If your device has a power switch and is powered by a battery, it’s considered a small electronic. Small electronics include cell phones, tablet computers, MP3 players and digital cameras. Small electronics are not only easy to recycle, but they are sometimes the most valuable products you can recycle.
Sponsored by Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc.
This guide contains affiliate links. We will receive a commission if you purchase from them or use their services.
Small Electronics Recycling Preparation
- If it’s possible to factory reset your electronics, this should be your first step in recycling. Delete any pictures or songs from your devices.
- For electronics using a lithium-ion battery, remove the battery if possible. These batteries require a special transportation procedure, and can be recycled with other rechargeable batteries.
- Look for a mail-in program that will pay for small electronics. You can also find charities that will accept your small electronics to raise money.
- If you work in an office, ask your company’s IT department to schedule an electronics recycling event once a year. You’d be amazed how many offices have lots of computers to recycle, and an electronic waste recycler that comes to pick up office waste will also collect consumer products like tablets at no cost.
Find organizations near you that accept small electronics using our Recycling Locator.
Why Recycle Small Electronics
- EPEAT estimates 40 percent of the heavy metals in landfills comes from electronics.
- Even though the amount of gold in small electronics has been cut significantly in the past 15 years, you can get 1 gram of gold (the amount produced by mining a ton of ore) from just 41 cell phones.
- Still-working electronics can be refurbished and resold, with 100 percent of the materials given a second life.
Frequent Small Electronics Recycling Questions
- 4 Old Products You Can Reuse Instead of Toss: Just because you upgrade your electronics doesn’t mean there’s no use for the old ones
- Recycling for Profit: 5 Ways to Turn Your Trash into Cash: Small electronics are just one product you can recycle and make money
- Why You Should Care If Your E-Cycler Is Certified: An overview of the importance of certification for electronics recyclers
Help others recycle small electronics by sharing this on Pinterest.