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5 Ways To Recycle Electronics For Extra Cash (New, Old and Broken)

5 Ways To Recycle Electronics For Extra Cash (New, Old and Broken)
Diana Star Jan 30, 2020
Want to Earn Some Extra Money?

Financially speaking, that broken device you’re so quick to throw away may be worth thousands of dollars. By deciding to recycle electronics, you have the potential to get a lot of your money back.

If you don’t know what to do with any unfunctional electronic device in your house, you have two options: recycle it and rake in some cold hard cash or donate it and feel good about yourself.

Of course, doing the former is something most of us have never considered. Majority of retailers provide individuals like you with trade-in programs that pay you in exchange for your broken devices.

You’ve probably had the idea of recycling your broken electronics, but you’ve never been sure of how to go about it.

This post will provide you with a couple of straightforward insights of how you can make treasure from your trash at almost no effort at all.

1. Sell Them Online

As previously mentioned, trade-in programs are the go-to places to recycle your broken appliances. The prices they offer are slightly lower compared to if you were to sell them directly on Swappa or Craigslist.

The following are some of the best sites to put your used gadgets and electronics up for sale:

Amazon Trade-In

This trade-in program by Amazon works slightly similar to its retail section. Just log in to your account, enter item-specific details (screen size, storage, etc.) and select one from the results that come up.

If you’re a seller, Amazon will make you an offer and provide you with a shipping label once you accept the deal. If your item checks out upon inspection, you’ll be credited with the agreed-upon amount or a higher amount if your item exceeds expectations.

Apple Trade-In

Apple doesn’t just take devices from its brand alone, but a wide range of companies as well. To recycle your goods, you could either use Apple’s online service or head over to a nearby Apple store.

Apple currently accepts watches, computers, tablets, smartphones and a long list of other devices. If your device isn’t listed on the trade-in items, you’ll be asked if you’d like to recycle it for free.

Best Buy Trade-In

Getting a Best Buy quote is as easy as filling out a questionnaire that helps the system estimate the worth of your electronics. Should you choose to accept the offer amount, you’ll be awarded a Best Buy gift card.

You have the option of either shipping the item to Best Buy via a prepaid label or look for a nearby store that takes receipt of in-store trade-ins.

Although its mailing turnaround is a bit slower than most services, it’s known to accept a wide selection of gadgets.


One of the best things about Nextworth is that it pays members via either check or PayPal – an option that’s not common among trade-in sites. All you have to do is answer a few questions about the gadget you want to sell.

You’ll be sent a prepaid shipping label once you accept Nextworth’s pricing offer. When they receive your gadget, they’ll go through the checking process to ensure there’s no discrepancy and everything is as stated in your description.

Other reliable sites to sell your stuff include eBay Instant Selling, Decluttr, Gazelle, BuyBackWorld, and Flipsy. By recycling your broken electronics online, you don’t have to go through the hassle of price negotiation, catering for shipping fees or the cost of extra services.

2. Do it the Old Fashion Way

Recycling your old stuff in person is a good move if you want to skip the somewhat tedious shipping process. Try offering them to an individual or alternatively drop them off at your local resale kiosk.

The following are some key places where you’re most likely to land yourself more than one buyer:


It won’t cost you a dime to post an ad for your gadgets on Craigslist. However, you need to handle the process of meeting up with potential buyers and deal with the entire transaction on your own.

To boost the chances of enjoying multiple successful sales on Craigslist, be keen on your product descriptions. Your ad should have related photographs (up to four of them), be brief but informative and point out the items’ unique features.


If you either have a dysfunctional or old cellphone, you can recycle it and get cash directly from ecoATM. All you have to do is plug in the data for your smartphone, ecoATM provides you with a distinct value, and you get your cash when you drop in your phone into the machine.

To see if there’s any machine in your area, use the free ecoATM location finder. It’s totally free to use.

Start a Yard Sale

If you do it right, broken electronics can be your most significant money-makers in your yard sale. There’s always one or two-yard sale gurus that are always present at yard sales that scour for broken or used electronic parts.

On the electronics section, be sure to have a sign that boldly indicates their condition and how much you want to sell them for. Just be sure not to sell at ridiculous prices. For something that’s broken, one would expect it to have a reasonable price tag.

3. Start Scrapping

Scrapping is often overlooked as a way to make some extra cash. It involves doing more than just dumping off your broken electronics at your local dump. If you go about scrapping the right way, you might just get yourself a new source of extra income.

Scrapping broken electronics and used metal is among the most profitable ways to handle recycling. Why? You’ll never run out of stuff to sell. You can put up anything from broken Christmas lights to internal TV parts.

The larger the electronic piece, the higher its value. Certain parts can go as high as $100.

The following are some common devices you’re most likely to stumble upon at a scrapyard. These will give you a rough idea of how much to sell scrap you find:

  • 200-pound washing machine: Anywhere between $18 to $25
  • 100 lbs dryer: Between $10-$15
  • 180 lbs full-size gas barbeque: Can go for amounts ranging from $15 to $20
  • 125 lbs ovens or ranges: Valued at about $10 $20
  • 175 lbs refrigerator: goes for approximately $16-$20
  • 300 lbs cast iron bathtub: this one takes the cake with prices of between $30 to $50

There are lots of places where you can find scrap metal. The first place to check out is your home – specifically your basement and your garage.

See if any of your broken appliances have any metal and see if it’s of any value to your first before putting it up for sale.

If you don’t have any broken appliance, keep an eye for people around who are trying to rid their garages of broken appliances.

Better yet, advertise your services by placing an ad on CL or printing out a poster that contains your email, phone number, or contact details in general.

You’d be surprised at the number of people trying to get rid of their massive collection of unused electronics.

Be sure to know all there is to know about the scrap business and the steps involved to start cashing in on broken devices.

4. Start Your Cell Phone Recycling Drive

Cell phone recycling is a huge money-making idea that sees a majority of websites on the run to offer the best prices on broken or unused handsets.

Recycling cell phones is not only a lucrative business, but it’s also a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.

Cell phones are almost entirely comprised of metal, plastic and loads of other elements that can be used in making newer products.

The simple act of recycling saves the environment from cell phones’ toxic effects. It also helps in the recovery of precious metals such as copper, palladium, silver, gold, etc.

Starting a cell phone recycling drive isn’t as hard as some sites on the internet make it seem. You can opt to work for a profit by recycling phones as a fundraiser or as a full-time business.

To start, you need to have a vast level of information on most, if not all, of the cell phones that are currently in the market. It’s going to be a tough job considering there are hundreds of phone companies out there.

As long as you have a grasp of the common types, you’re good to go. Next, get the phone numbers and contact details of conventional recycling companies online. Surf through their websites and compare price lists for different mobiles.

Contact the company you think will offer you the best deal and see how soon you can start working with them.

Show your presence by registering your business company. Get to your local business office and get a Limited Liability Company (L.L.C) label after the name of your company.

Start your recycling business by seeking and applying for a grant from your federal government. Keep track of all the expenses involved in transportation, publicity, etc. Throughout your business, keep track of your earnings to determine whether it’s profitable or not.

5. Repair Broken Gadgets and Re-Sell Them

Refurbishing electronics is a business that practically anyone can jump into – provided they have the right tools.

Refurbishing is among the most significant ways to recycle broken electronics. It’s also an industry that’s worth a whopping $10 billion in today’s economy.

A majority of consumers (75 percent to be exact) prefer buying refurbished electronics due to their affordability.

Not every gadget you repair and put out there can sell. Some of the most preferred refurbished items among consumers include computers, tablets, cell phones, video game consoles, TVs, computer monitors, and stereos/ computer systems.

Begin by checking in with those around you if they may have any broken electronics that they intend on discarding.

If they don’t, you could always be on the receiving end by utilizing online market spaces to get the best electronics to fix and resell.

Once you’ve collected enough of any of the items mentioned above, begin your diagnosis. Do the same for each item. Some of the straightforward issues among refurbished electronics include:

  • Trayed, broken or snapped cords
  • Dusty circuit boards
  • Fried or broken switches
  • Improperly soldiered joints

If you come across an issue you’re not sure how to approach, the internet is awash with useful solutions. There are lots of repair forums online that you can use to make the fixing process more straightforward.

Handling repairs only works if you’re relatively handy and you’re good at following instructions to the letter.

Now, for the fun part, know where to sell your products. Lucky for you, we’ve already covered that on the first point. Scroll upwards if you came to this point first before reading the rest.

Most of them are fairly easy and you can make a quick buck from selling self-refurbished gadgets. A rule of thumb about dealing with refurbished stuff is to offer a money-back guarantee. This is especially helpful if an issue arises with any item you sell.

What to Do Before Recycling Broken Tech

Recycling broken electronics can prove to be a tad burdensome if there’s no clear framework on how to go about it.

Stepping out of your comfort zone and developing a recycling storage field around your home can make things smoother for you and your family. So, what should you consider first before recycling broken gadgets?

Make Sure Your Data is Backed Up

Before you thinking of getting rid of your broken pc, game console, tablet or smartphone, ensure there’s nothing essential you’ve left on it. Once you get rid of it, there’s no chance of you getting it back – ever.

If any of your pc-related techs are still functional, don’t risk recycling it without taking this measure.

There are few game consoles out there that give owners the privilege of transferring game data. On your phone’s memory, you may still have useful or precious data like past photos or educational presentations and so on.

For anything you want to store safely, make sure you use an external hard drive or better, upload it to your cloud storage account. Failure to do so may lead to a massive data breach from those you sell the devices to.

Whether it’s business documents, sensitive financial information or personal images that could be used against you, ensure they’re all backed up. After achieving a successful backup, wipe out the data the go on with the recycling process.

Clean Up Whatever You Want to Sell First

Doing a thorough cleanup doesn’t apply to data alone. Most of the tech we use every single day is bound to accumulate dust and filth over the years.

A broken keyboard or mouse, for example, may have tons of dead skin cells from different members of your family.

If such devices have been used in a public place, say a cybercafé, it’s best you re-evaluate their level of cleanliness. There’s no telling the level of contaminants your unsuspecting buyers may be exposing themselves to.

What’s more, insects and dust are almost always drawn to anything electronic. Take time to wipe clean all exposed surfaces, get rid of compressed air and blow out dirt and dust. In general, do your best not to expose others to grimy accumulations from your old tech.

Even as you post photos of your tech on eBay, you’ll want it to look particularly pleasing to potential buyers. Even if It’s broken, it doesn’t have to look it.

Keep the Accessories Together

Broken electronics can always be fixed when they are, the accessories will come into play. What happens when you sell an item without packing the vital stuff?

Say, for instance, you pack a broken wireless mouse without the separate USB adapter; the mouse automatically becomes useless even after its fixed.

That’s why you should take a considerable amount of time ensuring that all the accessories of a particular device are all in one place. Something as simple as a power cable or charging cord is of utmost value to its appliance.

It’s not to say that you should sell the dysfunctional appliance the same way you received it when you first bought it.

Put together accessories that the buyer may find useful. In cases where you’ve bought a broken appliance without the essential accessories, you can either

  1. buy new ones and sell it, or
  2. state in your product description that it doesn’t come with certain accessories.

Anything you think should be included in the packaging process should always be on standby in case someone wants to buy the item.

Putting together useful accessories is especially important in cases where you want to put it up for donation.

Ensure Your Devices are Ready for Drop-Off or Pickup

If you’re going to sell broken electronics from time to time, it’s good to always prep them for drop-off or pickup.

A majority of recycling collection facilities will ask that you put any device with batteries in a bag or container. In fact, certain retail recycling programs may provide you with boxes, bags as well as shipping labels to ensure safe and environmentally-friendly collection.

Various gadgets come with different safety concerns. For example, printers may spill, the antennas from networking gears may snap off, or monitors and TVs’ fragile glass panels may break. There may also be plastic that’s vulnerable to scratches.

All these and more need to be dealt with utmost care.  By doing so, you also consider the safety of those handling the shipping process. If you’re not sure what you need to do when preparing your goods for packaging, call ahead.

Most recycling-collection services have active customer support desks that swiftly offer assistance on how to prep your goods. The moment you create an account on any online store, keep in mind that at any time, you may receive an order for your product.

Take time to read through the guidelines and instructions to avoid doing anything that may jeopardize your chances of shipping your goods and making money in return.

Indicate Any Risk of Electric Shock

Finally, be mindful of your clients’ welfare. You may be too anxious to make money from recycling the broken appliance that you forget to indicate how hazardous it may be when plugged in.

Electrical shocks are no laughing matter. They often result in injuries as well as unforeseen fatalities. Dysfunctional gadgets have been known to have unstable circuits that become harmful when plugged in.

When selling your devices online, be sure to indicate a ‘risk of shock’ warning if you’ve had issues with it before it got damaged.

If you want to donate any faulty gadgets, print out a poster or sign that warns handlers to be careful during the shipping and recycling process. Place it on the side or at the top of the vessel in which the appliance will be shipped.

If a plug’s inner cable is exposed, seal it thoroughly and avoid packing it in humid bags or boxes. If possible, use a different color of tape to indicate where the issue lies subtly.

Selling broken appliances knowing that they’re prone to electric accidents isn’t such a good move. It may not only cripple your business but may also land you in jail in case of any deaths. Safety should always come first – especially when you’re dealing with unstable devices.

Take Away

This post has touched on five unique ways to make money from recycling broken electronics. Of course, there’s always the option of donating your appliance(s) to online or local charities. Before donation, do pretty much everything covered in the previous segment of this post.

As for where to donate, numerous companies out there have recycling programs for unwanted or broken electronics. Most of them have expanded their programs to different Goodwill locations. You could reach out to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

This non-profit organization makes gaming consoles, MP3 players and new computers which they give to kids recovering from treatment.

Therefore, the next time you think about tossing that fried blender or pair of headphones, think of how it could be of benefit to you or those around you by recycling them.

If you can think of any other ways to recycle electronics for extra cash, let us know in the comments below.

Diana Star

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