When it comes to recycling, we’re all used to hauling our glass bottles and aluminum cans to the curb. But it’s trickier when it comes to electronics. You can’t just toss your used cellphones, computers, tablets, and TVs in the trash. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), e-waste contains toxic substances like lead, mercury, and cadmium, which can seep into soil and leach into drinking water. For this reason, half the states in the United States have laws making it mandatory to recycle your old electronics.
But most municipalities don’t accept them for curbside recycling. Thus, you have to find locations to take them yourself. Fortunately, many retailers have stepped in to make it worth your while. And it’s not an entirely selfless mission. Often, they can refurbish nonworking electronics or donate them to those in need. And even the most broken devices contain valuable plastic, glass, copper, and silver they can recover and reuse.
That’s doubly good news for you. While plenty of perks abound for recycling your other household goods, you’re more likely to score cold, hard cash in addition to discounts, coupons, and gift cards for recycling electronics.
How to Get Paid Recycling Your Old Electronics
The best thing about recycling rewards is that your device doesn’t even need to work in most cases, though you can get as much as $100 or more from some trade-in or buyback programs.
Plus, companies make it really easy to recycle almost any kind of gadget. If it works, they can get at least one more use out of it by refurbishing it for resale.
If it doesn’t work, they can still usually give you a few dollars for it and mine the device for parts they can use to fix other electronics and recycle the rest. In rare cases, the device is totally useless, meaning you may not get a dime, though they can still help with recycling what you do have. But you never know until you look to see what’s available.
To get started, decide which of these recycling rewards programs is right for you.
Gizmogo is committed to keeping used electronics out of landfills. That means refurbishing and reselling devices where possible or responsibly recycling devices past reusability. Thus, it takes devices in any condition, although it pays less for nonworking devices.
In keeping with their green mission, Gizmogo accepts any type of used electronics, including cellphones, tablets, Kindles, laptops, desktop computers, gaming consoles, cameras, camera lenses, drones, smartwatches, iPods, media players, headphones, speakers, and smart home devices.
If Gizmogo doesn’t list your device type on its website, send it in for a quote. The company may take it just to keep it out of a landfill. Though it is possible Gizmogo can’t offer you anything for a valueless device, it can at least recycle the useless gadget for you. And if you change your mind about selling, Gizmogo can ship it back to you at no charge. So you have nothing to lose.
To recycle with Gizmogo, search for your device on their website. Answer a few questions about its condition to get an instant quote. If you accept the offer, complete the checkout process and select your preferred payment method: PayPal deposit, check, bank transfer, Amazon gift card, or charity donation. The Gizmogo website generates a shipping label, allowing you to ship your device for free.
It takes Gizmogo two to three days to process your device, including reviewing it to ensure it matches your description. Gizmogo sends payment within one business day after review.
Your original quote is good for 15 days, so it’s best to mail your device as soon as possible. However, the final price depends on the evaluated condition on receipt. If your device doesn’t match your description, the company will send a revised offer. If you reject the new offer, Gizmogo will return your device at no charge.
GreenBuyback accepts devices in any condition. It takes a wide variety of electronics, including cellphones, laptops, tablets, headphones, wearables, video game consoles, smart home devices, and cameras. And if you have an electronic device not listed on its website, it even does custom quotes.
To recycle your device, visit GreenBuyback’s website. Search for the merchandise you’d like to recycle, and then use the drop-down menu to select its condition. If you like the instant quote, proceed through the checkout process, and GreenBuyback will email you a prepaid shipping label. Then ship your gadget to them at no charge via UPS.
Once GreenBuyback receives your item, a team member inspects it to ensure it matches your description. That usually takes about two to three days. You can choose payment via PayPal or check, and GreenBuyback will process it within 24 hours.
SellBroke accepts desktops, laptops, and tablets in any condition. It also takes printers, cellphones, smartwatches, game consoles, drones, and cameras if you’re looking to recycle multiple electronics at once.
Visit the website and search for your device. Answer a few questions about its condition to get an instant quote. If you like SellBroke’s offer, print a shipping label and mail it in at no charge via UPS or FedEx.
Once SellBroke receives your device, an employee inspects it to ensure it matches your description. If everything checks out, you can receive payment via Google Pay, PayPal, or check. If it doesn’t match the description, someone will email you.
Decluttr is another website for recycling miscellaneous tech, including smartphones, tablets, e-readers, smartwatches, gaming consoles, MP3 players, and media players. It can even take a bunch of other random clutter for cash, including CDs, DVDs, games, books, and even Legos.
Decluttr only takes certain nonworking devices, but they do recycle a variety of tech devices in nonworking condition, including phones.
Just select the item you want to sell and its condition, and the site will quote you a price. If you accept the offer, check out, and the website will generate a prepaid shipping label.
Once Decluttr receives and processes your device, they promise to pay the offered price as long as it passes inspection. Decluttr processes your payment the next business day via PayPal or direct deposit, whichever option you selected. Direct deposits clear within three business days, and PayPal payments clear within 24 hours.
If your device doesn’t match your description, you’ll receive a revised offer via email with a breakdown of the reasons for the new assessment. You have 14 days to accept or reject the new offer, which you can do in your account dashboard on the Decluttr website.
One of the more convenient recycling options is ecoATM. The company has kiosks in over 4,500 American retail stores, including national chains like Walmarts and regional groceries like Kroger. So finding one near you shouldn’t be hard. Plus, there’s no waiting — you get paid cash on the spot.
You can get an idea of what ecoATM is willing to shell out for your device on its website. It accepts cellphones, MP3 players, and tablets. Or lock in an offer using the mobile app. Then use the site to locate a nearby kiosk where you can drop it off.
The self-described leading e-waste preventer takes devices in all conditions. It doesn’t offer much on old or broken devices because it can’t resell them. But it will accept them for responsible recycling.
Once you arrive, place your charged device into the kiosk. The machine examines it and gives you an offer. If you accept it, the machine gives you cash on the spot. If you reject it, the machine returns your device.
Just as Amazon sells almost anything, you can trade in almost anything through the mega-retailer, from textbooks to video doorbells. Just search for the product you’d like to trade in on the Amazon trade-in page or from the main search bar with “Amazon Trade-in” selected from the drop-down menu.
Next, provide a few details about your device’s type and condition, and then the website makes you an instant offer. If you accept the offer, Amazon provides a prepaid shipping label.
Once Amazon receives your device, a worker inspects it to ensure it matches your description. As long as it does, expect to receive an Amazon e-gift card account credit for the quoted amount within two business days after receipt.
If your gadget is lower-quality than your description, Amazon may send you a downgraded offer, which you’re free to accept or reject. If you reject the offer, Amazon will return your device. And if your device is in even better condition than you described, Amazon promises to pay you even more.
Amazon even accepts nonworking devices. If your device is valueless, they may still offer a promotional credit. Even if they don’t, Amazon can still recycle all nonworking devices at no cost to you through an Amazon-certified recycler.
Alternatively, free drop-off is available exclusively for Amazon devices through uBreakiFix in select cities. A technician can evaluate your device when you arrive and give you instant Amazon store credit. You may also be eligible for an additional promotional credit of up to 25% off if you upgrade to a new Amazon device.
7. Best Buy
With Best Buy’s trade-in program, you can trade in select electronics in exchange for an e-gift card. Just find your device on the trade-in webpage, answer a few questions about its condition, and receive an instant quote for its trade-in value. Then bring your trade-in to your local Best Buy store, which you can find using the store locator on Best Buy’s website (if it doesn’t auto-detect it and display it in the top right corner), to get instant store credit. Or you can mail it.
To mail your trade-in, add it to your basket and fill out your shipping info. Then use the auto-generated prepaid shipping label to mail it. Once Best Buy receives and processes your device, you should get your e-gift card within seven to nine business days.
Additionally, when you trade in select products, you can get a percentage off a new purchase in addition to your trade-in credit, depending on current promotions. For example, you could save 15% on a new modem or router when you trade in an old one. Check Best Buy’s Current Promotions page for the most up-to-date recycling offers.
If you’re unsure whether your device has trade-in value, you can always take it to your nearest BestBuy for evaluation. If it isn’t, BestBuy can still recycle it.
BestBuy recycles nearly every type of home electronics and appliance. And it recycles many of them for free, so it never hurts to check first.
8. Apple Stores
Apple allows you to trade in your old devices for credit toward a new purchase through their Apple trade-in program. They accept desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches. They even take smartphones from other brands. And even if your device doesn’t have value, Apple recycles it for free.
Just take your device to the nearest Apple store to receive instant store credit toward purchasing a new device or get an Apple gift card to use in the future. You can locate the closest store on the Apple website.
If you don’t live near an Apple store, you can still take advantage of the trade-in program, although it takes longer. Visit Apple’s website and answer a few questions about your device to get a trade-in estimate. Then print the prepaid shipping label and mail your device.
If you need to buy a new device before Apple processes the credit, the company can issue a credit toward your purchase within two to three weeks of processing. If you don’t need to make an immediate purchase, you can opt to receive an Apple gift card, which Apple sends within two to three weeks after processing.
If the condition of your device doesn’t match what you described, Apple will send you a new offer. If you reject it, Apple will return your device at no charge.
Since it closed its retail stores in 2020, Microsoft’s trade-in program revolves around a mail-in option. But it allows you to trade in any device, including computers, tablets, phones, and gaming consoles from any brand in exchange for cash back after buying a qualifying new Microsoft device.
Just save your order details as a PDF receipt. Visit the trade-in page to locate your old device and answer some questions about its condition. If it’s eligible for trade-in credit, the site generates an instant quote. Upload your PDF receipt to the trade-in portal.
Then print a prepaid shipping label and mail the old device to CExchange, Microsoft’s trade-in partner, within 15 days of your trade-in approval. CExchange then verifies it matches your assessment. As long as it does, expect to receive cash back via PayPal or bank transfer within 14 days of your trade-in’s processing.
If your trade-in doesn’t match your description, CExchange can either recycle it or return it to you for free.
Additionally, Microsoft runs promotions that allow you to get upfront discounts on featured new products when you trade in old electronics, on top of earning cash back for your trade-in. Check the trade-in page on Microsoft’s website for current promotions.
To participate in the Dell trade-in and recycling program, visit their website and answer a few questions about your device and its condition. Dell accepts computers and laptops, tablets, phones, gaming consoles, monitors, digital single-lens reflex cameras (which you may know better as DSLR), media players, and smartwatches from any brand.
Next, ship it to Dell’s recycling center, where Dell experts inspect and value it for trade-in credit. Dell pays via Virtual Visa rewards, which you can use on Dell.com to purchase a new device.
11. Your Cellular Carrier
Most cellphone service providers have their own trade-in programs. Typically, these are incentives for customers to upgrade their phones or tablets to newer models. Policies vary by carrier and are often dictated by current sales and promotions. But you can generally redeem trade-in payouts for discounts on new phones or your phone bill or store credit toward purchasing other devices.
For example, Sprint buys mobile devices like cellphones, tablets, and smartwatches in any condition from any carrier in exchange for credit toward your Sprint phone bill.
And AT&T allows customers to trade in select phones, tablets, and smartwatches in any condition in exchange for a promotional card you can use to buy a new device or accessories or as credit toward the payment of a bill.
Check with your own cellular carrier to see what they offer.
Because recycling electronics is so lucrative, it’s almost always possible to find someone willing to take your used device off your hands in exchange for some kind of financial incentive.
Note that recycling your gadgets isn’t always the most financially lucrative option. If your device is in good condition, you can probably make more money from a private sale. So consider selling your laptop or cellphone on a resale site like eBay, Craigslist, or Swappa.
Or if the amount a retailer offers you isn’t worth the time, you can donate your used electronics to a charity that can refurbish it for people in need or recycle it for parts. Then you can at least take a tax deduction.
But if you can’t find someone to offer you a financial incentive, it’s still important to recycle. To find a certified electronic waste recycling program, visit the National Center for Electronics Recycling, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Electronics Donation and Recycling page, or search Earth911 to find a recycling center near you.
Whatever you do, don’t put electronics in the trash. If you’re unsure what you can and can’t toss, ecoATM has a guide.