Where to Recycle Electronics

Here are a few places where you can recycle your old electronics safely.

Not only are electronics made of valuable materials — metals, plastics, glass — but the energy required to create them is significant. According the the US EPA, recycling one million laptops saves enough energy to power 3500 homes for a year. And the Natural Resources Defense Council estimated US citizens tossed 130,000 computers a day and 100 million cellphones each year.

If you cannot upgrade the hardware or software of your electronics, enough to meet your needs, be sure to delete all personal information and contacts. Eraser for Windows can delete data safely. Mac computers have built-in erasure software. Also remove the batteries before you recycle so they can be recycled separately.

With your old electronics cleaned and batteries removed, the next question is where to recycle. The risk is your equipment will be shipped overseas and become a toxic waste threat in a third world country.

In addition to the resources described below, Apple, Toshiba, Dell, and other manufacturers have recycling programs and the Technology Industry Association (TIA) also maintains a searchable list of recyclers. Amazon, GameStop, Gazelle, and other companies also offer trade-ins for old phones and other electronics. With trade-ins, however, you are not recycling the device and it is unclear how any toxic metals will eventually be disposed. Plus an estimated thirty percent of electronics turned in for recycling are instead refurbished and resold, to extend their useful life and value of resources used to create them.

GameStop, Apple, Amazon, Dell, and other companies have figured out refurbishing then reselling old electronics is a reliable revenue stream. My kids routinely turn old games into GameStop for money to buy new games they want. Be sure to check those options, too.

Also check for local organizations that recycle electronics. Searching online for electronics recycling with your zip code should yield local listings. Best Buy stores and Staples take batteries and used print cartridges.

If you're interested in standards for recycling electronics, for example, to ensure your electronics don't wind up causing cancer in a third world country, the Basel Action Network has an e-Stewards certification program for recyclers.

Links to all resources are at the bottom of this article.


They recycle batteries and cellphones in North America.


Their website provides local listings where you can recycle electronics and batteries. They also publish articles about how to live a low waste lifestyle.


Provided by the Consumer Electronics Association, an industry trade group, this site has a search engine to find local electonic recyclers and articles on how to recycle.


If you have young kids into games, you know GameStop lets them trade in their games and handheld devices to buy games.

Best Buy and Staples

If you have one or both of these big box stores nearby, be sure to check out what they allow you to recycle. Best Buy, for example, lets you recycle cables as well as batteries and some electronic devices.

Learn More










Needs to have a Target Mobile store if you trade in a store, online otherwise.

Best Buy Recycling


Staples Recycling


Consumer Reports Articles on Recycling Electronics


Dell Computer Recycling


Toshiba Recycling


Apple Recycling


Amazon Trade-In Program


Gazelle Trade-In Program


Basel Action Network


Eraser (Windows)


US Government Resources


What Happens to Your Electronics When You Drop Them Off for Recycling


Electronic Waste: Where Does It Go and What Happens to It?



  • Tim Slavin

    Tim is an award-winning writer and technologist who enjoys teaching tech to non-technical people. He has many years experience with web sites and applications in business, technical, and creative roles. He and his wife have two kids, now teenagers, who are mad about video games.

Also In The December 2013 Issue

Siblings Pete and Alexa Ingram-Cauchi Talk iD Tech and Tech Summer Camps

They talk about how they started and run iDTech summer camps together and how parents can evaluate tech summer camps.

Where to Recycle Electronics

Here are a few places where you can recycle your old electronics safely.

What is a High Level Language?

What are the differences between high level languages and machine languages? And how do these differences impact coding?

An Interview with Boone Gorges

Learn how a humanities PhD became a software programmer who builds online communities for universities, as well as Lead Developer for BuddyPress and helping to create WordPress plugins like Anthologize and Participad.

How to Make (and Keep) New Years Resolutions

A few great ideas on how to make New Year's resolution you might actually keep, and have fun doing so. Whether you like structure or hate it, here are a few approaches and a number of resources to help.

News Wire Stories for December/January

Interesting stories about computer science, software programming, and technology for the month of November 2013.

No computer has ever been designed that is ever aware of what it’s doing; but most of the time, we aren’t either.

The Hungry Camel

How many measures of grain can one camel eat while delivering grain, before the camel runs out of grain to deliver? A fun math problem at least 1,000 years old.

How to Do Online Research

Online research skills are critical for software programmers. It's how you learn any language, by searching for error messages and looking up reference material.


Almost all programming languages include the ability to add comments and other notes in your code. Here's how several languages work with comments.

Take Out the Garbage

In the same way your bedroom may be impossible to enter if you let dirty clothes pile up, computers can crash and refuse to operate if their memory is stuffed with unused data.

bin, boot, opt, and Linux File System Hierarchy Mysteries

The Linux directory structure looks confusing compared to Windows. Here are the names and purpose of each directory.

What is Localhost?

Localhost is available on most computers, usually to display web pages. It's also useful to use to learn coding on your computer.

The Paywall and Adding Voices to Help Kids Code

With this issue, you will find some articles require subscription. Here's an explanation and how you can help add writers and voices to future issues of this magazine.

Learn More Links for December 2013/January 2014

Links from the bottom of all the December 2013/January 2014 articles, collected in one place for you to print, share, or bookmark.

Interested but not ready to subscribe? Sign-up for our free monthly email newsletter with curated site content and a new issue email announcement that we send every two months.

No, thanks!