Donate or Recycle Electronics

Donate or recycle electronics and do your part to protect the environment by keeping reusable and potentially hazardous materials out of landfills. 

Electronics have come to be viewed as disposable.   Technology is constantly evolving with newer, cooler, more high tech gadgets regularly being unveiled.  As a result, all things electronic quickly become outdated.   Consequently, electronics refuse is increasing at an alarming rate. 

Many of the components used in the manufacture of electronics are recyclable.  There are numerous options available to donate or recycle electronics when the time comes to upgrade.  Here are just a few of the many organizations, retailers, and manufacturers who collect used electronics either for reuse or recycling.

General Electronics Recycling


Here is a one-stop spot to donate or recycle electronics.  Eco-Cell offers fundraising through recycling cell phones and other handheld electronics to include laptop computers, e-readers, GPS, mp3 players, handheld game systems, digital cameras, and portable hard drives.

E-Cycling Central

To use this resource, simply click on your state, type in your location, and view a list of organizations in your area that collect/recycle electronics.  Organizations are classified according to type (non-profit, refurbisher/reseller, private recycler, municipal recycler, national program, etc.). 

Electronics and Appliance Recycling at Best Buy

Best Buy is the nation's largest retail recycler of electronics and appliances, having responsibly disposed of more than 1 billion pounds of electronics and appliances. The list of items they accept for recycling is lengthy and includes not only phones, computers, and other typical electronics, but also such things as curling irons, vacuum cleaners, and much more. Click the link for a complete list of options.

In addition to recycling, Best Buy also offers payment (in the form of a Best Buy gift card) for used electronics, so be sure to check on the value of your item before you recycle it.

Incentive Programs

Several companies offer incentives to consumers when you donate or recycle electronics.  Companies who offer buy-backs or other forms of incentives include:

  •  receive an gift card in exchange for trade-ins which are not limited to electronics but include books, DVDs, CDs, and video games.  See the site for details.
  • Best Buy   trade in your electronics and receive a Best Buy gift card.  If your item has no trade in value, Best Buy will recycle it for you.  Their policy is: If we've carried it, we'll take it, no matter where you bought it.
  • Gazelle – sell your phone, iPad, or Mac
  • Hewlett-Packard  choose whether you would like to receive cash or an HP gift card for your recycled items.  You also have the option to donate the items to charity.
  • Next Worth sell iPhones, iPads, iPods, cameras, gaming systems, tablets, e-readers, GPS, and more.
  • Staples  get $2 in Staples Rewards® for every ink and toner cartridge you recycle.  They also offer free recycling of office electronics (to include TVs) in conjunction with HP.

Recycling: The Responsible Way to Declutter

Electronics are by no means the only thing that can be recycled. In fact, just about anything can be recycled these days. This article (Recycling Really Matters) outlines the pros and cons of recycling and what each of us can do to contribute to the recycling effort. 

Computer Recycling

Before You Get Rid of Your Computer

  • Consider extending the life of your system by upgrading the hardware and/or software
  • Remove all personal information and files from your electronics before passing them on
  • Remember to include all cords, batteries, and other accessories with your donation. 

Computer Recycling Center (CRC)

CRC promotes the reuse of computers, recycles unusable items to keep them out of landfills, and donates to Computers & Education.  Multiple drop-off locations are available in California (Santa Rosa, San Francisco, and Sunnyvale).  CRC accepts all laptops, working and non-working.  Mail them your laptop and they will reimburse the cost of shipping and provide you with a receipt for your laptop which can be used for tax purposes. 

Note:  Here I have listed a specific computer recycling center, but there are numerous centers of a similar nature located around the country.  Contact your local refuse company for information on a center in your area. 

Dell Reconnect

Dell has partnered with Goodwill in a residential computer recycling program.  Drop off any brand of computer at a participating Goodwill.  Not all Goodwill donation centers accept computers, so call in advance.

Electronics Manufacturers and Retailers

Many electronics manufacturers and retailers now offer a variety of options for those who want to donate or recycle electronics.  These include in-store, online, mail-in, and event recycling options as well as permanent drop-off locations.  Some examples of companies who offer such programs include Best Buy, Staples, Dell, LG, Nokia, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, and Sprint.  Find out more information at

iOS Recycling Program

Donate your old iPad, iTouch, or iPhone.  Donations go to promote technology use in classrooms. 

National Cristina Foundation

The National Cristina Foundation works to provide opportunities for people with disabilities, students at risk and economically disadvantaged persons by providing access to technology.  Click the ‘Donate My Computer’ button on their home page or select the ‘Donate Now’ tab to get to their ‘Non-Profit Locator’ which will provide you with contact information for a non-profit organization near you where you can donate or recycle electronics.  They accept not only computers but also components (monitor, keyboard, etc.), and other electronic devices (answering machine, printer, fax, copier, scanner, digital camera, and more).  

Cell Phone Recycling

911 Cell Phone Bank

This charitable organization provides emergency cell phones for victims' services organizations throughout the United States.  


These guys recycle rechargeable batteries and cell phones.  Type in your address and a radius and find a drop-off location near you.  I typed in my location (small Midwestern town) and got no less than 75 drop-off locations within a 25 mile radius. 

Cellular Recycler

Dedicated to keeping cell phones out of landfills, Cellular Recycler accepts all used cell phones no matter the condition. Print out a shipping label on their website to mail your old phone(s). 

They pay for every cell phone they receive – from $0.25 to $80 depending on the age, condition and value of the phone.  If your shipment is worth less than $7.50 you will not receive a check – this offsets the cost of shipping (shipping will still be free).   

Hopeline (Verizon)

Since it's inception in October 2001, HopeLine has donated hundreds of thousands of phones to support victims of domestic abuse. Verizon accepts donations of no-longer-used phones in any condition from any provider. They also take battery chargers and accessories. The phones are refurbished or recycled in environmentally safe ways, and the proceeds go to support domestic violence awareness and prevention programs.

In addition, Verizon donates wireless phones, complete with service and data, to local domestic violence shelters and non-profit organizations and agencies for use by victims and survivors. These phones serve as a vital link to support services and provide a safe line of communication to family, loved ones and employers.

GRC Wireless

GRC Wireless offers three options for recycling used cell phones: a Cell Phone Fundraising Program, a Cell Phone Buy Back Program, and a Cell Phone Donation Program the proceeds of which go to support Operation Gratitude which provides care packages to soldiers.


Help fight human trafficking and help the environment at the same time when you donate your used cell phone to Phones4Freedom.

Recycle Through Your Cellular Provider

Most cellular service providers offer some sort of trade-in or recycling program for used cell phones.  Many use the donated phones to support charities.  Here are a few examples.  

Computers, televisions and cell phones are considered hazardous waste in many states making them illegal to deposit in landfills.  In other words, you can’t just toss them out with the trash, but that's OK!  There are many other excellent options available to donate or recycle electronics.

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