Approximately 2 million tons of old electronics wind up in landfills in the United States every year, and around 50 million tons are discarded worldwide.
You have a number of options to help reverse this trend through donating or recycling products.
Many electronics stores and libraries have donation bins where you can drop off your used phone. Wireless carriers also accept used phones. For more information visit Wireless... The New Recyclable or view the resources below.
To redeem your cell phones for cash Cell Phone Redemption
If you are buying the same brand of computer as your old one, most manufacturers will take your old one back. If you are buying a new computer, check whether the manufacturer or retailer has a recycling or take back program before you make your final decision.
Another option is to donate your computer to the needy, to a library, or to a school. To find a way to donate your computer, check with the National Cristina Foundation.
If the manufacturer your printer cartridge has a recycling or send-back program, take advantage of it. Some retails stores offer discounts and refills for cartridges
Finding a Recycler
The Basel Action Network provides information on its website for finding reputable recyclers. Other resources include:
- Earth 911 - Earth 911 is a comprehensive communication medium for the environment. Earth 911 has taken environmental hotlines, web sites and other information sources nationwide, and consolidated them into one network. Once you contact the Earth 911 network, you will find community-specific information on eCycling and much more.
- My Green Electronics - Provided by the Consumer Electronics Association, this site is a resource for consumers wishing to purchase green products and/or searching for local opportunities to recycle or donate used electronics.
- Electronic Industries Alliance's Consumer Education Initiative - The Electronic Industries Alliance's eCycling Central website helps you find reuse, recycling and donation programs for electronics products in your state.
- TechSoup - TechSoup has compiled a comprehensive body of information to promote computer recycling and reuse. This site provides resources for those who would like to donate hardware, those who would like to acquire recycled hardware, and refurbishers.
- Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC) - RBRC can help you recycle portable rechargeable batteries commonly found in cordless power tools, cellular and cordless phones, laptop computers, camcorders, digital cameras, and remote control toys. Search for collection sites by zip code.
Manufacturer and Retailer Programs
Manufacturers and retailers take different approaches to give you several options to donate or recycle your electronics. The following programs developed by EPA's Plug-In To eCycling partners may be national or regional in scope and may:
- Offer takeback, mail-in, or trade-in programs;
- Support local organizations that collect equipment;
- Host collection events at retail locations; or
- Support local recycling events with cities and municipalities.
AT&T Reuse and Recycle
- Reuse & Recycle Program offers you the option to bring unwanted cell phones, Personal Data Assistants (PDAs) and other accessories (regardless of the manufacturer or carrier) to an AT&T operated store or participating authorized dealer store near you. Use the store locater to find a participating store near you.
- For information on holding a cell phone recycling collection at your business or in your community, visit AT&T's online starter kit for donations.
- Drop off old cell phones, rechargeable batteries, and ink-jet cartridges at the free recycling kiosks located just inside the door of every US Best Buy store.
- New cell phone customers receive free, postage-paid envelopes to mail old phones to ReCellular, Best Buy's cell phone reuse/recycling partner.
- Grants are available for nonprofit organizations, cities, counties, or public-private partnerships to help increase the recycling opportunities of a broader array of electronic equipment (e.g., computers, TVs,) in communities across the country.
- Hosts and/or sponsors more than 100 weekend electronic recycling events each year at store parking lots across the US.
- RECONNECT (specific cities within California, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas only) is a comprehensive electronics recovery, reuse and environmentally responsible recycling partnership between Goodwill Industries and Dell, Inc. for consumers in participating communities.
- Recycling and Donation
- Asset Recovery Services
- Rethink Initiative provides information, tools and solutions that make it easy to find new users for idle computers and electronics, and responsibly recycle unwanted products.
- Product Recycling (including hardware, LaserJet supplies, and Inkjet supplies)
- Trade-In Program
- Hewlett-Packard/Compaq Asset Recovery Services
- Students Recycling Used Technology (StRUT) provides technology-based education for K-16 students through the process of refurbishing donated equipment for schools.
- Offers consumers a free mail-in recycling program for old cell phones and their accessories (any make or model). Simply box up your old phone and accessories, print off the pre-paid mailing label from their Web site and mail in the phone for recycling.
- Offers consumers the ability to print postage paid labels (PDF; 1 pg, 112K) from their Web site and mail in old devices (any make or model) free of charge
- Occasionally, Motorola offers incentives through programs such as Trade-Up, which allows customers to mail-in (prepaid label) or drop-off their old phones to be recycled and, with the purchase of a new Motorola phone, receive compensation for the value of their old phone.
- The Bag in a Box option offers postage paid recycling bags in new Motorola cell phone boxes. This option is supported by some network carriers and all direct sales by Motorola. Customers simply place their old phone in the bag and drop it in the mail.
- Race to Recycle offers accredited K-12 schools an opportunity to recycle cell phones (any brand) at the same time they raise funds for their school. Please visit Race to Recycle to learn how to set up a school cell phone recycling program. Even if you are not part of a school organization, you, your company or organization can participate -- Motorola distributes a portion of the proceeds generated from contributed intact cell phones to schools participating in the Race to Recycle program.
NEC Display Solutions
- Offers a free mail-in recycling program for old cell phones. Simply print a prepaid shipping label and send in your unwanted phones. Additionally, consumers can pick up a prepaid shipping envelope at any of the Nokia flagship stores in Chicago and New York.
- Tech Recycling Boxes ($5-$15 depending on size) are available at participating stores. You can fill the boxes with as many used consumer electronics (cell phones/PDAs, computers, televisions, etc) as will fit and drop the unsealed boxes off at any Office Depot store to be recycled.
- Every store has kiosks where consumers can drop off used cell phones, batteries and accessories.
- Offers a mail-in recycling program to customers who want to recycle Samsung cell phones and accessories. Simply box up your old phone and accessories, print off the pre-paid mailing label from the Web site and mail in the phone for recycling.
- Offers two cell phone recycling programs for consumers. You can participate in either program at no charge by visiting Sprint's website or a Sprint retail store. Use the store locater to find a participating store near you.
- The Sprint Buyback program] offers Sprint customers an account credit for returning eligible Sprint and Nextel models of phones.
- The Sprint Project Connect program is available to all consumers. It accepts wireless phones, batteries, accessories and connection cards for recycling - regardless of make, model, condition, or service provider.
- Sprint provides consumers with the free cell phone data eraser tool to clear any personal information from the phone.
- EcoEasy offers consumers in-store recycling of computers, monitors, printers, desktop copiers and other electronic waste for a fee of $10 per item
- All Staples stores offer in-store collection bins where consumers can drop-off cell phones, PDAs, chargers, other handheld electronics, and ink and toner cartridges for recycling ($3 rebates are available for some eligible toner cartridges).
- Handset Recycling Program offers both in-store drop-off locations and a mail-in recycling option for cell phones, PDAs, and accessories. To use the mail in option, simply box up your mobile devise and accessories, print off the [http://www.t-mobile.com/Cms/Files/Published/0000BDF20016F5DD010312E2BDE4AE9B/0000BDF20016F5DE010C40262F654476/file/TMO_PrePaid_HuddleUpTWSv2.pdf pre-paid mailing label (PDF); 1 pg, 1.2MB) from the Web site and mail in the phone for recycling.
- Postage paid recycling bags are included with all purchases. Customers can also pick up a recycling envelope at any T-Mobile store. Use the store locator to find a participating T-Mobile store in your area.
- Customers organizing a community or business based cell phone recycling drive, can order postage paid shipping boxes by sending an e-mail to email@example.com.
- Verizon Wireless' HopeLine program collects no-longer-used wireless phones and equipment in any condition from any service provider. The used phones are either refurbished for reuse or recycled. Used phones can be returned to any Verizon Wireless retail store across the country. Use the Store Locator to find the Verizon store closest to you.
- Wireless phones and equipment donations can also be sent to:
- Verizon Wireless HopeLine
- c/o ReCellular Inc
- 2555 Bishop Circle W.
- Dexter, MI 48130
Government-Supported Donation and Recycling Programs
Preventing waste in the first place is usually preferable to any waste management option...including recycling. When you outgrow your computers, cell phones and other equipment, and pass them on to new users, that's reuse. Learn more about the benefits of Reusing and Donating Electronics. If donation for reuse or repair is no longer practical, you can send your used electronics for recycling. Electronic equipment can be recycled for recovery of metals, plastics, glass and other materials. To find a program in your community, you might want to start with your state or local government's Web site. The following Web sites provide examples of government-supported ecycling programs and additional sources of information:
- e-cycle St. Louis: Electronics Recycling for the Region - This consumer electronics collection program has been developed by the St. Louis Regional Partnership for Electronics Recovery to encourage reuse and recycling of unwanted electronics in the St. Louis region.
- eRecycle.org - This Web site provides guidance and information to consumers in California about recycling electronics.
- Federal Electronic Challenge - If you are a government agency or a business, check out the Federal Electronics Challenge for tools on how a large institution can donate or recycle its used electronics.
- www.ecyclingtools.com - This resource kit provides information on the entire lifecycle of electronics and contains useful information to help you address your e-waste concerns.