GettyImages jbWfsn.width .jpg

The Surprising Benefits of Electronics Recycling on Your Wallet

A person sits on a riverbank next to their bicycle, looking at their smartphone.

Image source: Getty Images

Every time you upgrade your smartphone or get a new laptop, what do you do with your old devices? Ideally, you don’t throw them away — that’s bad for the environment. And hopefully you’re not just shoving your old electronics devices into a dusty pile in a drawer somewhere and forgetting about them.

Old electronics have value, beyond the sentimental memories of playing video games with your friends or texting with your loved ones. If you have a pile of used smartphones, game consoles, tablets, laptops and other electronic devices sitting in your house — you’re sitting on a goldmine!

No, seriously: Many electronics devices contain gold and other precious metals. Electronics recycling is becoming a big business. Companies are trying to hold onto the valuable materials that can be collected from broken, scrapped devices. And used electronics that still have some working life can be refurbished and sold for a profit, or donated to people in need.

Let’s look at a few ways that electronics recycling can make a positive difference to your wallet.

1. Sell your used electronics for money, store credit, or gift cards

The easiest way to use electronics recycling to improve your personal finances is by trading in or selling your old devices. Here are a few companies that will give you store credit or gift cards in exchange for trading in your old phone or other electronic devices:

  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • Best Buy
  • Samsung
  • Target
  • T-Mobile
  • Verizon
  • Walmart

Some companies will let you sign up for a device trade-in online and ship your old devices to them, while others let you drop off your old devices at a local store. Check the company website to see which options are available near you.

If your old devices are completely broken or obsolete beyond the point of having any cash value, some of these companies won’t give you money or credit, but they might still accept the broken devices for proper recycling.

If you’d rather sell your old phone or other devices for cash, here are a few options.

BankMyCell (

This site offers instant quotes from a wide range of electronics buyback companies, all of which pay cash for old devices. You can use this service to get cash for old phones, tablets, smartwatches, gaming consoles, and other electronics. Your price quotes are locked in for 30 days, and you get free shipping to send your devices to the buyer of your choice.

ecoATM (

This company has over 5,000 kiosks at malls and local stores where you can get instant cash for your old phones, MP3 players, and tablets. No haggling or shipping required! Just go to a local kiosk, follow the instructions, put your device into the kiosk, and (if you like the price quote) get immediate cash.

Sellcell (

This site collects price quotes from other electronics buyback companies to show you a range of possible cash offers for your old cellphone, tablet, smartwatch, gaming console, or other devices.

2. Start an electronics recycling side hustle

If you have a knack for working with electronics and enjoy the process of dismantling old devices, you might want to start a side hustle in electronics recycling. Many old computers can be taken apart for scrap materials. Check eBay to see what kinds of old computer parts are in demand and how much they’re selling for. This can help you figure out what kinds of devices are worth the time and effort to break down into scrap.

You’re going to need good sources of “raw materials” (old electronics) to supply your electronics recycling business. Contact small businesses, nonprofits, or hospitals in your area and see if they have old electronics devices that they’re putting out of commission. Big companies might already have contracts with larger-scale electronics recycling providers, but if you do some marketing to smaller organizations in your local area, you might find a good niche where people need your help.

And consider knocking on doors and handing out fliers to get electronics recycling business from your local neighborhood. Host an electronics recycling drive or offer to pick up old computers/phones/devices from people in your neighborhood in exchange for a small fee. Many people might have old devices they’d love to get rid of, but don’t have time or energy to deal with signing up for an online buyback service or running an extra errand. Turn other people’s electronic junk into electronic funds transfers (EFTs) in your bank account!

Bottom line

Electronics recycling is important for the environment. By safely disposing of old devices, you can help keep toxic materials like lead and mercury from ending up in landfills and leaching into people’s drinking water. But along with going green for the planet, electronics recycling can put some green (dollars) in your wallet. There are many ways to get cash for your old phone or trade in your old devices for store credit and gift cards. You could even start a lucrative side hustle by helping your neighbors and local businesses get rid of old electronics in a safe, eco-friendly way.

Our picks for 2024’s best credit cards

Our experts carefully review the most popular offers and select those that are worthy of a spot in your wallet. These standout cards come with fantastic benefits like sign-up bonuses worth $200 or more, 0% intro APR for up to 21 months, and cash back rates up to 5%.

Click here to see our top credit cards

We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers.
The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.John Mackey, former CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Amazon, Apple, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts