How to Dispose of TechnoTrash

Electronic waste is often considered hazardous, but it may be reusable or recyclable.

Electronic waste is often considered hazardous, but it may be reusable or recyclable. Many states prohibit tossing your gadgets' rechargeable batteries in the trash can. You can drop them off at Best Buy or Staples stores.

Cell phones

Sell: Ship your old phone to, in Torrance, Cal., and within a few weeks you'll receive a check. The Web site provides instructions for erasing data and preparing the phone for a new owner.

Donate: To search for a drop-off location, visit You can download a free data-eraser program.

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Recycle: Find manufacturers' programs at, the Web site of CTIA-The Wireless Association.


Donate: If your computer is less than five years old, prepare it for donation by visiting (search for "Do the PC Thing: Donate Computers" for lists of refurbishers and disk-cleaning software).

One refurbishing program, Reconnect, will accept any brand of computer equipment in any condition, as well as peripherals, accessories and Microsoft entertainment products, including Xboxes and Zunes. To find a drop-off location, visit

Recycle: If the computer is more than five years old or broken, recycle it. First remove the hard drive (search for "How to smash a hard drive"). To find a recycler, visit


Sell: will buy just about any type of electronic device, including computers and peripherals, game systems, MP3 players, digital cameras, satellite radios, and GPS devices.

Recycle: For a list of manufacturers and major retailers (Best Buy, Costco, Office Depot, Staples) with programs for mailing back or trading in electronics, visit the Web site of the National Center for Electronics Recycling.


Recycle: To learn where you can recycle TVs by brand, go to and search for "eCycle Televisions." Best Buy stores will accept any brand up to 32 inches for a $10 charge and will give you a $10 gift card to offset the cost. You can bring in two devices per day, per household. For a fee, it will remove up to two TVs from your home, up to 36 inches.

Patricia Mertz Esswein
Contributing Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Esswein joined Kiplinger in May 1984 as director of special publications and managing editor of Kiplinger Books. In 2004, she began covering real estate for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, writing about the housing market, buying and selling a home, getting a mortgage, and home improvement. Prior to joining Kiplinger, Esswein wrote and edited for Empire Sports, a monthly magazine covering sports and recreation in upstate New York. She holds a BA degree from Gustavus Adolphus College, in St. Peter, Minn., and an MA in magazine journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University.