How To Dispose Of Your Old Tech Gadgets

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Every year, the second week of September acts as an early Christmas for fanboys and tech lovers because it’s when Apple holds one of its major release events. Leading up to this year’s App-stravganza, rumors were swirling about what the big news was going to be. There was relative certainty that the Apple Watch Series 3 was going to be released (it was), that the Apple TV 4K was going to be released (it was), and that the iPhone 8 was going to be released (it was). Apple had one more thing up their sleeve, though: the iPhone X.

I’m not here to review or extoll the greatness of any of these products, but when Apple releases new toys, one thing happens: tons of people buy them. Even if they bought the previous model, hundreds of thousands of Apple fans will line up to buy the new one as soon as it’s up for sale. There is nothing wrong with this, of course, but it creates a lot of e-waste (it’s a thing, trust me).

All of a sudden, all of these slightly used, otherwise perfectly fine gadgets are replaced by a newer, shinier successor. But what do you do with the old ones to keep them from becoming e-waste? Do you recycle them? Sell them? Keep them for posterity?

Turns out, you can do any of the above. Here’s how:


Apple recently launched a program called Renew that allows you to recycle any Apple device. You can do this online or at any Apple store and they’ll give you a gift card and credit toward an in-store purchase if your device qualifies. I assume your first generation iPod or iPhone won’t qualify for store credit, but they’ll still recycle it for you.

Best Buy also has a recycling service in its stores, though they are a lot more agnostic as to what you can recycle. If you upgraded to the new iPhone from an Android, or any other phone, you can take the old phone to your local Best Buy to have it properly disposed of.


Gazelle will buy back a wide range of devices, no matter how damaged, and refurbish them for resale. This doesn’t just apply to phones. If you have an old iPad or Android device, or an old laptop, Gazelle will take it off your hands and replace it with cash.

[Mac me an offer](Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.—clever name, I know—will buy back almost any old Apple product you have. Just go to the site and select the device you want to sell back to get an estimate on the spot. It’s pretty simple. Once you’ve decided to sell them your device, all you have to do is mail it in with the prepaid shipping label they give you and wait for your cold hard cash check.

If you want to keep it in the family, and maybe get some store credit to boot, Apple also has a Trade Up program that lets you trade in an eligible iPhone. You can use the credit to either knock down the price of a new iPhone, or cut down your monthly cellphone bill. They also offer this program for computers and iPads.


Some people like to keep things as mementoes and with technology advancing as fast as it is, it’s no wonder they’re saving their old phones. Hell, my dad has the original Macintosh computer on his desk because, why not? No one knows what phones are going to look like in 10 years, but I know it’ll be fun to compare them to the phones of 2010.

These devices are made of some pretty gnarly materials and you don’t want them floating around in the environment. Sell them, trade them in, or keep them. Just don’t throw them away.

Until next time – can I check out your new phone?

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When Arye isn't helping optimize your time, he is doing his part to ensure life is full of shenanigans.