Climate Risk & ESG Risk

How to Recycle your Old Laptops, Phones, Cameras and Batteries for Free?

Supriti Tripathy

30th Mar'21
How to Recycle your Old Laptops, Phones, Cameras and Batteries for Free? | OpenGrowth

"Waste isn’t waste until we waste it. "

Gadgets are the prized possession of every modern-day individual. Cell phones, laptops, cameras, printers, iPods, etc., we all use to make our lives easier. Unfortunately, like humans, they, too, are mortals. That’s when the burden arises.

You must have junk of used cell phones, batteries, or a broken watch in some corner of your closet. The reality is, that gadgets have a smaller life, and whether or not you update them from time to time, they need replacement. What do you do after that?

The best thing to do is to donate or recycle it. Some groups can help you recycle your digital trash and make it useful for someone else. Electronics are filled with ‘heavy metals’ which when dumped can release harmful chemicals like mercury and lead into the air. We have a list of groups committed to the effective recycling of these old junks categorically and making the world a little more greener.


Recycling Gadgets

In the current day, where electronic devices have become an essential part of daily life, recycling gadgets is a crucial habit. The lifespan of devices is getting shorter due to the rapid advancement of technology, which is concerningly increasing the amount of electronic trash. Recycling electronics not only helps recover valuable resources like metals, polymers, and rare earth elements, but it also lessens the environmental impact of electronic trash. This sustainable method lowers the energy needed for raw material extraction and processing while also conserving natural resources. Furthermore, by properly disposing of electronics, dangerous materials are kept out of the soil and water, protecting ecosystem health as well as human health. 


With a vision to protect and preserve the environment through responsible end-of-life management, Call2Recycle is known to collect and dispose of rechargeable batteries and phones. This company charges you nothing and can refurbish your device for resale or recycle the materials to be used as raw material for a new device. For example, the kitchen flatware you eat with may have been powering your phone.

Its partners are HomeDepot, Apple Stores, Staples, Best Buy, among others. HomeDepot takes phones up to 11 pounds, Best Buy accepts three phones per household per day. You also have the option of donating your phone to the program, Cell Phones for Soldiers, which lets the military call their homes for free. Don’t forget to back up your data before the donation.


Recycle batteries and computer


E-waste Recycling

Promoting a circular economy—where materials are reused, lessening the load on landfills, and advancing a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future—requires embracing a culture of e-waste recycling.

Laptop/ Computers

Laptops/ Computers less than five years old can be reused by someone. Newer ones can be given to libraries after being refurbished. What about the old ones? You can donate them to Earth911. All you have to do is type in “laptop computer” to your search engine, enter your PIN and find the nearest drop-off site. EPA(Environmental Protection Agency) has listed a website called Certified Electronics Recyclers that gives you information about refurbisher and recycler companies. EPA has also listed in programs called Sustainable Materials Management(SMM) Electronics Challenge. Vendors like Dell, Samsung, and Sony and participants like Best Buy and Staples are registered with EPA. 

Remember to give the laptop all its accessories. Wipe off your data. Donating your laptop can earn you a tax break. You can get additional information on this from the IRS website.



If you have your chargers, earphones, mobile carriers lying around somewhere in your miscellaneous boxes, it's time to let them go. AT&T store gives you credit on them for your next purchase. Sprint offers to buy back old phones from customers and provides credit for new ones. Sprint broke the Guinness World Record in 2013 for most cell phones recycled in one week.

Capital Scrap Metal and InvestmentMine check the worth of your scrap electronic wires and pay you based on the metal of the wire. Example: InvestmentMine pays about $2.35 per pound of copper wire. 

Above all this, you also have the option to donate cables, chords, and the like to local science, technology, school programs, or Google STEM or Earth911.


Camcycle & Larger Electronics

You might have held onto your camera relics from the early 2000s; some places let you donate your cams. BestBuy, HomeDepot, Earth911Lowes are the few that recycles cameras and camcorders.

TVs need more diligence in donations as they are categorized into larger electronics. If the TV set still functions, donate it to a secondhand store. Smart TVs contain personal information; it’s vital to restore it to factory settings. While packing the TV and the chords, be very neat, bundle the wires nicely and tape them to the unit. There are toxic materials that need proper handling while being disposed of.

Best Buy lets customers drop in two TVs per household in a day. Each set pays the customer$30. With a replacement, Best Buy charges $30 for pick up of the old TV, and no accompanying delivery increases the rate of pickup to $100.

Recommended: Watershed- A Fight Against Climate Change


Kill Waste Until Waste Kills You

It’s imperative to understand that e-waste needs proper disposal and recycling. It cannot be handled like normal stuff. The reason being all these electronics contain different liquids that are toxic. Chromium, Lead, flame retardants can seriously cause an imbalance in the ecosystem and lead to several issues related to the heart and kidney. Hence proper channels need to be employed to make that work easy. Relying on the above companies and programs can take the responsibility off our shoulders to make a sustainable effort of recycling our waste and make the earth all green again.


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A believer of good things and pursuer of diverse avocation, she is a fiction lover and a simple writer. Supriti has a number of professions to her list and she feels challenges are the only answers to failures.