How to Get Paid To Recycle Used Electronics

Recycling your old electronics not only brings a little extra money your way -- it also helps protect the environment by preventing the spill of chemicals into the water. Used computers, mobile phones, batteries and TVs can all be recycled in return for cash. If you are looking to help the environment, get rid of some old items, or just make some extra money, join a paid recycling program.

Pile of old electronic components in bin
credit: moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images
Some components in mobile phones and computers can harm the environment if not disposed of properly.

In-Store Recycling Programs

As of publication, Best Buy's Geek Squad will accept electronic devices purchased from any Best Buy location in return for a gift card on the spot or a check, which will be delivered via mail within seven days. You have to provide a receipt showing you purchased the item from Best Buy. Participating Target stores also will take back your Target-bought electronics in exchange for a Target Gift Card. To find out what your items are worth, present the item and your customer receipt to a representative at the Target Mobile Center located near the Electronics Department. Staples accepts office technology for cash rewards at any Staples location even if the items were not purchased from Staples.

Company Online Programs

You also can use an online recycling program instead of having a representative view your product in the store. Most online recycling programs require you to describe the item in a form and then wait for it to be received by the company before being reimbursed. In conjunction with NextWorth, Target.com offers reimbursements up to $200 for your electronics. Best Buy accepts a larger variety of electronics for payment online than in-store. Unlike trading in-store, though, Best Buy online recyclers must wait for either a gift card or check to be received in the mail. Walmart has partnered with Gazelle to accept electronic trade-ins from over 20 categories online. As of publication, Walmart only offers pre-paid Visa cards for trade-ins. Costco also teamed up with Gazelle to offer an online trade-in program, which provides free shipping plus payment if your item is worth more than $1.

Online Recycling Websites

Recycling websites that are not associated with specific stores also accept electronic trade-ins for money. Just like with company-sponsored trade-ins, you must fill in a form describing the item and send it in before you can receive compensation in the form of cash or gift cards. Some recycling websites specialize in specific items while others accept any electronic device. Flipswatch and Cell for Cash offer recycling programs only for mobile phones, while Cash4Cartridges and Toner Buyer have chosen to specialize in recycling ink toners. Any electronic device can be traded for cash on websites like Gazelle and YouRenew. You can also exchange your electronics for gift cards on websites like RecycleBank and SwagBucks.

Fake Recycling Programs

Unfortunately some recycling programs are both bogus and potentially harmful. According to the Electronics Take Back Coalition, recyclers should be aware of where their used electronic devices are going once they leave their hands. Most programs, both corporate and private, will have a web page which details their recycling processes. To avoid fake recycling programs, the Electronics Take Back Coalition recommends following the money trail to determine who is sponsoring and paying for the recycling program.