There are more wireless devices in the United States than the number of people that live here. According to wireless telecoms organization CTIA, there were 335.65 million active wireless devices in the U.S. in 2013 and those numbers are only going to grow. While these devices provide us with a unprecedented level of access to knowledge and information, they are also having a never-before-seen impact on the environment due to their relatively short lifespans.
Luckily, there are a slew of companies lining up to take your old electronics, providing better options for consumers than simply dumping old devices in local landfills.
Gazelle was ranked #24 in Inc. Magazine’s list of the top 500 fastest growing companies in 2010. The reason? It has tapped into a market with plenty of products… unused electronics. Consumers can exchange their old electronic devices and either sell them for cash, give them to charity, or even just recycle them if they do not have any resale value.
You first predetermine the price Gazelle will give you for your device online. Gazelle then sends you a postage-paid return box for your device. Once Gazelle receives your device and makes a determination, Gazelle will send you payment in about a week. If you check Gazelle’s website for your particular device and it isn’t worth anything, Gazelle will still send you a box and postage for you to send your device back and be recycled. Gazelle has a wide customer base and has even established trade-in relationships with large retailers such as Walmart and Costco.
Another popular electronics trade-in program is BuyMyTronics.com, a member of the GameStop network. This website works the same way as Gazelle, in that you get a price quote for your device, print out a shipping label, and send your device back to BuyMyTronics. You then get paid via PayPal. While not specifically advertised on the site, you can still send in old devices even if they are not worth anything.
One of the nice things about BuyMyTronics is that companies and organizations can participate in a corporate buyback program for their bulk electronics. So if you are planning on upgrading the phones for your entire workforce, you can recycle and/or trade in those electronics easily. BuyMyTronics will do all the work for you.
If you are worried about sending your old iPhone through the mail to a company you don’t know much about, you are in luck. ecoATM embodies a new concept for recycling certain electronic devices. Here’s how it works. A user walks up to one of the many kiosks (which are located in high-traffic retail locations throughout the country) and places the device in the kiosk. The ecoATM then examines the device and offers the user a price. If the user agrees to the price, the ecoATM will give the user cash on the spot.
ecoATM is a great alternative for those who do not want to send their devices through the mail or receive their payment through PayPal. However, the kiosk is limited. First off, there might not be a kiosk near you. Second, ecoATM as of now only accepts phones, MP3 players, and tablets. If you have any other types of handheld electronics like cameras or electronic translators, you’ll have to use one of the previously-mentioned options.
In the end, it doesn’t matter too much if you choose one of these options or one of the many other companies offering to accept your old handheld electronics. In the end, most offer similar trade-in values for the different types of devices.
What is important, though, is to use these programs even if you don’t get anything for the device. It doesn’t cost you any money since the companies will send you the required shipping boxes or required postage free of charge. By taking charge of your electronics like this, you can help keep the nearly 330 million wireless devices in circulation from polluting the environment and out of the country’s landfills.