Posted by: hmchang | December 2, 2010

Life: Feel Good to Recycle (no-longer-needed) Electronics

Thanksgiving is usually the time I bought new “gadgets” that I want at a cheap price. However, that also means that many of my old gadgets may no longer be in used or become obsolete. For example, I have bought and used 4 different MP3 players these years. The older two already stop functioning and the between the latest two (Sandisk Sansa View and a 2nd generation iPod Touch), I now only use the iPod Touch.

I have been thinking about how to “recycle” or “sell” my old electronics. After doing some research, I found the Green Earth Exchange program where we can trade-in old electronics for Amazon gift cards. Although there are some other such recycling websites, I didn’t actually compare them but just go with the Green Earth Exchange’s service. The reason is that their service is quite straightforward – not trading in for some “points”, but for gift cards. Since I often shop at Amazon.com, I would love to take Amazon.com gift certificate for exchange – although cash is often time more preferred.

First, I searched if they list the product I would like to trade-in. Fortunately, for my 8GB Sandisk Sansa View, I can still get 14/10 USD if the device is in an excellent/good condition. After accepting the terms for device trade-in, I  printed out a mailing label that provided free shipping on sending my device to them. It tookabout one week for them to get my device and they took two days to evaluate the condition. Today, they told me that my Sansa View had scratches on its screen and is thus classified as “Good” condition and would offer me 10USD for the trade-in. After accepting their offer, it did not take long for me to receive a email containing the amount of Amazon.com gift certificate.

In general, I think it is worth pursuing the return. If I want to sell my Sansa View on ebay or craglist, I can probably get a better monetary values but there would be more hassle for me and may not get as much return as I expected. In addition, Sansa is not as popular as the Apple products so I wonder how good a second-hand device will sell. The trick is that, always act fast and the monetary value of electronics degrades after time. Maybe if I decide to trade-in a few months later, I will get less money back. That’s true for my broken camera (Canon A80), which has zero value according to Green Electronics Exchange.

So what to do with those that has no monetary value? Green Electronics Exchange still offer free shipping but no gift certificate if you can find the name of the product online. But I didn’t go for that route. The other day, I walked into the US post office nearby  my house and found that they are providing free plastic bags for recycling cell phones, PDA’s, smart phones, MP3 Players,digital camera, or up to four inkjet cartridges. It’s free shipping for recycling, too. Therefore, I mailed in my no-longer-in-use MP3 players and a malfunctioned Canon A80.

I actually felt good that I have recycled some old electronics – not only because that I get some money out of it, but also make my room a little bit tidier (although they are probably quite small …).

Useful tip: Trade-in while your electronic devices still have monetary values, or just use it till it dies to get the most of it.

 

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