Recycling Electronics

Recently I had to get a new phone as part of upgrading to a service that (if all goes according to plan) will help me keep better track of my online footprint; allow me to stop paying for more service than I need; and reduce my electricity consumption. In a nutshell, I discontinued my cable internet service and am going with a cellphone plan that offers unlimited data plus a limited amount of hotspot data. The modest 5-gig hotspot suits my needs well, since the main thing I use my laptop for is blogging, and not a lot of high-bandwidth activity such as watching videos and using Facebook (which I use heavily for my work). For higher-bandwidth activities, and in general, for as much online stuff as possible, I prefer to use my phone.

All of that is well and good, and in addition to having just the kind of service I want for about 30% less than I had been paying, I have already noticed about a half-kWh per day reduction in my electricity use. I’m happy!

At the phone service store where I signed up for the plan and got my new phone, they told me I could get cash for my old phone at WalMart. I looked into it, and found out that the program at WalMart is run via a kiosk service called ecoATM. “Sell your old cellphones and electronics for cash,” says the website. “EcoATM helps by providing instant cash for used devices that previously were personal clutter at home. The lifestyle end result is sustainable, simple, uncluttered, and beneficially enhanced.” You can type in the name and model of your phone and find out approximately how much cash you can get for it. They also offer a trade-in option. Along with cellphones they also recycle tablets and MP3 players.

OK, so that’s the cellphone. I also noticed I’ve got a bunch of cables and cords piled up. From where? Who knows. They just seem to show up and multiply. I thought the mysterious set of cables was from my cable internet service, but when I went to turn in my modem and other equipment, they said the cables weren’t theirs.

I have a TV remote also. (That was from a TV I inherited, that I ended up donating to a local veterans’ group because I did not end up using it. But I had forgotten I had the remote! Maybe the mysterious cables were associated with that TV also. Ah, the complexities of modern life!)

Doing a search just now, I found this article on, about the best places to recycle old cables and chargers. One place they mention is Best Buy. According to the CNET article, Best Buy is “One of the easiest ways to recycle any old electronics, including cables and chargers… . Every Best Buy location in the US has a kiosk for recycling just inside the door. According to their site, they accept ‘rechargeable batteries, wires, cords, cables and plastic bags,’ as well as a host of electronic devices. Check its website to see if Best Buy will accept what you’re trying to recycle.” I’ve got a Best Buy about 25 minutes by bicycle from my house, and it’s on the same route as the WalMart, so it looks like I’ve got a channel for recycling my mini-stockpile of electronic stuff.

In case you don’t have a Best Buy near you, another option mentioned in the article is a school or Scout troop, which might be able to use your old electronic stuff for science/technology projects.

I’ll let you know of other resources as I find them. May you be free of all those old cables, chargers, and devices that are cluttering up your drawer(s). Someone else can use them, and you can use the space. (At least I know I can!)