevention agencies are often on the lookout for working cell phones, which can be used to dial 9-1-1 and prevent domestic-abuse situations. Many other charities also accept working phones, and some retailers have donation boxes inside their stores. Other electronics, including broken devices, can be posted on local bulletin boards and classified ads; people will often be looking to take these items for parts or repair.

Donating valueless electronics is the most environmentally friendly way to pass them on. Using less energy than recycling, reuse keeps devices in people's hands instead of in a landfill, and helps provide technology to communities which can benefit from its use.

Recycling Electronics

Some electronics are simply too obsolete or broken to be resold or donated. The most responsible way to get rid of these items is to recycle them. Recycling recovers the materials in these items for reuse, prevents them going to landfills, and protects the environment by safely handling toxins and pollutants. Many electronic devices are designed to be easily broken down into their component parts and recycled. While recycling once had a reputation for causing headaches, new initiatives have made recycling electronics easier and more convenient. Many national electronics retailers offer in-store recycling for electronics. While these services are convenient, some fees may be charged depending on the store and items being recycled. Some municipalities also offer electronics recycling, as do private and public organizations in many cities.

Recycle with eBay

eBay Instant Sale isn't just a great way to resell used electronics; it also offers convenient and free recycling for devices without resale value. Instant Sale recycling is a responsible way to dispose of electronics, with devices being 100% recycled with nothing going to a landfill. eBay works with pledged E-Steward organizations, which are committed to the highest standard for globally responsible electronics recycling and refurbishment.

To recycle with eBay, simply visit the Instant Sale recycle page. Select the type and number of devices you have to recycle, and eBay will send out prepaid shipping labels. Users can recycle smartphones and cell phones, laptop computers, digital cameras, GPS systems, mp3 players, tablets, camcorders, and much more. There are no fees for using the service, shipping costs are paid, and all products are recycled in a responsible and comprehensive way.


There is no reason to throw away unwanted or broken electronics. Just because a device is older doesn't make it worthless; chances are, that item could either be resold or donated for reuse. Reselling and reusing electronics saves energy and raw materials, while keeping devices out of landfills. eBay's Instant Saleprogram is a convenient way to resell electronics, as well as recycle devices without resale value. Using the service is free, shipping is paid, and payments are conveniently made directly into a PayPal account. Other ways to sell include classified ads and traditional auctions, and many retailers and municipalities offer recycling services.

Charities, schools, and other organizations are often looking for donated cell phones and computers. Reuse is the most environmentally friendly way to deal with unwanted electronics, and it keeps devices being used instead of trashed. Even broken electronics are often useful for repair or parts, and may even retain some resale value. Since any obsolete or broken device can still be recycled, a responsible process which reclaims materials and saves energy, there is no reason to throw electronics away.

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