By Stephanie Humphrey
Over the holiday, I was blessed to be able to redecorate my home office/studio. I did some painting, bought new bookcases and a new desk, and completely tore my room apart and put it back together with all the reorganizing that needed to be done.
During that process, I unearthed quite a few electronic devices that weren’t necessarily old enough to be in a museum but were outdated and/or inoperable. So, what do you do with those old smartphones, tablets, computers, and more that get moved to the tech graveyard in your basement when the new upgrades move in?
Here are three suggestions to get rid of old tech:
• Sell/Trade: If your older devices are still working and in pretty good shape, you may be able to sell them or trade them in for credit towards the latest upgrade. Major retailers like Best Buy, Amazon, Target, and Apple all have programs where you can input the specs and condition of your device(s) and get a quote for a gift card towards a future purchase at the store. Other sites like Gazelle, Decluttr, Flipsy, BuyBackWorld, or ItsWorthMore will pay you cash for your old tech. All these sites take most common household electronics, like smartphones, tablets, computers, gaming systems, televisions, smart speakers, and more. The amount you can get for a particular item may vary, so shop around and do your research. You can also try to sell your old devices yourself through a platform like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, but use extra caution with the handover of product and confirmation of payment.
• Recycle: If your old devices are not in working order, recycling is a great way to get rid of them while protecting the environment at the same time. I mentioned in a previous article that a report from the United Nations found that 80% of electronics are not recycled, and e-waste is a huge problem in developing countries. Check with your city or borough officials first to see if they will be hosting any upcoming e-waste recycling events. Or visit: www.earth911.com, which boasts one of America’s largest recycling databases, to browse the list of brands, retailers, and organizations that offer these services.
• Donate: Donating old electronic devices could make a big difference in the lives of others. You can donate smartphones to domestic violence shelters or soldiers, schools or youth programs may take laptops or tablets, and you could even check with your local children’s hospital to see if they will take donated gaming systems. Visit Cellphones for Soldiers, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, or locally check out Philly Aids Thrift for information on how your donation could make an impact.
One thing to note before you choose any of these options for your old electronics – make sure you perform a factory reset of your devices before you sell, trade, or donate them. Simply deleting your personal information from a smartphone or computer might not be enough to ensure that sensitive data cannot be recovered. Even smart TVs save personal data that you may not want discovered. A quick Google search of “How do I factory reset my (insert brand name and device here?)” should get you to the instructions you need to make sure your device is wiped clean. When it comes to the question of what to do with older electronics, these options might take a little more effort to do, but please don’t toss old tech in the trash!
Stephanie Humphrey is a former engineer turned Tech-Life Expert and author. She is a contributor to ‘Good Morning America’ and Fox 29’s ‘Good Day Philadelphia’. You can find Stephanie all around the web @TechLifeSteph and get her book “Don’t Let Your Digital Footprint Kick You in the Butt!” on Amazon.