Monday 24th October 2016                 Change text size:

Your Obsolete Electronics: Recycle, Repurpose and Reap the Rewards


Technology is moving at such a rapid pace and this means that there are bound to be more than a few gadgets in your home that are so last year.

No sooner do you buy the latest version of your favourite gadget, only to find that the manufacturer is already working on a release date for a newer version.

If you are wondering what to do with your old phone or other devices that are now past their sell by date or no longer used by you, you have several options available, which could even go a long way to funding your next gadget that you might have your eye on.

The philanthropic option

A good starting point when considering what to do with your obsolete electronics, would be to think of how your gadget might benefit someone else if you would rather see someone else benefit after you no longer want your device.

Before discussing the various charitable options to recycle or repurpose your old electronics, it is worth pointing out that if this is the route that you think you might want to take, make sure that any data held on your old phone for example, is backed up if you need it and wiped from the device.

Some respected and recognisable charities such as Great Ormond Street Hospital will accept a range of electrical items and will even accept second-hand inkjet and toner cartridges as way of extending their life and benefitting the charity at the same time.

Parkinsons UK for example, will take items like phones, iPods, laptops and your old sat-nav too, if you now use your phone to find your way around.

Give your device back

If your device is quite old and no longer viable or simply broken, then recycling is probably a good option to consider.

There is greater environmental awareness about the impact of sending too many electrical items straight to landfill and recent European legislation known as the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) has imposed some responsibilities upon the original manufacturer retailers.

Many big brand manufacturers such as Apple and others, have set up specific programmes to meet these requirements and Apple for example, invite you to send in your unwanted iPhone or iPad and they will check to see if it is worth anything before sending you some money for it if it is.

This can be a win/win situation as you may get money for your old device but if it turns out to be worthless, Apple and other manufacturers are still obligated to responsibly recycle the item on your behalf, taking away the hassle.

Check with the original retailer to see what they offer, as you might be able to get a discount against a new model as one option, if that is what you want to do.


Another popular option these days is to repurpose your device or upcycle as it is often called.

Upcycling is applying a bit of creativity to see if you can find another purpose for your device rather than send it to the electronic graveyard. There have been wacky examples of owners stripping out their old PC monitor and using it as a unique pet bed or you might decide to use your old computer motherboard as an interesting drinks mat or even a key fob.

Check out some sites online which give you some ideas and suggestions on how to upcycle old electrical items if this is an option that you are considering.

Trade-in for gift cards

If the idea of upcycling doesn’t appeal and you would rather get something more tangible for your old device, then look for gift card schemes like the one offered by Amazon.

The internet retail giant offers customers the chance to trade in your old gadgets in exchange for a gift card. Search the option on their website and see if you might be offered a reasonable sum for your old phone or other device, which you could use in the form of a gift card to redeem against another purchase on their site.

Disposing of old unwanted electrical devices such as a mobile phone that you no longer use, will take a little bit of research and effort to get the best options that work for you, but whether you decide to donate, recycle, repurpose or cash-in, there are plenty of opportunities to reap the rewards.

Go through those draws and you will probably be surprised just how much old tech you have accumulated, which could be put to good use in some way or another.

Ruth Frederick has held a number of senior roles connected to energy conservation and recycling. She always likes to the chance to provide her informative views and advice online. Her insights can be found on a number of different websites.

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