According to the Environmental Protection Agency, about 2.37 million tons of e-waste ended up in landfills in 2009. And unfortunately, many of the electronic gadgets dumped in landfills are still usable.
If you’re like me, your old devices end up sitting in a closet or storage space every time you upgrade to a new computer, cellphone, or TV. However, instead of letting the old electronics sit there collecting dust – or tossing them into the trash – consider donating them.
You can see your obsolete items go to a good cause and gain a new life, and furthermore, if you donate your unwanted electronics, you can receive a tax deduction for charitable contributions. You’ll have to itemize your taxes, but you can deduct the fair market value of any electronic device you give to charity, as well as any furniture, clothing, or book donations.
Where to Donate Used Electronics
1. World Computer Exchange
World Computer Exchange uses donated electronics to build computer labs in primary schools and colleges in underdeveloped countries. Often, children in these countries do not have access to a computer or the Internet. As of 2012, World Computer Exchange is looking for Pentium 4 computers, printers, network equipment, and cellphones. You can find out where to donate by visiting the World Computer Exchange website.
2. Games For Heroes
Sending care packages and donations to U.S. soldiers is one of my favorite ways to contribute charitably. Two high school students founded Games For Heroes, an organization that collects handheld video games and devices and ships them to U.S. soldiers stationed overseas. The charity is looking for new and used games and handhelds, including Sony PlayStation PSP and Nintendo DS.
3. Fireside International
Fireside International collects new and used iPhones, iPods, and iPads. The donated electronics are loaded with educational videos created by volunteers of the organization, and distributed to schools and private households in Haiti. Any needed item you donate will help a child learn to read and write in their native language. Visit the Fireside International website for the donation address.
4. Donation Town
Donation Town works with several well-known charities, including The Salvation Army, The Hope Foundation, and Habitat for Humanity. Currently, Donation Town is looking for used TV sets, which are given to charitable organizations nationwide. You can schedule a pickup online through the Donation Town website.
5. The Make-A-Wish Foundation
The Make-A-Wish Foundation accepts new and used computers, gaming consoles, and MP3 players. Donated electronics are given to hospitalized children to help make their hospital stay more comfortable. You can either ship your items or arrange a drop-off with a local chapter through the Make-A-Wish Foundation website.
6. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has partnered with ReCellular, Inc. to raise money for the fight against domestic violence. The charity collects donated cellphones, which are refurbished and sold by ReCellular Inc. A portion of the proceeds go toward different NCADV programs. Check out the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence website for donation instructions.
7. Cell Phones for Soldiers
The Cell Phones for Soldiers program accepts used cellphones, which are refurbished and sold. A portion of the profits goes toward purchasing prepaid calling minutes for soldiers deployed overseas, and the soldiers can use the prepaid minutes to make calls to their families back home. Visit the Cell Phone for Soldiers website for drop-off locations and mailing information.
8. eBay Giving Works
If you have newer electronic devices, you can sell them on eBay and donate 10% to 100% of the profits to your favorite charity. The site allows you to create a listing for any type of gadget, and you can choose from more than 18,000 charities, including the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, and the Villalobos Rescue Center. Visit the eBay Giving Works website to create your own listing.
9. Local Nonprofit Groups
Local nonprofit groups are also in constant need of donated items. For example, you could donate old laptops or video game consoles to a local recreation center, or old TVs to a senior living facility. Check your city’s website or newspaper to find local nonprofit groups in your area.
Donating your old electronics to charity will free up storage space in your house and help out a worthy cause at the same time. However, make sure you get a donation receipt from any charity you give to. You’ll need to keep the receipt for your tax records when you file for a deduction. You may also want to have them handy in case of a tax audit.
Can you recommend any other charities not listed here who accept used electronics?
(photo credit: Shutterstock)