Reader Alicia asked the following question:
What’s the best way to dispose of broken electronics? I have a drawerful of old cameras, Discmans, earbuds, etc. – can I just throw them out or is there a better way to get rid of the clutter?
Great question, Alicia! Your notion to keep the electronics out of your trash can is correct. Electronics should be donated to charity or recycled–not sent to take up space in a landfill.
Listed below is a small collection of resources for what you can do with old electronics. This list is obviously not exhaustive, so hopefully people will add some additional ideas into the comments section. Also, a search of your local government’s website with the terms “tech recycle” or “electronic recycle” will likely yield a number of results specific to your community.
Before I get to the list of disposal and recycling services, I would like to remind you that if you are getting rid of a computer or any electronic device with a hard drive (like an iPod) that you should properly delete the contents of the drive first. To do this, check out the following programs:
- Disc Utility to do a wipe on a Mac computer or iPod.
- Darik’s Boot and Nuke is the Unclutterer staff’s favorite for PC and Linux hard drive erasing.
Now, on with the list for disposing of old electronics:
- Technology Recycling (my favorite) accepts electronics equipment–working and not working–of all kinds and does business in 200 cities
- Dell computer recycling
- You can recycle your Mac computer and display for free with the purchase of a new Mac
- You can recycle your Gateway computer and display for free with the purchase of a new Gateway
- Apple’s free iPod and cell phone recycling
- Wireless Recycling takes donations for old cell phones across the U.S.
- The National Cristina Foundation accepts computer equipment that is in working order for donation
- Goodwill and The Salvation Army accept electronics in some areas, so call your local agency to find out if they participate in these donation programs.