Let us suppose, just for a moment, that you’ve just treated yourself to a haul of new gadgets. You probably have a stack of old ones to dispose of. What to do?



  1. Back up your devices.
  2. Wipe everything. Remove all personal data from your devices. Here are some good tips on clearing data.
  3. Do not throw them in your kitchen garbage can (or the dumpster, or any other nearby trash receptacle). Electronic devices can contain nasty heavy metals that you do not want to stick in a landfill. The good news is that tech companies are trying to make their products more environmentally friendly, but they have a long way to go. In the meantime, stay away from the trashcan with that lead and mercury.
  4. If they’re still in reasonably good condition, you could give them away or sell them. A lot of tech recycling services will buy them from you if they’re not badly damaged.
  5. If they’re not in great shape or you can’t think of anyone who’d want them, then the best option could be recycling. EcoATM will actually give you cash in exchange for your devices if you find a drop near you. The amount depends on the item’s age, condition, and a few other factors. Alternatively, Best Buy, Staples, and Amazon will recycle your old devices. E-stewards is a good resource for finding ethical recyclers. For those in the Midwest, Comprenew will take your old tech and refurbish it so someone else can use it.

In sum, the best thing to do with your old devices is to find someone else who can use them. The worst thing to do is toss them in the trash without wiping them. That harms the environment and puts your personal data at risk, and nobody wants that. Except maybe people digging around landfills looking for identities to steal.