By Brandon on Nov 12 2013
Category: Moving Guides

How to Recycle Your Electronics Before You Move

Planning a move is a lot of work. You may be surprised to learn that the most tedious, stressful, and time-consuming tasks don't happen on moving day, but instead many weeks or months before. This is because the simple tasks of organizing, decluttering, and packing seem to go on forever. Do you have that much stuff?! Yes, you sure do.

But what do you do about your old, damaged, or unwanted electronics? Throwing away your old TV or laptop is terrible for the environment, so how do you dispose of them responsibly? Fortunately, there are quite a few simple and easy ways to recycle, dispose, donate, or even trade in those unwanted electronics.

Luckily, many top electronic manufacturers and retailers have made the process of recycling old electronics and ink cartridges easy and free, sometimes even rewarding.

What Electronics Can Be Recycled

The majority of small electronics can be recycled or traded-in. Common consumer electronics that are accepted by most recycling programs at no cost are:

Larger items, such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and fitness equipment are not typically accepted by retail store recycling programs. We'll discuss this further in just a moment.

What Electronics Cannot Be Recycled

Electronics that contain harmful or toxic substances won't be accepted by an electronics recycler. These items typically contain large amounts of lead or mercury and are most commonly found in much older devices. Do you remember the bulky and heavy computer monitors and TVs from the '80s and '90s? Well, they are referred to as CRTs, and they are a great example of an electronic device that cannot be recycled.

Just because you cannot recycle toxic e-waste doesn't mean you can't dispose of it (responsibly). We recommend using a site like Earth911 which can help you find an e-waste disposal site in your city.

How To Recycle Your Electronics

You can recycle most small electronics simply by dropping them off at popular retail stores. If you're trying to recycle printer ink or toner cartridges then you may find the mail option to be the easiest.

Recycle by Mail

Every manufacturer we checked out had a recycling program already in place. All of these programs were also free. Simply fill out a form and the manufacturer will send you a prepaid envelope or box so that you can return the item(s) for recycling. Here at, we regularly send back our used printer ink cartridges to Lexmark.

Drop-Off or Trade In

If you don't mind physically dropping off your items, many major retailers have recycling programs available at their local stores. All of the retailers we found accept many types of electronics for recycling.

Have a device in good working condition? Then take advantage of trade in programs to earn extra cash. Companies that offer an electronic trade in service include WalMart, Best Buy, Amazon, Apple, and T-Mobile.

Have batteries to recycle? Call2Recycle has thousands of drop off locations nationwide for both rechargeable and single-use batteries.

Recycling Large Appliances

As we mentioned earlier, large appliances are typically excluded from recycling drop-off programs. Fortunately, there are several ways to easily recycle these items for free as well.

Haul Away With New Purchase

Many retailers will offer to haul away and recycle larger appliances when you purchase new ones from them. Best Buy, Lowes, and Home Depot are some popular retailers that offer this program for refrigerators, washers, and dryers as well as other appliances.

Scrap Metal Recyclers

Take a quick look at your local Craigslist and you will probably find a lot of advertisements for people willing to pick up your old appliances for free. Appliances contain valuable components, such as copper, which they can sell to recycling centers. You likely won't be compensated for your appliance, but they will handle the hassle of picking it up and transporting it to a recycling center.

Additional Help: The EPA has additional resources to help you recycle your old electronics.

Related Posts