Ecycling made simple

When organizing your home or office, you may discover old electronics that either no longer work or you don’t need. Electronics should not be thrown in the trash because they contain hazardous materials that do not belong in the landfill. You can ecycle (recycle electronics), or in some cases, sell them.

Recently in California, someone recycled an original Apple I computer. It was worth $200,000 and the recycling center was attempting to find the original donor to give them back the computer. Cases like that are extremely rare. Don’t get too excited, what you have in your home is probably worth less than $50.

It is extremely important to wipe your computer and remove all personal data to avoid anyone attempting to get into your accounts. Before you sell or ecycle, be sure to do this critical step. If you have an iPhone or mac computer, you need to disable “find my iPhone” or “find my mac” as well.

While it is fairly simple to erase everything from a cell phone, it is a little more complicated for a computer. Software is available to wipe your computer clean. If you are not comfortable with that, you can physically remove the hard drive from the computer and send it off to a company. They will shred the hard drive and send you a certificate of destruction when it is completed.

In Maryland there are several locations where you can dump your electronics and recycle them. Different counties accept different types of gadgets, so check the link for information for your county.

According to the Baltimore County website, here are items they will accept for electronic recycling:

  • Central processing units (CPUs), including desktop, laptop and tablet computers
  • Computer peripherals, including mice, keyboards, printers, scanners, cables and cords
  • Miscellaneous computer parts, including circuit boards, chips, cards and power supplies
  • Electronic reading devices (e-readers like Kindle)
  • GPS devices
  • Cell phones
  • Smoke alarms
  • Radar detectors

Several companies were created for ecycling. ReCellullar, Nextworth and Gazelle will purchase electronics from individuals. Some ecycling companies only accept items in good working condition. Apple has a recycling program for computers, laptops, iPads and iPhones.

In most cases, you will not get anything close to the amount you paid for the item. Other times it may be too old and they are not interested at all. If all else fails and you feel like you have something of value, you can try to sell it on eBay or craigslist.

Whatever you do with your old electronics, get them out of the way and allow yourself more space. Even if you don’t get any cash for them, you are not using them any longer. Why keep old electronics with hazardous materials inside in your home? Once you ecycle or sell them, you will be a happier person with room to spread your wings.

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