How to Dispose of Electronics

Couch Next to Dumpster

The Complete Electronics Disposal Guide

Getting rid of old electronics like TVs, computers and cellphones can seem tricky, but there are actually several options for disposal. Many outdated electronics are still valuable and can be donated or recycled. If not, there are plenty of other alternatives for throwing them away. Use this guide to learn how to properly dispose of electronics.

 

What to Do Before Disposing of Electronics

  1. Before throwing away electronics, remove all of your personal information. For computers, follow these steps to wipe your hard drive. For cellphones, follow these instructions to delete all personal data.

  2. If any of your electronics include rechargeable batteries, remove them before disposal and recycle them separately. Rechargeable batteries contain harmful substances that should not be sent to landfills.

 

Trash Can Icon

Top 3 Electronics Disposal Options

Wondering what to do with broken electronics? If recycling isn’t an option for your items, there are a few convenient ways to dispose of them. Once you’ve cleared your personal data, choose one of these options to get rid of them safely.

1. Rent a Roll Off Dumpster

A good route for throwing away electronics is to include them as part of a larger home cleanout. Renting a dumpster is an economical way to get rid of everything at once. You can get rid of old electronics, used furniture and broken knickknacks in one quick cleanup and not have to worry about taking them to separate collection sites.

Dumpster Filled With Electronics on Blueprint Background
BenefitsThings to Consider
- Choose a dumpster size that fits your project.
- Some electronics are not allowed in a dumpster or require a processing fee. Call our team to learn more about regulations in your area.
- Keep your container on-site for as long as you need it.- Best for disposing of electronics as part of a larger junk removal project.
- Get rid of all your old electronics and household junk in one place.
- No need to be on-site for delivery.

Ready to Rent a Dumpster?

2. Check With Your Curbside Collection Service

If you have just a few electronics to get rid of, you may be able to place them in your garbage can or on the curb for collection. However, some cities ban electronics from area landfills due to the hazardous materials they contain. Double-check the rules in your location.

BenefitsThings to Consider
- Can be a low-cost electronics disposal option.- Collection may be limited to certain types of electronics or a specific number of items.
- Useful for throwing a few small electronic devices away.- Not available in all areas.
- You’re stuck with your old electronics until your scheduled collection day.
Piles of Old Electronics at Hazardous Waste Facility

3. Find a Local Household Hazardous Waste Facility

If curbside collection isn’t an option in your area and you don’t have enough junk to warrant renting a dumpster, you might be wondering how to properly dispose of your electronics. The best place to drop off electronics is your local household hazardous waste facility where they will be safely disassembled for disposal. Some facilities serve individual cities, while others operate at the county level. Contact your city's public works department or search for a household hazardous waste facility near you.

BenefitsThings to Consider
- An affordable electronics disposal option.- Collection may be limited to certain items.
- Useful for throwing a few small electronic devices away.- Not available in all areas.
- You will have to haul your electronics yourself.
Recycle Arrows Icon

Where to Recycle Your Electronics

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly electronics disposal option, recycling may be a possibility. Recycling old electronics can help conserve the materials they contain while keeping any hazardous substances out of landfills.

Wondering where you can recycle your old electronics? Here are a few options.

1. Find a Take-Back or Trade-In Program

If you are planning to upgrade your electronics, contact the manufacturer or retailer to find out if they offer a discount or trade-in option for returning an older model. Amazon offers a mail-in option, providing gift cards in exchange for cellphones, e-readers, tablets and Bluetooth speakers. Apple also offers credits on new iPhones, iPads, computers and Apple Watches when you trade in a device in good condition.

Woman at Store Counter

2. Research Retailer Recycling Programs

Some retailers, including Best Buy, host electronics recycling programs. Call ahead to make sure the location near you is accepting your items and plan to drop them off. Call2Recycle also places drop boxes at retail locations to collect cellphones and rechargeable batteries for recycling. Not sure how to recycle an old computer? HP offers return and recycling options for a wide variety of electronics and hardware.

3. Visit a Local E-Waste Collection Event

Municipalities often host events to help residents get rid of old electronics responsibly. Call your city’s service department to find out if there is an event being held near you. Make sure to ask what types of products are accepted and where to drop off your electronics for recycling.

4. Sell Your Old Electronics

If your electronics are still valuable, you can try to sell them on your own instead of throwing them away. Sites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and eBay let you list your items for others to purchase, so you can easily get rid of your electronics without sending them to a landfill.

Donation Banner

Options for Donating Your Old Electronics

Electronics that are in working condition and not significantly outdated can be donated to charity instead of being thrown away. You can donate your old electronics if:

  • They are less than five years old.
  • They still function reliably.
  • They do not require major repairs or replacement parts.
     

Note that while many charities don’t have the resources to repair damaged devices, some that specialize in electronics may accept items in need of repair.

Consider the following options when looking for ways to donate old electronics.

1. Give Back to Community Organizations

Local schools, libraries, adult education and employment programs often accept used computers and related accessories, while local domestic violence and homeless shelters will occasionally look for cellphones, computers and TVs. If you are getting rid of a functional TV, contact local senior centers or assisted living facilities to see if they are in need of one.

Reach out to your local centers to find out what they need before you drop off any working electronics.

Exterior of School Building

2. Find a National Organization Collecting Electronics

Nonprofits around the country collect used electronics to help them further their missions. From cellphones to computers, use the list below to find a facility that will accept your items.

  • Computers with Causes: Simply fill out a form on their website to learn how to donate your computers, tablets and related accessories that are less than three years old. Personal information should be deleted prior to donating.
  • Secure the Call: This nonprofit collects out-of-service cellphones that can be used to call 9-1-1 in case of emergency. Any functional cellphone can be submitted to the program via mail once it’s been wiped of personal information.
  • Goodwill: In some locations, Goodwill accepts computers, cellphones and various electronic accessories including DVD players and stereos. In most locations, TVs are not accepted. To donate, call your local Goodwill and find out what items they accept.
  • Salvation Army: Call your local facility to find out if they are currently accepting computers, cellphones and TVs. Then, you can arrange the drop-off or pickup of your items.
  • Vietnam Veterans of America: Contact Vietnam Veterans of America to donate working televisions, excluding CRT, DLP and tube TVs. They also accept computers, DVD players, stereos and more. They will work with you to schedule the pickup of your items.
     

Always inquire about your local organization's needs and in what condition they accept items.

Question Mark Icon

Frequently Asked Questions About Electronics Disposal

Can I mix electronics with other debris in a dumpster rental?

Are there any fees associated with disposing of electronics?

Why are there special regulations for electronics disposal?

Why are older, bulky TVs hard to get rid of?

Find the Right Dumpster for Your Project

Have Something Else to Throw Out? Find the Right Guide Below:

Appliance Icon

Appliances

Electronics Icon

Furniture

Dirt Icon

Dirt

Mattress Icon

Mattresses

Yard Waste Icon

Yard Waste

Bricks Icon

Bricks

Concrete Icon

Concrete

Shingles Icon

Shingles

Rocks Icon

Rocks