Recycling Your Old Technology

In cleaning out the clutter in my bedroom last week, I found a few items that I hadn’t seen in a long, long time. Buried in a box of cables was my old Handspring Visor, along with the Palm device I used when I was in nursing school.

The reason those once expensive pieces of technology were gathering dust in a box? One of them no longer worked, the other was simply obsolete after I purchased my first iPhone. And to be honest, any handheld device was obsolete to me after the iPhone.

The devices of techie years past.

Those items were once very useful to me, but as technology has advanced, they’ve gone the way of the cassette tape and camcorder. And as much as I love all things tech and geeky, I really do need to learn to let some of them go when they’ve outlived their usefulness.

I’ve had luck in sending some old technology to new homes through garage sales and passing them on to others (my mom inherits my older iPhones), but some devices no longer work or just aren’t even worth making the effort to sell them.

Electronic device trash is (not surprisingly) the fastest growing form of waste on the planet. Throwing away old tech isn’t a smart move, but our city recycling won’t accept electronic devices in our recycling bins. There’s a local shop that recycles old TVs and computers, but you have to pay a fee to dispose of anything. That makes it hard to not clutter up landfills with plastic and computer bits that could be put to better use.

I recently found out about Best Buy’s electronics recycling program, and I’ve already made good use of it. You can bring your old technology to any U.S. Best Buy store where they will safely and responsibly dispose of it for free.

It doesn’t matter if it’s your grandmother’s old 1960’s TV or a new iPhone 5 that your child sent through the washing machine – aside from a few exceptions (that vary by state), they’ll take it all, including computers, audio equipment, TVs, and even fans and vacuum cleaners. Best Buy recycles 387 pounds of electronics per minute – more than any other store in the industry.

My experience was super easy. I took three items (the limit per day in Ohio) to my local Best Buy, asked where to drop them off, and then handed them over to a Best Buy employee.

It turns out that my iPod Nano, which still works well, could be traded in for a Best Buy gift card instead of recycled – bonus money! The Handspring and the camera were not in great shape and so were sent off to be recycled. Any pieces that can be reused for other products will be salvaged, and any hazardous materials in the devices will be properly disposed of. Best of all, I didn’t have to pay a thing to do it.

It feels good to finally have a place to get rid of the old devices adding to the clutter in my house. I had held onto the handheld devices for so long mostly because I didn’t know how to get rid of them without throwing them in the trash. Now that I know where to recycle electronics for free, I’ll be bringing more of my devices to Best Buy.

And if you’re in the market for replacements for your recycled devices, Best Buy also carries a line of Energy Star certified products to help promote energy efficiency, too.

You can find out more about the Best Buy recycling program, and what your state’s Best Buy stores accept, by visiting their website.

Do you recycle your old technology, or do you still have old devices collecting dust in your house, too? Please tell me I’m not alone in having electronic device corpses hidden in closets!

Disclosure: The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

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  1. I have the same first gen iPod that you have on the right. Still kicking but I think I may need to take it to Best Buy soon. 🙂

  2. That is great to hear! I have a small stack of old tech that I knew I shouldn’t dump in the trash but wasn’t sure how to dispose of.

    And now I know.