You can recycle your old phones, laptops, batteries and cameras for free.  that's how

You can recycle your old phones, laptops, batteries and cameras for free. that’s how

New phones, tablets, laptops come out every year. Upgrade your tech and your old device is picked up in the gadget graveyard in the house. You probably have a drawer full of old batteries and cables, and some old phoneslaptops and desktops around, depending on how often you update your equipment.

We all cling to outdated technology for our own reasons: I still have my first one Nokia phone lock hidden for the sake of nostalgia. There are also several ways to do this reuse old devices for your smart homeusing them as security cameras and more.

Whatever the technology, when it’s finally time to say goodbye, there is a right way to dispose of your old gadgets and there are many wrong ways. We will show you which is which.

What to do before getting rid of a device

When you’re done with a gadget, make sure it’s done with you too. Make sure you back up everything you want from the device (photos, videos, songs) and then do a factory reset. Here are a couple of CNET articles to help clarify the finer points of cleaning a device:

Here are the best places to recycle, reuse, or breathe new life into your old technology:

Smartphone recycling

Smartphone Recycling allows you to print a free FedEx shipping label or request a recycling kit. You ship your old smartphone and you may even get paid, depending on the condition and age of the device. Smartphone Recycling accepts devices in bulk, so you must ship at least 10. Depending on how long you have accumulated phones, you may reach this quota on your own. If not, check with friends and family and make it a group effort.

If you’ve succumbed to the new gadget’s siren song, even if your current device wasn’t in the last stage, we’re not here to judge.

Woot / Screenshot by CNET

What can you recycle:

Smartphone Recycling accepts smartphones, mobile phones, MacBooks, tablets, iPhones, iPads, iPods and Apple Watches, as well as batteries connected or installed in devices.

Best buy

Best Buy accepts a wide range of technology products and typically takes three items per house per day. The specifics may vary depending on where you live, but you can check with the state-specific recycling information drop-down menu on the site.

Best Buy also offers a carry option for larger appliances such as TVs, dishwashers, freezers, microwaves, treadmills, and exercise bikes. If you have ordered a new product, Best Buy will take the old one away for recycling. There is also a self-transport option which costs $ 200. You can take two large items and an unlimited number of smaller items with you, with some exceptions.

What can you recycle:

Best Buy may contain TVs, cables and chargers, media players, projectors, laptops, hard drives, webcams, cell phones, calculators, radios, desk phones, headphones, vacuums, fans, ink and toner cartridges, alarm clocks, speaker systems, e-readers, game consoles, memory cards, camcorders, digital cameras, GPS devices and more.

Four Amazon Fire HD 8 tablets in different colors

If you don’t want to recycle your tablet, there are places to donate technology.


Paper clips

The Staples office supply store also offers free recycling options for old technology. Staples accepts up to seven items per customer per day. The company also has various transportation, chauffeured and pallet pickup options as well as prepaid address labels available.

What can you recycle:

Staples can recycle accessories, adapters, cables, computers, cordless and cell phones, digital cameras, laptops, routers, tablets, webcams, ink and toner, and other office technology items.

Home storage

Home Depot has an explanation on its website on how to safely dispose of dead batteries, old paint, electronics, and other items, as well as tips for upcycling and reuse. According to, services are drop-offs for residential customers only.

What can you recycle:

According to, Home Depot accepts household alkaline batteries (AA, AAA, C, D, 9V), lithium-ion batteries, nickel-cadmium batteries, rechargeable household batteries, cell phones, and LED bulbs.

United States Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA doesn’t handle recycling and delivery the same way other businesses do, but it does have a practical guide that makes it easy to get the information you need. The EPA directory breaks down donation and recycling by electronic device, company name, logo, and any additional details.

What can you recycle:

Again, the EPA directory links you to specific companies and their policies, but according to the list, you can recycle and donate mobile devices, PCs, and TVs, as well as imaging equipment and supplies.

Coalition for the withdrawal of electronics

Like the EPA, Electronics Take-Back Coalition makes it easy to find manufacturer take-back programs in the United States. You can browse take-back program summaries from 25 companies, including Acer, Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Panasonic, Sony, and more.

The Electronics Take-back Coalition does not take care of recycling, but can direct you to the right resource for your needs.

What can you recycle:

Depending on your company, you can find places to deliver iPhones, iPads, smartphones, monitors, computers, printers, keyboards, mice, DVD and VHS players, cameras, TVs, and more.

An Acer Chromebook open on a table

Your laptop can be recycled, donated or reused. We will tell you where to look.

Josh Goldman / CNET


EcoATM offers you a quote for your old phone that you can block on the mobile app using the IMEI number of your old device. EcoATM will ask a few questions about your device such as make, model, memory, carrier and condition before generating a quote. From there, you can visit one of the organization’s kiosks, located at stores such as Kroger, Walmart, and Dollar General.

What can you recycle:

EcoATM can help with iPhones, Samsung smartphones, tablets and MP3 players, Google Pixel phones, LG phones and tablets, Motorola phones, and ZTE phones. You can also recycle chargers and cell phone accessories as cases, but you won’t get paid for them.


Earth911 allows you to search by device and zip code to find the appropriate nearby locations to deliver old phones. When you visit your organization’s website, click Where to recycle at the top of the page to get started. Earth911 works with well-known companies such as Lowe’s and Target, as well as local recycling and waste centers.

What can you recycle:

Earth911 helps you find locations to recycle, but will also note the materials accepted by the location, regardless of whether it allows for return or pick-up for homes or businesses, as well as any additional information.

Recycling for charity

Recycling for Charities accepts technology donations, but donates a percentage of the device’s value to the charity of your choice. Scroll through a directory of charities, select one, enter the required information and click Donate. Charities receive anywhere between 25 cents and $ 100 from your items.

What can you recycle:

Wireless cell phones and their batteries, iPhones, wireless pagers, digital cameras, iPods, PDAs and Palm Pilots.


Call2Recycle is a battery-focused recycling program. The organization offers delivery options to locations such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Staples, as well as shipping boxes for batteries and cell phones. Drop-offs are free, but recycling kits and shipping boxes cost between $ 45 and $ 115, depending on the size.

What can you recycle:

Rechargeable batteries such as Nickel Cadmium, Nickel Metal Hydride, Lithium Ion, Nickel Zinc and Small Sealed Lead Acid weighing up to 11 lbs. Call2Recycle also accepts disposable batteries such as AA, AAA, 9V, C, D and button cell batteries weighing up to 11 lbs. The organization also accepts mobile phones and their batteries regardless of size, make, model or age.

For more information, check out five things you can recycle (and five things you can’t) e the right way to recycle plastic And the dos and don’ts of recycling metal cans.

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