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Recycling Computers Is a Great Earth Day Activity

Woman outside holding a handful of soil with a growing plant in it.

April 22, 2016 marks the 48th Anniversary of Earth Day – which is a perfect reason to think about recycling computers, monitors, smartphones or other electronic devices that have just been gathering dust in the corner. The great news is that there are many viable options for recycling computers and other electronics to keep them out of landfills…and it’s easier than you may think.  And to help make it even easier, we’ve put together a list of recycling center locations, links and other resources to help you with the process for the most common electronics.

Recycling Computers at Corsica Tech Headquarters – Centreville, MD

We accept old computers, laptops, flat panel monitors and miscellaneous computer accessories for recycling at our Centreville, MD location.  There is no appointment necessary – just stop by our Walk-In Center anytime between 9 AM and 6 PM and drop off your old computer(s).  There is no fee for this service. We cannot accept the following:  CRT’s (the old style, large monitors – see image at right), printers, fax machines or small household appliances like microwaves, toasters, etc.

Recycling Center Search

If our Centreville office isn’t convenient and/or you have a toaster or other small appliance to recycle, you can do a quick search for a local recycling option using this website:  http://search.earth911.com/ Just use the icons at the bottom to select the category (Ex:  Electronics) and then select one of the most common options or do an expanded search using the “All Electronics” option at the far right.  Be sure to type in your city or address to get the recycling (or donation) options nearest you. RecycleNation.com is another option for locating a recycling center for a large variety of unwanted goods, including electronics.  Options include mail-in services, drop-off or curbside pick-up.  You can also contact them to recycle by phone at 1-800-RECYCLING.

In-Store Recycling at Major Retailers

If you are looking for options for recycling computers or other devices, many major retailers also now have collection bins for electronics.  These include: Best Buy – every Best Buy store has kiosks just inside the front doors for the purpose of recycling ink and toner cartridges, rechargeable batteries, wires, cords, cables and even plastic bags and gift cards.  According to their FAQ, Best Buy also accepts most electronics and large appliances at the Customer Service counter, but there are some exceptions. Best bet is to visit www.BestBuy.com/recycle and view the program details for your particular area before heading to the store.  This service is offered at no charge, regardless of where the electronics were purchased. Target – better than just recycling, Target has partnered with NextWorth to give you the opportunity to earn money for your unwanted electronics with a Target Electronics Trade-In Program.  Categories they accept for appraisal include iPhones, Smartphones, iPads, iPods, Tablets, e-Readers, video games and laptops…though the laptops can only be traded in online.  Check out the trade-in program details and see what you can earn while you clean out. Verizon – Take in your old cell phone or tablet (any carrier, any condition) and Verizon will appraise it.  You can also do this online – this requires you to provide details about the device and then return it in a pre-paid box they will send you.  If it can be reused, you’ll get a Verizon gift card.  If it can’t, Verizon will recycle it for you.  They also offer a 3rd option, where you can donate an old cell phone, batteries and/or accessories to HopeLine – their charitable program that supports victims of domestic abuse. Apple – Similar to the Verizon and Target programs, Apple will appraise your unwanted equipment and if it qualifies for reuse, issue you an Apple gift card.  If it doesn’t qualify, they will responsibly recycle it for you. However, if all you want to do is dispose of your unwanted electronics, Apple will also help you do that, regardless of brand.  They have partnered with Sims Recycling Solutions to recycle any and all computers and displays from any manufacturer.  To generate a pre-paid shipping label, visit www.applepoweredbysims.com.  You will need your own box to pack up the equipment.  For more information about the Sims program, you can call them at 800-966-4135. You can also take old Mac batteries to any Apple Retail Store and they will recycle them for you for free. Lowe’s – the home improvement retailer installed recycling centers in the majority of the U.S. stores.  Lowe’s accepts rechargeable batteries, cell phones and also compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL’s) for recycling.  This service is offered for free.  Use this Recycling Center Locator to check out what specific recycling services are available in your local Lowe’s. Home Depot – Home Depot offers recycling programs for rechargeable batteries, CFL’s and Christmas lighting.  Participating stores have convenient recycling bins for these items. Office Supply stores – retail giants like Staples and Office Depot commonly accept rechargeable batteries, and ink and toner cartridges for recycling at no cost to you.  At Staples, you can potentially trade in your unwanted devices and get Staples eCash in return.  Staples Rewards members can also earn $2 back for each ink and toner cartridge they recycle either online or in-store.  Visit the Staples website for a list of items accepted for free recycling. Office Depot also accepts cell phones under the free recycling program.  Other tech devices (cameras, computers, DVD players, etc.) can be recycled through Office Depot, but you will be required to buy a recycling box from them and then turn that in once it’s filled with your unwanted equipment.

Recycle Your Device – Not Your Personal Data!

No matter where you recycle your old laptop, hard drive or other device, we strongly recommend that you wipe your data prior to disposing of it, donating it or dropping it off at any recycling center.  If you are unfamiliar with that process, check out this article for instructions on how to format your hard drive.  Don’t forget to first back up the files to an external drive if you don’t want to lose the data – once you format the drive, everything will be gone. You will also want to prepare your smartphone to be donated or disposed of by taking steps to remove your personal information.  For more on how to do that, check out our recent blog post “How to Prepare an Old Phone for Sale.” One final note – this article was focused primarily on recycling computers or other electronics, but if you are in the giving mood, it’s certainly worth checking out options for donating them to charitable organizations, as many of them are able to trade them in for cash value.  Check out this article that lists just a few charities that can make good use of your old electronics, or check with your favorite non-profit to find out if they can accept them. Well now that you are all upgraded and cleaned out, we hope you enjoy all of your cool new tech gifts. And if you need any computer assistance, you know where to find us!

Happy Earth Day!

Corsica Technologies
Corsica provides personalized service and a virtual CIO (vCIO) who serves as a strategic advisor. When it comes to the complex integration of solutions for IT and cybersecurity, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We offer cybersecurity solutions, managed services, digital transformation, resale services, and one-off technology projects. Corsica unifies any combination of these services into a complete, seamless solution.

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