9 Ways to Sell or Recycle Your Old Tech Gear

Make room for new gadgets by getting rid of the old.

By Jacqueline Emigh

Planning to get some great deals on new tech gear this year on Black Friday? Or maybe you hope to get a good deal on some post-Christmas sales. Either way, what are you going to do with all of that old tech that's cluttering up your house?

Not long ago, you could simply put your family's used cell phones, PCs, printer cartridges, and assorted other tech thingies in the trash. Chances are that you can't do that any more, though, because more and more states are passing laws forbidding the disposal of "electronic waste."

Even if your state doesn't have a law like that yet, there are much better ways of clearing out your tech. You might be able to pick up a few bucks by selling what your family no longer wants. Or you could help out some people in need by donating stuff to charity. In any case, recycling is better for the environment, and you can set a good example for your kids. Here are nine ways to get rid of old tech in a responsible way.

1. eBay

When you're selling stuff on eBay, you can either name your price by listing the item as a "Buy It Now" or put the gear up for auction. (If you choose the auction route, you can also set a "reserve" price as the lowest you'll consider.)

You can get tons of traction here if you're trying to sell a relatively new model of a popular product such as an iPhone or a Playstation--and this holds especially true if the tech is still sealed up in its original box. So if Aunt Mary sent Bobby an iPad or his birthday a few months ago, and Bobby never opened the box because he already owns a iPad..you are in luck.

However, older tech can also do quite well on eBay because of the site's huge worldwide audience. As somebody once said, "One man's trash is another man's treasure." There might be someone out there, somewhere, who collects ancient Polaroid cameras like the one your grandmother left you, or some who has trouble finding cartridges anywhere but on eBay for his long discontinued laser printer.

2. Buyback World

Where eBay lets you set a buying price, sites like Buyback World tell you a selling price right up front. All you need to do to get a price quote is to enter the name of the model and its condition.

The site buys electronic gear that includes smartphones, tablets, wearables, gaming
consoles, MP3 players, GPS, and video games, for starters. Choosing a few products at random, I found that I could get 50 cents for a practically ancient Verizon Nokia cell phone, $5.00 for an old Sega game, and $265.00 for a 13-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.7 GHz processor and 500GB hard drive. You can even sell some broken gear.

Well, maybe you wouldn't want to bother with the 50 cents. But if your college freshman son has held onto a couple of boxes of Nintendo games that he hasn't touched since middle school, he might be able to earn a couple of hundred bucks in quick holiday spending cash by selling the stuff to Buyback World. The site also sells refurbished gear, by the way, but maybe you don't need any of that!

3. Craigslist

If you live in any of more than 700 geographic areas throughout the US, Craigslist is another option. It's a huge classified site with all the listings that you used to find in the local newspaper.

Craigslist can be a good choice if you're selling a piece of gear--like an old TV, for
instance--that's simply too large to ship economically to an online buyer. Craigslist can also make sense if the gear you're selling is fragile, and you're concerned that screens or other parts might break in transit.

Remember, though, that you'll be meeting up with strangers to sell your wares. While most of these strangers might be wonderful people, that's not true of everyone. So don't let a potential buyer come to your home, and don't go to his or her house either. Meet people in a public place like a restaurant, or the parking lot at the local mall And don't bring your children with you.

4. A Pawn Shop

Where Craigslist is where the online and real worlds meet, pawn shops are strictly brick-and-mortar. Pawn shops have gotten kind of a bad rep over the years, but they are popping in good neighborhoods. Many are very legitimate businesses.

Policies vary from one shop to the next. Typically, if you can either sell your stuff outright (meaning that you'll get more cash for it), or pawn it, meaning that you'll receive less money but the shop will hold on to it for a while for you in case you decide to retrieve it later.

When it comes to electronics, pawn shops generally accept only recent models of highly popular phones and tablets. They check serial numbers to make sure that an item hasn't been reported stolen, and you'll need to show positive ID to accomplish a transaction.

5. Staples

You won't get any cash back from Staples, but you can drop off any piece of office technology--regardless or its condition or where you bought it--to any Staples store for free recycling by the company's recycler, Electronics Recyclers International (ERI).

If the gear you're wanting to offload consists of old printer cartridges, you'll even get store credit in the form of $2 in Staples Rewards for each cartridge.

6. Goodwill Industries

Do you want to offload your gear in a way that will benefit those in need? Goodwill no longer makes housecalls, except occasionally by special arrangement for picking up large items of furniture.

However, the charity still runs drop-off bins. Among the accepted items are flat panel TVs, in addition to computers, monitors, mice, and many other tech goods.

7. Salvation Army

The Salvation Army has bins, but this charity also still does home pick-ups. To make this happen, you need to schedule a pickup on their web site, listing which items you want to give away.

Salvation Army's acceptable items also include many electronic products, such as computers, CDs, and printers, for instance.

8. Locally Based Charities

The nationwide resources already mentioned represent only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your recycling options. If you Google "recycling," you're likely to find others which are specific to your community or state.

For the New York City metro area, for example, the United War Veterans Council (UWVC) provides free home pickups of computers, monitors, portable TVs, color TVs, monitors, radios, record players, and more, as long as these electronics are in working order. The charity accepts donations of many kinds of non-electronic goods, too.

You can schedule a pickup on their site. Proceeds of donations support the United War Veterans Foundatiion (UWVW). As with Goodwill and the Salvation Army, the UWVC provides receipts so tht you can claim donations as tax deductions.

9. State-Operated Recycling Centers

Meanwhile, many states--such as Wisconsin and Washington--operate networks of "e- cycling centers" where residents can drop off electronic gear for recycling free of charge.