April 9, 2011


I’m a little behind the curve when it comes to electronics and technology. I mean, I have a computer (obviously), I have a old (old) cell phone, and I have an iTouch (mostly because I killed my Palm a while back by dropping it one too many times). I’ll probably give up both the cell phone and iTouch within the next year in favor of a smart phone of some sort. The cell phone is easy enough to recycle – I can take it to my local library or police precinct, who will then send it off to be cleaned up and donated to a women’s or family shelter. The iTouch is a little trickier. It’s not a phone, so it can’t be reused that way. It’s also not the latest, hottest, hippest version on the market, so it’s got limited resale value. Heck, at this point, it might even be difficult to donate to much of anyone. If you’re into personal technology at all, you’re likely aware the iPad 2 has been released, within a year of the original. So what happens to all those original iPads people bought? Do you chuck ‘em in the trash? Holy cow, I hope not.

So what do you do with your old iPad, iTouch, or other fancy electronic gadget?

-->Hang on to it as a back-up. You never know when you might drop the new one or spill your soda all over it.

-->Sell it to someone who wants it. Try Craigslist, eBay, a garage sale, an electronics website, even a note on the bulletin board at work or school. Maybe they don’t need the latest, fanciest model. Maybe they’re looking for something for their kids. Maybe they’re looking for a quick replacement after theirs broke. Maybe they’re looking for antiques. As long as they’re willing to pay, you’re good to go.

-->See if you can get store credit. If you’re planning to get the newest, hippest version, see if the electronics store will take your older version in as a trade-in.

-->Speaking of trade-in, maybe you can trade your old electronics for something you want or need. Check out Craigslist, U-Exchange, or Care-to-Trade and trade your old iPad for a couple of hours of someone painting your house, or maybe for a set of weights, or possibly for guitar lessons.

-->Find out if the manufacturer has a recycling program. Apple, for instance, will take their products, working or not, back by mail or in their stores. According to their website, if the item you send them has monetary value, they’ll give you credit towards a new product. If the item doesn’t, they’ll “recycle it responsibly for you”.

-->Donate it. Schools are finding more and more uses for iPads and iTouches. Special Education departments would especially love to use your old electronics to use with children with Autism and communication disorders. Libraries and senior centers would also love to have them. Help save the world –and- take a tax deduction.

-->What if the gadget no longer works? What if it’s flat-out broke, busted, kaput, dead? That’s still no reason to throw it in the garbage! In the Portland (OR) area, you can also take your items to Free Geek to help support the Portland non-profit dedicated to recycling electronics, providing Internet access and education to everyone, and teaching computer-related job skills to anyone who wants to learn, all in exchange for community service. For the rest of the US - Best Buy also has an electronics recycling program. They don’t even care what brand it is or where you bought it or what it is (for the most part – as always, double-check with their e-cycling info first). You can also check out the electronics section on Earth911’s ideas for reusing and recycling electronics.

Consider reading:
Donate your iPad, be a hero…: Tainted Green
Find a recycling center near you: Earth911
iThink this will add to eWaste: Australian Broadcasting Corporation

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for all the e-cycling info! This is such an ongoing problem in our house. I also have problems with knowing what to do with broken things that are part plastic, part ... other. Like toys or gadgets that can't easily be broken down into parts. More instructive posts like this would be great!