How to Donate, Recycle or Sell Old Electronics Safely

Consumer Reports has some tips on how to make sure your old electronics don't hurt you or the environment.

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Our cellphones, laptops, tablets, TVs all get upgraded from time to time and we have to decide what to do with our old stuff. Consumer Reports says the saying, "One person's trash is another's treasure," might apply to your old electronics.

"There are a lot of different online marketplaces that make it really easy for you to sell your old computers and devices," said Yael Grauer, a CR Tech Editor. "You might want to do a bit of research ahead of time to make sure you're pricing it appropriately."

But what if it's broken? Consumer Reports says there's also a market for broken tech. Online CR found broken laptops and tablets listed on popular shopping websites for several hundred dollars each.

If you don't want the hassle of listing and selling an item yourself, online buyback sites like BuyBackWorld and Gazelle give you a quote. If you accept the offer you then ship your gadgets to them with a prepaid label.

You can also donate old device if selling them is too much hassle for what they're worth.

"You might just have a used computer that you don't really need anymore collecting dust," said Grauer. "But it could be really valuable for a family that doesn't have the resources to buy one."

Organizations such as Digitunity will help you find qualified organizations in your area to help give your old computer a new life. There are all kinds of organizations out there for all types of electronics. The Hearing Aid Project will refurbish your old hearing aids for people who struggle to afford new ones.

Whatever you do, don't throw your electronics in the trash! It is actually against the law in California to dispose of electronics in a landfill. Check out Earth911 to find recycling locations near you, or look up your city's website and see if there are any electronic trash collection events.

Remember, before selling, donating, or recycling old technology, make sure you delete all your personal information off the device. You can usually do that by resetting the device to factory settings or formatting your hard drive.

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