How To Recycle Electronics The Right Way

How to recycle electronicsWe love all of our electronic devices, from laptops to TVs, and smartphones to tablets, each one brings us a certain amount of joy.

But, in the end, they all reach the end of their lives. And this can be a massive problem for us and the planet.

Let me explain:

It’s thought around 40 million tons of electronic waste gets generated each year.

The World Counts claims that to be the equivalent of throwing away 800 laptops every second, how crazy is it?

And to make matters worse, only 12.5% of electronic waste gets recycled; this needs to change and quickly. So today, I’m going to talk you through the ins and outs of how to recycle electronics.

But before we get into that, I want to give you more reasons why we need to start recycling our electronic equipment.

Why We Should Recycle Old Electronics?

A good starting point is the materials wasted when we send our old laptop or mobile phone to a landfill site.

Electronics such as mobile phones, tablets, and computers all have precious metals inside; this includes Gold, Silver, And Copper.

Gold on electronics

This is a colossal waste of raw materials!

Precious metals are running low and becoming harder than ever to mine. Recycling your used electronics reduces the need for pulling more raw materials out the ground.

In turn, this can help lower carbon footprints, as well as reducing the number of pollutants hitting our waterways.

On top of that, you’ve got to think of the money that’s getting wasted.

Gold and Silver are some of the most valuable materials we use, and for them to end up at a landfill site is such a waste. By recycling more, we can open up jobs that weren’t available to use beforehand.

So, not only does recycling our old electronic generate incomes for people, but it also stops the need for more raw materials being harvested, which in the end, saves a lot of energy.

Then we get into the toxicity of these materials. Old electronics often have a range of harmful materials inside; this can range from:

  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Cadmium
  • Beryllium
  • Polyvinylchloride
  • Chromium

When sent to the landfill, these chemicals can cause severe damage. The thing is, these materials can leach their toxins into the ground, waterways, and in some cases, the air. And I’m sure we can all agree, this is not good for anyone.

These chemicals are so toxic 25 states have made it illegal to throw away your old electronics for this very reason.

Hopefully, this section has made you understand the importance of recycling electronics. I suppose now you’re wondering, “How do I recycle my old electronics?”

How Do You Dispose Of Electronics Correctly?

electronics being recycledRecycling electronic items really couldn’t be more accessible in today’s climate. But, there are a few things you need to do beforehand.

To start with, you need to ensure any personal information is deleted from the devices. For a smartphone, your best option is to perform a factory reset.

This way, all the information that may have been stored on the phone will be deleted.

But before you do this, make sure anything you want to keep has been stored on a cloud service. Once the factory reset is completed, the data is gone forever.

For a computer, things work a little bit differently; it involves breaking the plates inside the hard drive to ensure the data cannot get stolen.

To do this, you can follow this simple video:

By following these tips, you can ensure no critical information can be stolen from the hard drive. You’ll also be ready to start the next step, electronic recycling.

When it comes to recycling you’re old electronics; you have quite a few options at your disposal. Let’s take a closer look:

1) Locate An Electronic Recycler

It’s one of the most common methods, but can be quite tricky without any help. I tend to use the Earth 911 website. They have a massive database of recycling centers, and they’ll tell you exactly what each place recycles.

Earth 911 search page

All you need to do is enter your zip code and the items you want to recycle, and their database will find the closest location to you.

2) E-Waste Collection Events

In the battle against E-Waste, some cities and districts will hold specific events to help citizens of the area rid themselves of their old electronics, at least this way they know the electronics are being disposed of correctly.

Electronic recycling event

To find out when you’re next local event is being organized, you can call your cities services department or check their website. From there, they can tell you what electronics are getting accepted and where the event is taking place.

3) Take Them To A Trade-In Or Take-Back Program

They’re great at recycling your old products and getting something back for it. Think of it this way, if you’re planning on upgrading one of your electronic devices, isn’t it nice to get some money off your new products?

Apple Trade in program

With a quick Google search, you can find manufacturers and retailers that offer a trade-in service. Even companies like Apple and Amazon are offering a service where you mail in your old goods in exchange for gift cards.

4) Retailer Recycling Programs

Recycling has become a big business, which has enticed a few major retailers to start their own recycling programs. Make sure you check with the store which electronics they expect before you head down there.

mobile phone recycling

Some shops will also have Call2Recycle drop boxes just within the doors of the shop. These boxes usually get used to recycle old batteries and cell phones.

5) Sell Your Electronics

Recycling your old electronic equipment doesn’t always involve destroying the device and finding a new purpose for it. If they still work, why not sell them?


Places like eBay and Facebook marketplace are great places to get rid of your old cell phones, laptops, and more. The best bit is, you make some money back on the products, and they don’t end up in a landfill site. It really is a win-win situation.

6) Donate Your Electronics

If you’re feeling generous, you could always donate your devices to charity instead of throwing them away, at least this way someone will get as much joy as you did.


There’re plenty of donation programs that will be more than happy to recycle old electronics for you. The best options are always non-profit organizations; here are some of the ones I use:

Before you start sending them products, make sure it’s something they except/needs.


recycling electronicsAs you can see, if you need your electronics recycling, it really isn’t that hard. The important thing is they get recycled.

We’re already having serious problems with trash at landfills without making it all worse. More recycling we do, the better for the planet.

Finding a place for your recycled electronics is easy; all you have to do is follow the guide above. But remember, make sure any critical information is deleted from the device. People will look for products they might be able to steal information from.

If you have any questions about electronics recycling, then feel free to comment below, and I can give you some more information.

If you’re looking for more products to recycle, then you should check out this list of recyclable items; you’ll find everything your need there and more.


Is It Illegal To Throw Away Electronics?

In some places, it is illegal to throw away you’re old electronics. In fact, 25 states, including California, have made it completely illegal to throw away any products which you can recycle. This means you’ll have to find a recycling program near you.

Does Best Buy Recycle Electronics?

Yes, Best Buy does recycle electronics, and since they started, they have become the most comprehensive electronic recycling program in the USA. They claim to collect close to 400lbs of waste every minute; this is mainly due to them being one of the largest electronic retailers.

Instead of adding to the waste problem, they wanted to become apart of the solution. By the end of 2020, Best Buy has set a goal of recycling 2 billion pounds of electronic waste.

Recycling your electronics at best buy couldn’t be more straightforward. You could start at the recycling kiosks which are located just inside the shop near the front doors of every shop. You could also go to the customer service desk, or arrange for Best Buy to pick it up after they drop off your new item.

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