Story by Andi Summers
Some companies are starting to buy back old electronics to spur spending and help the environment.
Consumer electronics have gotten a facelift — again. Apple recently released the iPad 2 with an improved 10-hour battery life, FaceTime and a slimmer, sleeker frame. Those with the first edition of the iPad may be wondering what to do with their now outdated version if they’ve upgraded. That same idea translates to every personal and household electronic. Flip phones and BlackBerrys are being replaced by Androids, HTCs and iPhones—and newer, slimmer and faster versions are replacing older models.
Upgrading old electronics is becoming a near necessity in our changing world. So now companies like Gazelle, Nextworth and CExchange, are teaming up with retailers like Target, Radioshack and Wal-Mart, to encourage consumers to resell their old electronics.
These companies hope to either reuse or recycle your iPhone 3G, your first generation BlackBerry Storm or your old trusty laptop, so each doesn’t end up in a landfill — and so perfectly usable products aren’t going to waste. In return, the consumer will receive a gift card for the price of the product, if it’s still working. If the product’s kaput, these companies will recycle the electronics for free.
“[Consumer] behavior has changed,” says Kristina Kennedy, director of brand and communications at Gazelle. “The iPad 2 was an exciting product and we saw a lot of new trade-ins occur. It was one of the busiest days we’ve had with people trading in old iPads.”
E-waste is the fastest growing part of the U.S. garbage stream, according to Gazelle. Every day, Americans throw out more than 350,000 cellphones, which translates to more than 100 million per year. “Recycling e-waste protects the city, helps in the recovery of valuable materials and stops [this waste] from taking up landfill space,” says Theresa Stiner, a senior environmental specialist at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
If that weren’t enough, many heavy metals are present in electronics. Copper, which is found in cathode ray tubes (read: discarded TV sets), can contain as much as six to eight pounds of lead.
Free up storage space by getting paid to recycle. Be rewarded for giving back your old electronics — what better motivation to continue giving back to the environment?