Your cell phone is an amazing, sci-fi device that allows you to carry a computer around in your pocket and video call your friends like you’re freaking Zenon. It’s truly an incredible piece of technology. But when you’re done with that incredible piece of technology? You’ll want to recycle it at a free electronic recycling event to ensure it doesn’t end up in a landfill. Because while so many of our electronics are amazing during their life, after they die, they can leak toxic chemicals into our planet’s soil if they end up in a landfill.
Luckily, companies that manufacture electronics are incentivized to help you recycle. Whether they’re compelled to by state law or simply want to reclaim some of the materials so they don’t have to mine up new ones, there are no shortage of free electronics recycling programs across the U.S.
You can find free electronic recycling near you by checking out resources that you can find in almost any community, whether that be a program run by a national retailer like Best Buy, or a program run by your local government. Let’s get into seven of your best options.
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1. Only use Best Buy electronics recycling if you can’t trade it in.
Before you recycle your electronics and other home goods at Best Buy, check to see if they’re in good enough condition to trade them in. That way, not only is the recycling free, but you’ll actually be getting paid for it.
If you can’t trade it in, you can still turn in up to three items a day from the following list for free recycling:
- TVs and other video devices
- Computers and tablets
- Cell phones and radios
- Ink and toner
- Audio equipment
- Smarthome equipment
- Music and movies
- Video games and gadgets
- Cameras and camcorders
- GPS and other vehicle devices
2. Make money by recycling your electronics at Staples.
The list of what you can’t recycle for free is a bit shorter:
- Air conditioners
- Alkaline and non-rechargeable lithium batteries
- Floor model printers and copiers
- Lamps or bulbs
- Large servers or speakers
- Smoke detectors
Staples not only recycles your electronics free, but they also reward you for doing it! You can get $5 back when you recycle electronics, and $2 back for each ink or toner cartridge you refill.
3. Home Depot free electronic recycling may be an option depending where you live.
Depending on your state and location, your local Home Depot may accept items for free electronics recycling, too! Contact your local store to see if they have a program and which items they’ll accept.
4. Lowe’s has a limited electronics recycling program.
Lowe’s doesn’t accept electronics recycling on a large scale, but there are a few items they will take:
- CFL bulbs
- Rechargeable batteries
- Cell phones
They’ll take these items and plastic bags at the recycling center located near the front of the store. There should be another recycling center in the Garden Center for plastic planter pots and cases.
5. Get free electronic recycling at uBreakiFix or Asurion.
If there’s a uBreakiFix near you, they will accept the following items for free electronics recycling:
- VR headsets
- Gaming consoles
- Bluetooth devices
These are the items they explicitly accept, but they take a ton of others, too. You can check with your store before you make the trip if your item’s not on the list.
TIP: Soon, uBreakiFix will be changing names to Asurion. Whichever name you see, you can expect the same services.
6. Goodwill will recycle your electronics donations.
You don’t have to do anything fancy to recycle electronics at Goodwill. All you have to do is drop off your items for donation as usual. The store employees will figure out which items can be sold and which items need to be recycled instead, but you don’t need to be remotely involved in the process.
There are some items Goodwill never accepts — as a donation or otherwise. There are some electronics on this list, including TVs that aren’t flat-screen, and large appliances like air conditioners or fridges. You may run into problems with those huge, old computer monitors that aren’t flat-screen, too.
7. Your best bet may be your local government.
Almost every locality runs a free electronics recycling program for residents, whether it’s run at the municipal level or county level or both. It may be as easy as taking your electronics to city hall or the town dump, or your township may partner up with a local business in the community to facilitate the program.
Call your city or county government offices to find out what’s offered in your area, including free paper shredding events.