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November 14th, 2013

It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future. This is meant to underline the folly of “static thinking”  – assuming that today’s pace of resource depletion and waste will continue unabated into the future. The fatal flaw? There is no acknowledgment of the greatest resource of all, human imagination. For example, the dawn of the Computer Age saw predictions that beige boxes would cover the landscape. Instead, we have smaller, lighter, recyclable products, and new technologies and services for taking care of e-waste, outmoded gadgets, and “used tech.” Human ingenuity wins again.


There are various ways you can participate in recycling and re-purposing old tech. We’ll take a look at four major ways to:

  • trade, recycle, or dispose of branded electronics with most of the big-name tech firms, as well as retailers;
  • sell or trade them in, putting them back into the (used) market;
  • donate devices to nonprofits and others—government agencies, churches, community groups—to repair and give to others; and
  • repurpose various tech products via DIY projects at home, school, and other locations.

1. Trade, recycle, dispose — Some firms (Lenovo, Canon, Dell) will accept only their own products for recycling, while others (HP, Sony EcoTrade) take any device regardless of maker. In addition to big phone makers (LG, Motorola), niche firms like appliance maker Dyson and game company Nintendo offer programs for their products, too. When you return an Apple product, whether it’s an iMac or MacBook, the firm will apply any monetary value it may have to a gift card.

2. Sell or trade in — You can easily go on the Internet and list your used tech for sale. There are brand-specific sites that specifically want, say, Apple’s Macs, Xserve RAID units, and iPhones. Other firms will buy any and all used devices to refurbish and resell. Gazelle is well known for this, while others such as Glyde will even estimate the varying amounts you’d get from selling on various websites. The Amazon Trade-In Program issues gift cards for eligible used electronics (plus books, DVDs, phones).

3. Donate for redistribution — Your working used tech can be quite beneficial to someone else. Many nonprofits and groups collect and refurbish cellphones, PCs, tablets, and other devices to give to those in need. Both the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)—which works with Cellular Recycler—and Verizon’s HopeLine are connecting survivors of domestic violence with important resources. You can direct your donations to soldiers, the disadvantaged, and even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

4. Repurpose via art, DIY Projects — An old television makes a great picture frame, among other things. Consider using your old tech gear as containers, frames, bases for lamps or sculptures, vases, or freestanding “statements.” Some project sites are meant for true, soldering-iron-wielding geeks who want to make robots or Rube Goldberg contraptions. However, there are also scores of websites that show you how to turn old tech gear into works of art (or sheer whimsy) with no special skills required.

Of course one of the easiest ways to recycle is to rent technology for short-term office use, projects or events. CRE Rentals is stocked with the latest computer, audiovisual rental inventory, ready to deliver (or ship) to your location to meet your needs. Learn more about our products and services by calling (877) 266-7725.

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