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  • Writer's pictureMichelle

Got old electronics? Pass them forward — here’s how.

My husband is an earlier adopter of electronics. He’s the guy waiting up until the newest i(whatever) goes on sale. It’s pretty cool actually because I often get his older (yet still pretty new) device. And I’m happy with that! In a recent clean out of our basement, we discovered that we had many older electronics, many of which were either an older model, obsolete, or simply no longer working. In an effort to find them new homes, and avoid dumping them, I did some research to find a future for them outside of our basement.

There are four different options that we found for our old electronics: Sell, Trade In, Recycle or Donate. All are viable solutions. For us, we decided to donate and recycle most of our electronics because they were old. We actually repurposed our digital cameras and wrapped them up for our two girls for Christmas — which they loved.

For each of the different solutions, we found places where you can contact to sell, trade in, recycle or donate electronics. Read on to learn more and access the links to retailers, recyclers, and charitable organizations which accept electronics.


If your electronics are still in good working condition and you have the time, you can make a little cash by selling your electronics. Local Facebook marketplace pages, Craigslist or eBay are all viable marketplaces to make a little money off of your electronics that are still in good condition. The pro is that you’ll make some cash, but the con is mainly the time required to set up and peddle your item. Not to mention, it’s going to linger in your home until it’s sold.

Trade In

By trading in some of your older model electronics, you can often earn gift cards and yield discounts on future purchases with retailers. This can be a great solution if you're planning to upgrade to a newer model device. Here are a few places that accept trade-ins in return for credits, gift cards and discounts:

  • Apple products: Apple accepts trade ins. Be sure to have your device’s serial number ready, as it will be used to assess the ownership and value of your item.

  • Amazon products: The trade in process for Amazon products is even simpler because Amazon they will issue you a credit on the spot if you have an Amazon account. Note though, that the credit is subject to Amazon’s inspection of your device once it is received.

  • Retailer programs: Target, Best Buy, and Staples are a few big box retailers that also provide trade in opportunities. Visit their sites and learn more about how you can trade in. And, if trade in is not an option, there’s recycling available as well.


Most of the brands and retailers that offer trade-ins also offer recycling opportunities. In addition, Take Back Electronics will take back most types of electronics for free. Simply fill out the form to generate your free shipping label. You’ll need to have your box ready as it asks for the dimensions of the box, as well as the weight of the item(s) that you’re returning.

Not interested in dealing with shipping? Check out your municipal transfer station. Here’s a list of what our home town’s transfer station accepts. Check out what your municipality transfer station recycles by visiting your municipality’s website.


By donating, you can pass your device on to another person or organization in need. Think about a senior center, a recreation center or animal shelter that could benefit from your old computer, laptop, or cell phone. If you’re passionate about a certain organization within your community, contact them directly to see if they could use any of the electronics. If you don’t have a specific organization in mind, there are many great organizations which offer free shipping in return for your device. If you want to donate a computer or laptop, Computers with Causes is a non-profit organization which sources and donates computers and laptops in all 50 states. In addition, cell phones can be donated to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) or Cell Phones for Soldiers.

By donating you are both helping others, and it can serve as a tax deduction for you as well. Be sure to ask for a slip with the organization’s Tax ID.

Protect Your Information: Wipe Your Device Clean

Whether you choose to sell, trade in, recycle, or donate be sure to completely wipe clean (erase) all information from your device. In addition, include any of the power cords or adapters when passing forward. This way the new owner has them, and you no longer have orphan cords lying around your home living for free!

Now that you’re armed with this information — head to your basement and get cleaning! Do you have places where you like to recycle or donate your electronics? Share them with me -- I'd love to hear!

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