We all have old electronics squirreled away in our drawers and closets. It’s hard to admit that a computer, phone, or peripheral that cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars years ago has little or no value. That’s doubly true if it doesn’t work anymore. Once you’ve decided to get rid of that PowerBook 520 from the 1990s or your first digital camera from 2004, resist the urge to toss it in the trash.
In some places, it’s illegal to throw out electronics because they tend to contain heavy metals like mercury, lead, and lithium, plus other hazardous materials that can pollute the air if incinerated or contaminate the ecosystem if buried in landfills. Even if dumping e-waste is not actively illegal in your area, it’s a terrible thing to do. So what can you do instead?