What can you do with old tech?



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Out with the old, in with the new

The holidays are coming to a close and hopefully, you are enjoying all the new techno gadgets you got.  I know I am.  With the new influx of tech, what do you do with the old, outdated but still working stuff?  Do you just dump it in the trash?  Nope, that’s bad for the environment.  What can you do to responsibly get rid of your old tech?  Here are a couple of ideas for you.

1. Sell it!

Might as well make some money of some stuff you won’t use anymore.  The easiest thing to do is put it on Craigslist and see if you can get a couple of bucks for it.  Take a few pictures, write up a description and boom, money.  If you have cell phones or laptops and tablets these do really well.  If the phone is not a smartphone, you would be surprised that old flip phones sell really quickly for around $20.  Make sure you include the charger for the phone if it is one of the older ones that didn’t use microUSB.

eBay is another great place to unload unwanted electronics.  It gets your stuff in front of a larger audience and can usually get you a higher price.  The thing to keep in mind, though, is that eBay takes it fee from the final sales price, including the shipping.  So don’t try to pad your profits in the shipping costs.  A couple of tips for eBay, the best sale type is the auction and you want to make sure you have some good pictures of the item, and it is best to have your auction end on a Sunday evening.  Just trust me on this.

If you have an old smartphone or tablet that has a cracked screen or is not working, you can usually still sell it in the “Not Working/For Parts” category.

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2. Donate it!

There are several places that will take old cell phones on donation and put them in the hands of people who need them.  There are also your usual thrift shop locations, Goodwill, Salvation Army, ARC, etc.  They will usually take your working and good condition electronics.  They usually won’t take broken stuff.  I would only go this route if you are unable to sell you stuff on Craigslist or eBay.

You can also call your local high schools and see if they need old computers for an electronics lab.  Some schools offer computer repair courses and they need hardware for the kids to work on.  I have also donated old computers to my friend’s kids who show an interest in electronics and want to have a hand at bringing old computers back to life.

3. Repurpose it!

There are lots of things you can do with an old computer or smartphone.  You can easily add Linux to an old laptop/desktop and give it to your kids or a parent.  You could also use an old desktop connected to your network to stream music and movies to your smart TV/streaming device by burning your DVDs to the hard drive.

Smartphones can be modded to do all sorts of things, from a cheap home security camera to a desk clock.  There is nothing a little time and imagination can’t solve.

Another use for an old smartphone is to take the SIM card out and just use it on WiFi or as an MP3 player.  Just load your music on it and take it for a run, or mount it in your car as a media player/GPS

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4. Recycle it!

Loads of places do electronics recycling now.  Best Buy is one that I know of that makes it really easy.  For the smaller stuff, like tablets, phones, and batteries they have bins at the front of the store that you can just toss your stuff into.  For the bigger stuff, like laptops, desktop computer and TV’s they will just take it from you at customer service.  All for free!

There are also electronics recyclers in your town, I am sure.  They will also responsibly dispose of your old, broken items for you.  Some of them take old laptops and desktops and refresh them and sell them at a discount if you are looking for something cheap.

Make sure you also remember to bring along any cables you don’t need anymore also.  It helps keep all that metal, rubber, and plastic out of the landfills.

Bottom Line

If you are replacing your old stuff with new stuff, or just want to downsize the number of screens and tech in the house, be sure you at the very least, recycle it.  Adding electronics to landfills is not good for anyone.  Plus you might find a fun new hobby of repurposing electronics or buying and selling old cell phones on the secondary market for profit.  No matter what you do, don’t throw the stuff in the trash.  Who knows you might even make a couple of bucks in the process!

Do you have any tips or tricks, put them in the comments below.  Also, be sure to sign up for our email list!  You’ll be glad you did, the form is on the side bar (or at the bottom of this article if you are on mobile)

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  • I recently sold my old iPad 2 to a company that recycles them online and got £100 for it. My iPhone 4 is worth £25 haha