Today’s technology is advancing so quickly that the computer you are reading this article on was probably obsolete about three months after you bought it. Almost every year there is a new version of your favorite smart phone or a new operating system for your desktop and laptop computers. This rush to continue making electronic devices that are faster, smarter, and newer has left a huge mountain of obsolete electronics piling up in its wake. You can put those old relics from two years ago to work for you by earning cash for them, or you can do your part to keep the planet safe by recycling the electronics you don’t use anymore.
The Dangers of Electronics in Landfills
When you throw an old cell phone in the trash, it usually winds up at the top of a pile of garbage in a local landfill, where it will eventually degrade and become part of the earth underneath the landfill. That means that the chemicals inside the cell phone will leech into the soil and eventually find their way back to the local water table. This is not such a terrible thing if you are only talking about one or two cell phones, but think about how many people you know who replace their phones annually. Now think about how much space those discarded phones would take up in a landfill. Multiply the chemicals in one phone by the hundreds of phones thrown away each year and you begin to see an alarming amount of toxic material that could eventually work its way toward your kitchen tap.
Retailers Recycle for Free
The good news is that it is easy to recycle old electronics through most electronics retailers. Companies like Best Buy will accept your old computers, cell phones, and other obsolete items and make sure they are disposed of in a way that is not harmful to the environment. Look for specially marked bins at the front of the store where you can dump your devices and feel good about it.
Online Services Offer Cash for Used Electronics
It’s great to have the chance to get rid of old devices for free, but it’s even better to be paid for dumping your devices in an environmentally friendly way. Several websites offer to pay you for your old electronics. Sites like Nextworth, Gazelle and eBay will evaluate your device and send you payment for it as soon as they determine what it is worth. Amazon will put money on a gift card for the value of the electronic device you send in.
Some Electronics Have Great Resale Value
You can always try to earn even more for your old device by selling it yourself. Some electronics still have an excellent resale value, even if they are not in good condition. Look around at online sites like eBay or Craigslist to see what people are selling similar devices for. Items like old iPhones can sometimes sell for about half as much as you paid in the first place, even if the screen is cracked. Selling on your own can take more time, but you can pocket more cash if you are successful.
Jessica Bosari likes to write about ways to save money, especially green ones. You can find more of her tips on managing money at SavingTools.com.