“E-waste” is the fastest-growing source of consumer trash. But don’t dump your old computers, cell phones and other devices in a landfill. Your trash could be someone else’s treasure.
Buyers at eBay and Amazon.com are always looking for deals. Mike Hadad, owner of an iSold It outlet in Gaithersburg, Md., says he sells most of the electronics he gets on eBay, but he tends to place new or nearly new items on Amazon, where they usually fetch a higher price. Anyone can become a seller on eBay or Amazon. If you don’t want the hassle of listing and shipping your items, find an online trading assistant at http://ebaytradingassistant.com. ISold It franchises usually take about a third of the sale price.
Capstone Wireless buys back all varieties of cell phones, as long as they power up and have a good LCD display. Gazelle.com buys more than 20 categories of electronics. Apple offers a gift card in exchange for reusable Apple computers.
To establish the value of donated items, use ItsDeductible (free at www.turbotax.com). To clear your computer’s hard drive, use a free disk-wiping product, such as Active@KillDisk or Darik’s Boot and Nuke.
Some retailers and many manufacturers take back electronics for recycling or resale. Best Buy stores accept most electronics. Staples stores take personal electronics (such as PDAs, cell phones and digital cameras) free but charge $10 to take back office electronics. Call2Recycle picks up cell phones and rechargeable batteries from many locations, including Radio Shack and Home Depot stores (to find the nearest drop-off location, visit www.call2recycle.org).
For manufacturers’ take-back programs, visit the Web site of the Electronics TakeBack Coalition. Dell partners with Staples and Goodwill to collect Dell products in their stores. To find other places to recycle electronics, visit www.earth911.com and search by zip code. Of course, you can always give your e-trash away to someone who wants it. Join your local Freecycle group.