Did You Know You Can Recycle Electronics For Cash? Here’s How…

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Don’t toss your old gadgets! You can recycle electronics for cash instead!

woman sitting on couch using a book as a lap desk for MacBook

Upgrading your gear? Turn your outdated electronics into cash! 💰

If you’ve got that old computer that’s been sitting in your closet for 15 years & still (barely) runs Windows 98, you have eWaste right in your own home.

eWaste is a term that describes electronics that have reached the end of their useful life. It happens to all of them eventually, but the problem we don’t often think about when we’re buying up the latest tech is that eWaste can be tough to get rid of. Not only is throwing electronics in the trash bad for the environment, but it may be against the law in your state.

Luckily, there’s a way to turn eWaste into income. We’re sharing some tips on how to take the trash and turn it into extra cash!

1. Recycle electronics for cash when you resell old (but functioning) gadgets online.

ebay online marketplace to sell clothes and other lightly used goods

Tons of perfectly useful electronics get put on the sidelines just because a new model was released… ahem, cell phones and gaming consoles, anyone?

Chances are, there’s still a market for older models of new tech. Sites like eBay and Facebook Marketplace are awesome websites for reselling some of your older stuff. And you can score even more if you’re handy and know how to fix things up!

Hip Tip: Check out more of our tips for selling on Facebook Marketplace!

back of tv modem

My Hip teammate, Chelsey, has had great experience reselling electronics!

She says that eBay is great for older items like video game consoles, but she also likes Facebook Marketplace for bulkier items and the lack of fees (eBay in particular can be a little fee-heavy). You can also try sites like Craigslist for items too large (or expensive) to ship, but a lot of folks report better deals by using these FB Marketplace tips.

For more ideas, you can scan eBay’s list of best-selling consumer electronics to get a glimpse of what’s hot at the moment! 

2. Offer to haul away other people’s electronic recycling items.

cart full of electronic items

As we mentioned, throwing away electronics is actually illegal due to their non-eco-friendly components. You have to take them to a special electronics recycling facility, and well… a lot of folks (myself included) can’t be bothered to do that, so we end up letting them sit in our closets, attics, and basements… forever.

But that’s where you come in!

You can offer to take people’s electronic junk off their hands for a small price, and a lot of them will jump at the chance to get rid of their clutter without having to deal with the inconvenience of driving to an electronic recycling facility.

Or, even better, you can offer to take their old stuff for free and resell it yourself for 100% profit. Again, most people just wanna get rid of things, so they might be happy to let you drive off with them for free.

Hip Tip: If you do want to recycle them yourself, check out sites like earth911 or call2recycle for info on where & how to recycle them safely.  Hip2Save reader Samm also suggests donating old electronics to Goodwill centers as the company will recycle the items for free!

3. Use trade-in sites like Gazelle for super easy cash back.

laptop screen with Gazelle website

Hauling away other folks’ electronic recycling is a fantastic way to earn some extra cash, but it’s also a lot of extra work. If you’re all about getting rid of that eWaste in the most hands-off way possible, then trade-in sites are probably the right choice for you!

On Gazelle, for example, you simply search up the price offered on your electronics based on the make, model, etc., ship items worth $1 or more in for free, and then wait for them to evaluate your item and decide the payout via PayPal, Amazon gift card, or check. It doesn’t get much easier than that!

The only downside of these services is that you probably won’t get the highest cash return. Chelsey had this to say about her experience with trade-in sites:

“We had a very old iPad we no longer used and most trade-in sites wouldn’t offer us anything and we ended up selling it on eBay for $50 + shipping. It may not seem like much for an iPad, but we bought it refurbished years ago and had owned it for 6+ years.” – Chelsey

So if you’re feeling like the trade-in sites are a little too stingy, look into listing them online. It’s a little more legwork but often totally worth it!

4. Many of your favorite stores accept old electronics and will offer cash or store credit in return.

amazon trade in program for electronics recycling

Here’s a list of common stores where you can recycle old electronics for cash or store credit:

  • Best Buy accepts all types of tech trade-ins for store gift cards.
  • Gamestop will take working electronics for cash or credit. Become a Pro Rewards member for an extra 10% back on most trade-ins and even more with Pro-exclusive offers.
  • Office Depot lets you trade in your tech either in-store or online for an Office Depot gift card! If your device has no trade-in value, they will recycle your device for free.
  • Staples offers free recycling on a variety of electronics and sometimes they offer rewards like cash back.
  • Walmart will give you an eGift card for sending in old electronics with their CExchange program.

5. Check with the manufacturer to see if you can recycle electronics for cash.

Apple storefront

Many computer manufacturers offer trade-in programs or free recycling. If there is a brand you love, it is worth checking their website or storefront to see if they will take your eWaste!

Here’s a list of some manufacturers that recycle old electronics for free or for an upgrade credit:

  • Apple stores will trade your items for store credit, and if the item isn’t eligible, they’ll recycle it for free.
  • Dell offers free recycling options – even for batteries and cartridges – plus they offer trade-in credit for computers and computer accessories.
  • Lenovo offers a Visa gift card equivalent to your trade-in value plus they often have coupons if you’re planning on buying something new.
  • Hewlitt-Packard offers free recycling and they also offer you a trade-in credit or cash if you return old but useable equipment.

Walmart Electronics Section

Here are some additional tips to help you earn money when reselling & recycling electronics…

  • If you resell/recycle cell phones, remember to factory reset them. Back up all your old info to the cloud & then make sure all your personal info is totally cleared before recycling or reselling your belongings.
  • Cancel any subscriptions associated with your gadgets. A lot of cell phones, gaming consoles, computers, etc. might have subscriptions you’ll want to ditch so you’re not being charged after you no longer use the device.
  • When listing items online, be as specific as possible. You might think it’s better to be general, but giving more info about your items makes them easier to find & prevents them from getting lost in a sea of similar stuff.
  • Offer free shipping if possible. Folks find free shipping super appealing, and I have to admit that personally when I’m shopping on eBay, I often filter out items that don’t offer it. 😅

Check out all our favorite ways to earn some extra cash!

About the writer:

Brandi has an Associate's Degree and 5+ years of experience writing and creating online content for local businesses.

Join The Discussion

Comments 8

  1. Patty Mac

    @collin et al: thanks for giving us all of this info–it was helpful! 🙂

  2. Samm

    I’m not sure about other areas, but my local Goodwill accepts old electronics, even those that don’t work, and recycles the good parts and metals inside. It’s much closer for me to drive to then any other recycling center near me, and it’s free. May be worth checking in to.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks, Samm! Good to know! Thanks for the helpful suggestion!

  3. Nathanael Datamphay

    We have been investing in real estate for a decade

  4. Griselda Cee

    Thank you.
    Can you tell me where to get that white sofa?

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      You’re welcome, Griselda! Here’s the link to Sara’s white couch for you! She also shares details on about the items in her home here, if you’d like to check out this helpful post! 💕

      • Griselda

        I appreciate the info.
        I need to find a less expensive version ……….. Champagne test, beer income.

        • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

          You’re welcome! Hoping the details in the product description will help you pinpoint a similar option that you love! 🤞❤️

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