Advances in technology happen at an astounding rate. In fact, according to Moore’s Law, the processing power of computers doubles every two years! While this is great news for the breakthroughs in knowledge, new things that we can experience, and personal convenience, it also comes at a cost — our technology seems outdated rather quickly.

Global competition has made it cheap and easy to purchase new electronics — often this is long before the old electronics stop working. These old electronics not only contain plastics and metals that can be easily recycled, but also hazardous waste that needs to be kept out of landfills and the environment.

Vintage Electronic Radios on Shelf
Vintage Electronic Radios on Shelf

Fortunately, many of the top electronics brands have programs to incentivize recycling! Learn more below about how to recycle your electronics and earn discounts, gift cards, and loyalty points while responsibly disposing of these toxic materials.

Recycle Old Electronics to Earn Rewards!

These programs make it easy to recycle by offering rewards when you give back your old electronics.

1. Apple

Trade your qualifying old device for credit towards your next purchase. If your old computer, tablet, phone, watch or other device has value, you will receive an Apple Store gift card. Even if your device isn’t eligible for store credit, they will wipe your data and safely recycle it for you for free.

Plus remember that students also get special pricing at the Apple store.

2. Amazon.com

The Amazon Trade-In program allows customers to receive an Amazon.com Gift Card in exchange for thousands of eligible items. Items that qualify for trade-in are updated often and include Amazon Devices, electronics, books, and video games.

The process is easy and convenient — you’ll get an immediate offer plus free shipping!

3. AT&T

Trade in select mobile devices (phones, tablets, and smart watches) for an AT&T promotion card or immediate trade-in value!

4. Advance Auto Parts

Bring in your unwanted automobile, golf, marine, or light truck battery to any Advance Auto Parts location and receive a $10 store gift card. See website for full details and exclusions.

5. Best Buy

Best Buy Electronics Waste Recycling Program
Best Buy Electronics Waste Recycling Program

Best Buy offers electronics recycling all U.S. stores (including those in Puerto Rico) on products including TV’s, computers, tablets. cell phones, appliances, audio, home, music, video games, cameras, car audio, GPS, video, and more. Check online for more details. Additionally, you can get discounts or a gift card when you trade-in certain items:

  • Trade-in select old electronics items to earn a Best Buy gift card: use the website to learn the value of your trade-in before you bring it in!
  • Get 15% off a new HP inkjet printer when you bring in any used printer for recycling: return your old printer to Customer Service in a Best Buy store, and you’ll receive a receipt coupon for 15% off the current price of an HP inkjet printer
  • Recycle your networking devices and get a coupon for 15% off:. receive a coupon for 15% off a networking device when you recycle a modem, router or modem/router combo

Even if your old tech has no current trade in value, they will still recycle it for you. Learn more about Best Buy’s recycling program.

For large items that are not easy to bring in to a store, you may want to consider using Best Buy’s haul away service for TV’s and appliances. Note that there is a fee for haul-away, and the cost will depend on whether or not you are making a purchase at the same time you are requesting an item to be hauled away.

6. Dell

There are 2 ways to get value from the Dell recycling program:

  • Trade in your device of any brand and get a Dell Gift Card towards your next purchase
    • Devices include Laptops & 2-in-1 PCs, Desktop & All-in-Ones, Tablets, Phones, Gaming Consoles, Displays, DSLRs, Media Players, and Smart Watches
  • Donate to Dell Reconnect via Goodwill and receive a tax receipt
    • Devices include Computers, Monitors, Printers, Scanners, Hard drives, Keyboards, Mice, Speakers, and Cables

If your old electronics do not qualify for trade-in credit, you can also recycle your computer equipment through a free mail-back program. Simply print a pre-paid shipping label, box up your items, then drop them off at a local mailing center (or schedule a pickup).

7. HP

HP collects used products for resale and recycling in 74 countries worldwide! They currently accept PC, notebooks, printers, scanners, monitors, copiers, plotters, projectors, digital cameras, and mobile devices from most manufacturers. Note that supplies, accessories, or refurbished units do not qualify.

  • HP Device Recovery Service is a complete service solution that includes the secure and sustainable repurposing of end-of-use devices and provides residual value back to you
  • In addition to those programs, HP offers recycling for some items that do not qualify cash programs

8. Microsoft

Trade your qualifying old device for store credit at your local Microsoft Store. If your old laptop, tablet, phone, or gaming console has value, start shopping immediately with your new store credit.

Even if your device doesn’t qualify for a store credit, Microsoft will wipe your data and safely recycle it for you for free.

Plus remember that students get a 10% discount at the Microsoft store.

9. Office Depot / OfficeMax

Recycle your used printer cartridges and earn rewards. Note that damaged cartridges are not accepted.

  • Recycling Rewards members receive $2 back in rewards when recycling your ink & toner cartridges. Up to 10 cartridges per month ($10 minimum monthly purchase required).
  • Business Select members ($99 annual fee) will receive 3 General Depot Dollars when recycling ink and toner cartridges. Up to 10 cartridges per month (minimum purchase of $10).

You may also choose to mail back ink cartridges with a FREE pre-paid label (no rewards given). Simply fill a sturdy box with a minimum of 20 items or 20 lbs of mixed product, affix the UPS label to the box, seal it shut, and give the box to a UPS driver or take it to a UPS drop off location.

10. Sprint

Sprint offers a buyback program for devices (even from other carriers) to get credit towards your Sprint bill. Check online to see whether your device is eligible for the buyback program (also available in stores).

If your old device does not qualify for buyback, it can still be recycled for free via the 1Million Project, which provides devices and internet service for disadvantaged high school students.

11. Staples

Staples Electronics and Battery Recycling Programs
Staples Electronics and Battery Recycling Programs

Staples provides a few different options to earn for giving back your unwanted electronics items!

  • Sell your device: get a Staples eCash card for your computer, tablet, or smartphone
  • Staples Rewards members may recycle ink and toner cartridges and earn $2 back on every recycled ink or toner cartridge (minimum purchase required)

You can also recycle these other items for free (no Staples incentives provided, but you can still recycle them easily):

12. Walmart

Walmart Electronics Recycling Program
Walmart Electronics Recycling Program

Walmart offers an online trade-in program through cExchange. Check to see if you cell phone, tablet, game console, or voice speakers qualify, then mail in for free to get your Walmart eGift card.

13. Other eWaste

TerraCycle Electronic Waste Recycling
TerraCycle Electronic Waste Recycling

TerraCycle has created a free and easy way to recycle certain types of electronic waste. Shipments of at least 10 devices will be awarded TerraCycle points based on the contents of the shipment.

Sell Old Electronics to Someone Who Can Still Use Them

Of course, just because you personally stopped using your old electronics, doesn’t always mean that they don’t still have usable life left in them. You may be able to sell your old items for cash to someone who doesn’t need the latest technology (or someone who can easily repair a broken item).

These options may be best when you are not in the market to purchase anything new, and don’t necessarily want or need new product discounts, gift cards, or loyalty points.

1. eBay

eBay is one of the largest marketplaces for used items (they sell a cell phone every 4 seconds!). You are required to create a listing and process the shipping, but you will have access to a large global audience.

2. Gazelle

Gazelle Electronics Buy and Sell Mobile Devices
Gazelle Electronics Buy and Sell Mobile Devices

Gazelle has paid out over $25 million for consumer electronics. Get a quote for your device in a less than a minute, ship for free (or use a kiosk), and choose a preferred method for fast payment.

3. Recyclebank

Recyclebank offers a points system for recycling and recycling related activities, which you can then use for discounts and merchandise from over 4,000 partners

4. NextWorth 

NextWorth has processed over 3 million trade-ins during their 12 years of business and paid out of $210 million dollars! Sell your used devices through both online and in-store programs.

Other Free Recycling Options 

While no points or monetary incentives are given with these programs, you can rest easy knowing that your waste does not end up in landfills or polluting the environment. These programs are free to use and the stores can be found in multiple locations.

1. Grand & Toy (Canada)

THINK is Grand & Toy’s ink & toner recycling solution for the office. They will collect your empty ink & toner cartridges and remanufacture them where possible – recycling all others that cannot go through the remanufacturing process.

2. LG 

LG has a recycling program for all LG branded products, including LG, Zenith, and Goldstar. You can look up drop off locations online or choose a no-cost mail back program. Additionally, they will recycle used packaging for their products!

3. Rechargeable Batteries & Cell Phones

Rechargeable batteries can be dropped off or sent in for free recycling via the Call2Recycle program.

4. Samsung

Samsung provides convenient and responsible takeback options for consumer electronic products. Different options are available depending on the product and location of the consumer. Learn more online.

5. Sony

To encourage the proper disposal of electronic products and batteries, Sony introduced the Take Back Recycling Program to offer free recycling of unwanted Sony® products in the United States and Canada. For more information, visit their recycling program website.

6. Xerox 

Xerox customers have returned more than 2.5 million cartridges and toner containers annually through the Green World Alliance recycling program. This has kept more than 145 million pounds of waste out of landfills over the past 20 years!

Other recycling options may exist in your local area. For example, Lowe’s and Home Depot offer free recycling of certain products at my local stores (including light bulbs and plastic bags), although participation is not nationwide and varies by store location. Check with your local store to see if they have bins to recycle toxic waste products including fluorescent bulbs and CFLs.

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In addition to all the great places that you can be rewarded for recycling electronic waste items, be sure to check out the places you can be rewarded for recycling old beauty products and containers, recycling household waste, and recycling clothing items & shoes.