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Not so easy getting rid of old electronics

I took an old, broken laptop to several re-sellers, all of whom said they’d never buy it due to its age and condition. Lesson learned: No one wants to spend time trying to fix an old laptop and try to sell it for pennies, so the best thing to do with items like this is to safely recycle them. (See “How to junk it.”) 
Meanwhile, a never-used, still-in-the-box but four-ish-year-old HP Touchpad that was discontinued a month after it was released didn’t have much luck either. The people I talked to weren’t familiar with it and couldn’t give me an estimate unless they did some research on it. Manchester Pawn said they wouldn’t take it because they only take Apple products, but if they were to, they’d pay around $40 or $45 for it and sell it for $80 to $90. The best bet for an item like this may be to throw it on eBay and see if anyone’s interested.




Trash to Cash: Electronics


03/03/16
By Angie Sykeny asykeny@hippopress.com



 Whether it’s a laptop with a broken screen, a 10-year-old flip phone or a TV that’s on its last legs, you probably have some electronics you’d like to be rid of. Deciding what should be junked and what can be given second life can be tricky, however, since the value of an electronic device depends on a number of variables.

 
Is it worth anything? For Goodeed Electronics, a Nashua business that buys and sells pre-owned electronics, the condition and functionality of an item is a key factor.
“If it’s in working condition, it can be sold,” Moe Azar, store manager, said. “But some things that are broken can still be fixed. If it’s a broken screen or some small problem, we can buy it, fix it and sell it.”
The age and model of an electronic device play a big part and can mean the difference between pocket change and hefty payout. 
“For the standard laptops most people are getting rid of, if I had to come up with a price, I’d say they could get anywhere from $10 to $50 if someone buys it for parts,” said Jason Quinno, owner of Reliable Asset Recovery computer and electronics recycling center in Nashua. “If it’s a newer laptop and you break the screen but the unit is still good, someone will buy it, swap the screen, and it’s still a decent laptop. You might be able to get up to $700 or $800 for it.” 
 
How to sell it: If you think there’s money in your used electronics, you have a few options. If it’s a newer model and in working condition, you could bring it to an electronics store, consignment store that sells electronics or a pawn shop. Best Buy also has a trade-in program that allows you to redeem your used electronics for store credit. If it’s an older or broken item, your best bet is to put it online and see if someone will buy it for parts. 
 
How to donate it: If your electronics are functioning and you’d like to give them to a good cause, check with community organizations like schools, hospitals, senior programs or homeless shelters to see if they have a need for them. The Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock has a wishlist of donations like tablets and music players to help make patients and their families more comfortable during medical treatments. Many crisis centers and domestic violence organizations accept donated cell phones to give to victims and survivors. For old computers and computer equipment of any condition, head to Goodwill, which is currently partnering with Dell for the Dell Reconnect Program. Systems that can be refurbished and resold will benefit Goodwill, and systems that can’t be will be recycled. 
 
How to junk it: If the item is too old or broken, or if the payout is too small to be worth your while, there are places you can take it to be recycled.
Check with your town to see if it has drop-off facilities or collection days. Best Buy or Staples will take electronic trash off your hands for a fee, and nearly all mobile stores accept cell phones. Some buy-sell-trade electronics stores like Goodeed Electronics offer to recycle whatever items aren’t sellable.
For devices containing personal information, you may want to destroy the data before disposing of it. This service isn’t offered at most recycling locations, so you’ll need to take it to a specialist like Reliable Asset Recovery. 
“Most people don’t want to bother with it,” Quinno said. “But it’s important. You take your device to the dump, it could be sold off to someone and who knows what happens with your hard drive.”
Wherever you decide to junk your electronics, make sure that they will be recycled or properly disposed of. Some electronics contain hazardous materials like mercury and lead, which can pollute the air and water. 
“People can just throw electronics in the trash so easily, but our mission is to help people reuse and recycle the items they don’t use anymore,” Azar said. “It’s good for the environment and it’s a step for saving the planet as much as we can.”





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