Technology

How to Dispose of Unwanted Electronics

Several Web sites will buy (or tell you how to get rid of) your old TVs, cell phones, computers and more.

Recently I wrote about the financial benefits of decluttering, such as the tax write-off you can get by donating old clothes to charity or the cash you can earn by selling unwanted items at a yard sale.

But what do you do if you have old electronic gadgets that aren't easy to resell? The November issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance has tips on how to sell, donate and recycle cell phones, computers, electronics and TVs:

Cell phones

Sell: Ship your old phone to www.flipswap.com 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 www.recellular.com. You can download a free data-eraser program.

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

Computers

Donate: If your computer is less than five years old, prepare it for donation by visiting www.epa.gov 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 www.reconnectpartnership.com.

Recycle: If the computer is more than five years old or broken, recycle it. First remove the hard drive (search www.youtube.com for "How to smash a hard drive"). To find a recycler, visit www.earth911.com.

Electronics

Sell: Gazelle.com 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.

TVs

Recycle: To learn where you can recycle TVs by brand, go to www.epa.gov. 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.

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