What to do With Your Old Tech

Tidying up and decluttering your home usually involves old clothes, books, or toys. But do you know what to do with your old tech?

Maybe your laptop, smartphone, or tablet is on its last legs, and you’re looking for something new. Or perhaps you’re just ready for your annual update. Whatever the case may be, here are a few ideas of what to do with your old devices.

Think About Your Tech Habits

Technology these days advances at lightning speed. By the time you’ve got the newest phone in your hand, the updated model is already in development. Tech companies cater to the ever-changing tastes and whims of their consumers, and we always seem to want the next best thing. 

Much of our beloved tech is created more with style in mind than longevity. You’ve probably broken a phone screen or two in the past, who hasn’t? But we love our gadgets all the same.

This isn’t sinister by nature, but it does encourage a trend of mass overconsumption. So, if you are continually cycling through your devices before they stop working, take a pause and think about your tech habits. And if it truly is time to upgrade, here are three things to keep in mind so you get rid of your old tech in a responsible and eco-friendly way.

Don’t Just Throw Your Old Tech in the Trash

The first thing you need to know about getting rid of your electronics is that they do not belong in the garbage. Step away from the trash can, and let’s talk about how to recycle old electronics safely.

There is a very particular way to go about disposing of your gadgets. Once your tech finally kicks the bucket, it becomes electronic waste, also called e-waste. Don’t be fooled by the cute-sounding name: e-waste is very dangerous if not disposed of properly.

Electronics are full of toxic heavy metals and carcinogenic chemicals. While these are completely harmless when your devices are in use, they become a problem when they end up in landfills or are improperly recycled. Burning garbage in landfills releases those toxins into the air, and chemicals can leach into the ground and nearby bodies of water. 

Recycle Your Old Tech

Your first option for getting rid of old tech is recycling it. There are countless waste management agencies that can properly dispose of your e-waste. Some companies will even send you a pre-paid shipping envelope for you to send in your old tech rather than having to drop your devices off somewhere.

But what’s available varies greatly depending on your location. You can check the e-Stewards Recycle-Finder or bring your devices to any of these manufacturers or retailers where applicable.

Sell or Donate Your Old Tech

If you’ve got to have the newest devices on the market, it’s good practice to find your old, but still working, gadgets a new home. Maybe they’re not in perfect condition, but there’s probably someone out there, maybe even someone in your own family, who could benefit from having it.

You can either sell your old gadget or donate it. But before you make the switch, save your data to an external hard drive and wipe the device clean. Not only are you giving its new owner a fresh slate, but you’re protecting your privacy, too.

If you’ve been letting your old electronics gather dust in the back of the closet because you weren’t sure about how to recycle them, rest assured that it’s much easier than you may realize.

Take some time to think about how you can become more conscious of your tech consumption habits. Then, learn how to be a better recycler. Also, don’t forget to pay it forward, and pass along the knowledge. Let’s work together to be more environmentally friendly with our old devices!