Consumer Reports: Best places to sell or recycle your old electronics

ByNydia Han and Heather Grubola WPVI logo
Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Best places to sell or recycle your old electronics
When it's time to upgrade to the newest, latest and greatest tech, what should we do with our old stuff?

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- If you have a lot of old and unused tech devices lying around your house, you are not alone.

Electronic waste, or e-waste, is a big problem. Many people just throw them away in the regular trash, but that is illegal in some states - including Pennsylvania. However, there are ways to clear out your tech and maybe make a little money in the process.

When it's time to upgrade to the latest and greatest tech, many of us have the same question: "I don't know what I'm going to do with all this old junk."

So, Consumer Reports to the rescue.

When it's time to upgrade to the newest, latest and greatest tech, what should we do with our old stuff?

"There are a lot of different online marketplaces that make it really easy for you to sell your old computers and devices. You might want to do a little bit of research ahead of time to make sure that you're pricing it appropriately," said Yael Grauer, Consumer Reports Tech Editor.

If you don't want the hassle of listing and selling an item yourself, you can try using an online buyback site like BuyBackWorld and Gazelle. Just submit the details on your device then you'll get a quote. If you accept the offer, you can ship your gadgets to them with a prepaid shipping label.

Some stores like Staples and Best Buy have recycling programs where you can unload and save.

For instance, at Best Buy if you recycle a PC accessory you can save 20% on select Logitech accessories. You can also get 15% off a networking device when you recycle a modem, router, or modem-router combo.

Of course, you can also donate an old device to a nonprofit, including Goodwill.

"You might have a used computer that you don't really need any more that's just collecting dust. But it could be really valuable for a family that doesn't have the resources to buy one," said Grauer.

But before you trade-in, sell or donate, Kevin Brasler of Consumers' Checkbook says make absolutely sure you're removed all of your data.

"Other people can still get access to our information unless you take the proper steps to really wipe clean your devices," he said.

And that can mean more than just a factory reset.

"For example with Apple, with a lot of its phones, you need to first turn off "find my iPhone" and then there's several other steps you need to take," said Brasler.

If you're getting rid of a smart TV, be sure to log off all of your subscription services.

"I think it's something that a lot of people forget to do," said Brasler.

Also, be sure to use reputable recycling services.

"There are two programs now that have tried to kind of track our devices and make sure that they're being recycled responsibly. One is called E-Stewards and another is called R2," said Brasler.

Some electronics contain hazardous materials, including lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium, that's why they can't go out with your regular trash or recycling. Yet, one estimate from the EPA says only about 15% of e-waste in the United States is properly recycled.

And if you're in the market to buy a refurbished device, make sure you are using a reputable vendor who backs the products it sells with its own warranty.

For more information on recycling in the Delaware Valley:

E-Recycling in Pennsylvania

E-Recycling in New Jersey

E-Recycling in Delaware