I’m excited to start the year by finding simple, effective ways to recycle or donate those old tech gadgets we all have. Not just for you, but for me too!

I know that my trusty old iPhone shouldn’t be thrown in the trash after upgrading to a newer model (not to mention the batteries, yuck!), But I’m often stuck with what to do with it, as well as what to do. along with all the other obsolete tablets, phones, cords, computer monitors, outdated gaming systems and even old MP3 players.

And did I mention all of those cords?

Here is a list of great options for donating, recycling, or selling your old technology; any of them is better than letting it pile in a landfill or spending another year watching this stuff take up space in a drawer or cupboard, don’t you think?

Related: Tackle These 10 Simple Tech Tasks to Start the Year Safer, Cleaner, and More Organized

Important Note: Of course, before donating items such as phones and tablets, remember to back up your photos or data if you need it, and erase your device by restore factory settings. Next, check out the best ways to recycle, return, donate, or sell your tech based on the suggestions here.

1. Register with your local technology recycling program

Perhaps the easiest way to recycle your old technology is in your own backyard. Many cities and counties have their own initiatives for residents and businesses, such as this electronics recycling program in New York City where Electronic Waste Program in San Francisco. Options can even include dropping them off at a local Goodwill storefront, so it’s even easier.

My small suburban town doesn’t offer such a comprehensive program, but hosts an annual Hazardous Waste Day event that includes acceptance of most technologies for recycling.

Make sure you pay attention to the list of accepted items and potential charges. There may be a nominal charge for recycling certain items, such as an old computer screen; but for me not having to stare at this thing in the basement another year is worth it.

2. Try a national technology recycling program

If your community does not have a local program and you are specifically looking for an easy way to dispose of used batteries and cell phones, please check out the main recycling program, Call 2 Recycle. Drop off locations are nationwide (there are 16 locations within a 10 mile radius of my own address in Massachusetts), or visit their store to purchase a return kit in the mail, which you can use to send 20-50 pounds of mixed drums and cell phones.

3. Return your old technology to the manufacturer or retailer.

the EPA Electronics Donation and Recycling Page provides a complete list of manufacturers and retailers who accept certain electronics and technology devices for recycling.

Companies like HP, Xerox, Sprint, Staples, Best Buy all have recycling programs to help keep unused technology out of landfills and properly disposed of.

For example, Best Buy’s Robust Technology Recycling Program accepts a wide variety of items, from laptops to cell phones, printers and even old vacuum cleaners. However, you can only recycle up to three items per day for free. So check out their full list of accepted items and think about whether to stagger your trips.

4. Donate your old technology to one of these great causes.

A great way to breathe new life into your junk tech by donating it. Liz shared some of these in her recent post on New Years Tech Tasks, but I wanted to provide you with more details.

Here are some great organizations that will accept items that you might not even realize could be donated, and a little more on how they work.

Of course, be sure to check their sites, especially during Covid, to see if any protocols or options like door-to-door pickup are still available.

To support survivors of domestic violence:
Technology donation from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Picture: @NCADV on Instagram

the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has a partnership with Cell recycler, using your electronic donations to raise funds for the many programs that are so essential in helping survivors of domestic violence. If you have one or more items to donate, the delivery is even free – and very easy to do.

Just collect your cell phones, MP3 players, digital cameras or video game systems that you no longer need, and Cellular Recycler will sell what it can to make money for NCADV.

They will also accept chargers, cords, GPS systems, and phone cases, but please note that they are not counted towards the free shipping quota.

This page (PDF) gives you an idea of ​​the value of each item; it really helps you see the value of giving your technology to a worthy organization to start with.

To support our deployed troops:
Cell phone technology donation for soldiers

It’s easy to support members of our military by donating your old technology, and Cell Phones for Soldiers will gladly accept your used cell phones and tablets, even broken ones, if you are near one of their more than 3,000 drop-off points.

You can also ship your electronic donations directly to their head office and with 10 or more devices they will cover the shipping costs. (Tip: Collect them from friends and neighbors and send them all in one package.)

They’ll clean those phones or tablets and sell them back – although we always recommend that you clean your own devices (factory reset) before you donate, just in case. Sales of these items help them purchase prepaid international calling cards for our troops overseas. So your 2011 iPhone could potentially mean an overseas son or daughter reaching out and talking to their mother – or a parent talking to their young children.

Sniff, sign me up.

To support global literacy:
World Computer Exchange Technology Gift

Photo: World Computing Exchange

Bought a new laptop for the holidays and no longer need your old one? Consider donating it to Global computer exchange, which helps bring technology into classrooms around the world.

Because these computers will be used in schools, WCE maintains a nice specific list of items they accept and all devices must be in good working order. But, your dusty old laptop could live the rest of its life in a new country, helping young people gain valuable digital literacy skills – which is a much better new location for that laptop than in your closet. corridor.

To create more opportunity and equity by closing the digital divide:
Human computer technology gift

With so much information online, from banking to job applications to education (as we all know parents), not to mention basic email, it can be a real handicap not to have access to technology and the Internet. So i love it Human IT The mission is to ensure that all Americans have access to the technologies and technological skills that many of us take for granted.

If you don’t have your own device connected to the internet, this is a huge hurdle to apply for jobs or even get an urgent email from your kid’s school.

List of accepted technologies (PDF) by Human IT is extensive and includes computer monitors, keyboards, printers, cell phones, MP3 players, gaming systems and more. Including laminating machines, surge protectors and those old pagers and PDAs – looking at you, first Blackberry users! And yes, they also accept donations of cables and cords of all kinds.

Just fill in their individual donation form, and someone will contact you to find out where to send your donation.

To support American veterans:
Vietnam American Veterans Donation Program

Photo: Vietnam Veterans of America

Liz’s family have long donated all kinds of items to the Vietnamese veterans of America, because they do an exceptional job supporting our vets with so many essential financial and investment counseling needs to help fight homelessness, addiction and PTSD.

Donating is incredibly easy if you are in one of the 23 US states where they operate. You can donate your old technology either by bringing your items to a drop-off point near you, or by arranging a pickup arrange a pickup online – when they arrive, they can load boxes directly from your entrance or front door, or from your hall if you are in a building.

Technology donations accepted include gaming systems, computers and laptops, monitors (but not televisions), DVD players, cameras, stereos and audio equipment, and small kitchen appliances. You can find a good listing on their other site, PickUpPlease.org.

Best of all, they also accept all kinds of other non-tech elements, especially clothes, so it’s a good way to clean more than just your tech drawers while still doing a lot of good.

5. Get paid for your old technology

For some of us, the ease (and the giving back) of donating old technology is worth the time. But if you want to grab some extra cash and have a little time, there are plenty of services out there that will allow you to buy back, donate or recycle your old gadgets.

Photo: @EcoATM

We first wrote about EcoATM in 2013, and since then they have grown to offer 5,000 kiosks in malls and supermarkets across the United States. This is exactly how it looks: put your loaded device in the machine, find its value, then get cash on the spot. Even if it isn’t worth much, it will be recycled. You can also use their IOS app Where Android app to get a feel for the price of the offer before you go and lock it in.

Other respected services for resale or exchange of …
Sell ​​Broke

Take a look and compare the offers to see which one is right for you. Not only will you help keep all those old electronics out of landfill, you’ll get some money to spend on newer technology. Or something entirely without electronics. Imagine that!

Top photo of Rayson tan on Unplash