In the “disposable” society that we live in, we are constantly upgrading or replacing the electronic gadgets that seem to rule our lives. Laptop computers, cell phones, smart phones…the list goes on. Some might say that we’re addicted to consumer electronics. And most of us have no idea what to do with our old or unwanted electronics. Sell them on eBay? It’s not always worth the time. Give them away? Sure, but to whom? Throw them out? Electronic waste (e-waste) disposal is no good for the environment (and, in some places, illegal).
Recently, I discovered a web site that can help with this situation. It’s called Ecosquid, and it is dedicated to combating the environmental threat that is so-called e-waste. The site is free, simple and easy. So why not finally clean out that e-junk drawer? You might be surprised at the money you can make.
How It Works
At Ecosquid, you basically have two options for what you can do with your old electronics. You can trade them in for cash or gift cards, or you can recycle them by sending them to someone who will dispose of them properly. You may also be able to make a tax-deductible donation to a variety of charities for the value of the gadget. This might be a good way to fit charity giving into your budget if you’re otherwise not able to.
The process itself is simple – the test run that I did on the site took only a few minutes. First, you find your item by entering in either its make or model number, or you can search for it by product category. Ecosquid accepts just about everything: cell phones, calculators, camcorders, desktops, laptops, scanners, webcams, and more. It will also accept many accessories to these products, such as cables, computer speakers, external drives, inkjet cartridges and batteries. After you’ve found your product, the site may ask you for some brief information about its condition. For example, whether or not it’s still working, if there is any screen damage, overall condition, and what accessories, if any, that you can send along with it.
Next, click on the “Find Matching Offers” button and in a few seconds, the recycling and resale offers start popping up on your screen. Then, you just have to choose the offer that’s best for you. They even offer a “Compare Services” feature which gives you access to user ratings and feedback on the companies you are deciding between. After that, you click on your desired offer and Ecosquid takes you to that offer’s website to complete the transaction.
Below is an example for the iPhone 4.
My Test Run
To see how well the site actually works, I did a test run with two of my gadgets. The first is my cell phone. I entered in the make and model of the phone, provided a few details regarding its condition, and soon after I perused my options including several recycling offers. Basically, the site gives you convenient drop-off locations where you can take your electronic device for recycling. You won’t make any money, but you will be doing your part for helping to save the environment. I also received monetary offers for the phone ranging from $1 to $25, which isn’t bad considering that I got my cell phone for free. The top offer would have been in the form of a gift card, not cash, but I was pleasantly surprised at the value that my old phone still has. For these re-sale offers, the postage is paid by the vendor so there are no out-of-pocket expenses.
Next, I entered the information for an old laptop. Again, I provided a few details about its condition, and soon after, I had my offers. As with the phone, most were recycling options, but I did receive a few cash offers, the highest being $30. I also received two offers to make tax-deductible donations to charities for the value of my computer. Keep in mind that for laptop computers, there is sometimes a fee associated with recycling. The recycling options for my cell phone were all free. For my laptop however, a few places would recycle it for free, and others charged a small fee.
Ecosquid is a site devoted to helping preserve our environment. According to its estimates, the site’s listings have totaled over 5 million pounds in carbon dioxide offsets and over 225,000 gallons in gasoline offsets. This impact on our environment is significant. Also, the site is objective in coming up with your list of options. It partners with a variety of companies, in exchange for a small transaction fee when it directs people to the partner sites. It is free to use, and it is fast as well. You can make it a one-stop-shop of sorts for getting rid of your old electronics.
There isn’t much I didn’t like about the site. However, keep in mind that the payouts you get for your electronics are not going to make you rich. The offers that I got for my laptop, for example, were pretty low. But if you’re just looking to get rid of electronics laying around the house, something is better than nothing. If it is a gadget that is in perfectly good working condition, remember that there are ways to sell your unwanted items online through eBay or Amazon and make more money.
Ecosquid is essentially like Expedia for your unneeded electronics. It does all the searching for you. You may not have known that there were any options at all for getting rid of old electronics, but Ecosquid demonstrates just how many there are. From the re-sale option to recycling and donating, you have options for those gadgets lying around your house gathering dust. And you can help promote Ecosquid’s cause of trying to improve the environment at the same time.
Have you had any direct experience with Ecosquid or recycling or reselling your old electronics? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!