What To Do with Old or Broken Electronics
Written by: Haley Kaiser of ZOG Digital, Inc.
If you’re located outside of Miami or Florida, don’t fret – the information and resources still apply to you! (Refer to resource list at the end of the article.)
As people in the modern age, we tend to collect clutter based on what-ifs and maybes. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just natural for us to want to prepare for something and have it when we need it.
It’s why we save old phones after replacing them with a new one. What if it breaks? The unfortunate side effect of this is that we slowly have a stack of old smartphones piling up in the back of a closet, or tablets in the bottom of a desk drawer, or a crashed computer in a spare room. All these electronics still have some value or use to them, it’s just a matter of finding out what.
Here’s a guide to give you some ideas on what to do with your out-of-date GPS devices and MP3s.
Begin with determining age and condition
What you do with your old electronics is going to be determined by two factors: age, and condition. The fact is, that usually anything not in working condition isn’t going anywhere but the junk pile.
The exception to this rule is things with modular parts, like a desktop computer. If some parts are good and others aren’t, see if you can separate it and deal with it piecemeal. Likewise, with your truly old devices.
Resign yourself to the fact that, usually if it’s approaching a decade in terms of age, it’s probably going to be recycled. Technology moves quickly and leaves its elders behind. This leaves your electronics that are about five-ish years old or nearly new and in good working order. For these, you’re going to have a few options.
Option 1: Make a little cash
Option number one: sell it. You’re almost certainly not going to sell it for retail value, but maybe you can put a portion of it back in your wallet. Plenty of retailers have opportunities for you to resell or exchange old electronics for cash or store credit.
Most Best Buys have this sort of exchange available for drop-off at the store’s location. Other services, such as those through Target, have you ship them off, sometimes requiring you to purchase a box and pack it yourself. If any of your old electronics happen to be Apple products, you might be better off with Gazelle, a service specifically designed for the sale of used Apple products.
Ebay is also going to be your friend but be mindful of how much shipping may cost. It may not be so profitable once you need to send it off. Ebay also presents a charity option, if you’re feeling charitable with your gains.
The important part of selling is to browse your options. Many of these sites and services will offer different prices on each item. So, be sure to check the listing on each one you’re using and if it works out to your benefit, use multiple.
Option 2: Donate to those in need
Your second option is donating. This isn’t going to reimburse you the cost of the electronics, but plenty of charities need things like cell phones, computers, laptops, and GPS devices.
The Cell Phones for Soldiers is a notable charity that will take old, but still functional, cell phones for charity. The donated phones go to serving troops and veterans with free communication. Conveniently, they have both drop box options or they will send you a shipping label, removing any extra hassle on your part.
Cell Phone for Soldiers Drop Off Locations in Miami:
1. Brickell Place Condo Association: 1901 Brickell Avenue Miami, FL
2. Liberty Tax Service: 3001 NW 7th St Miami, FL
3. Armed Forces Service Center: 4200 NW 21st St Miami, FL
(Fine more locations in the Cell Phone for Soldiers directory)
For computers or laptop, Dell Reconnect takes any brand—not just Dell. They strip for parts or refurbish machines for use by charity groups in need of hardware. Dell Reconnect likes to partner with Goodwill, making most Goodwill locations good for hardware drop-offs.
Make sure any electronics you end up donating have been cleared. Wipe your phone and any SD cards in them and clear the hard drives on any computers or laptops. You don’t want your personal information floating around.
Option 3: Recycle or dispose safely
Recycling and junking is your option for everything left over. Particularly for those electronics that don’t work and take up a lot of your space. Consider hiring a service to dispose of it for you, take 1-800-GOT-JUNK? for example. They’ll collect more than just electronics if you have any other clutter to get rid of in one swoop. They’ll do the diligence of finding the most appropriate ways of disposing of your electronics without any extra issue on your part.
Eco-friendly recycling and disposal is especially important when dealing with electronics because computer and phone parts can degrade in hazardous ways. Especially old and degraded electronics that often have mercury or lead in them.
Also available are services like Call2Recycle, which offers safe disposal of cell phones and other electronics with rechargeable batteries. Again, it’s very important that you reset your devices to factory settings or clear all your information off them before they leave your home to prevent any personal information from getting into the hands of someone else.
If getting rid of your old electronics is just one of your organization worries, let us help you. See our Services page to learn more about what we can do for you.
Again, for those located somewhere other than Miami or Florida, use the resources below to find the services previously mentioned that are near you.