How Can You Make Money From Your Old Electronics?

If you’re like most consumers, you tend to accumulate electronics at a shocking pace. You might get a new smartphone every year and get at least one new device like a video game console, a TV, or a laptop. Eventually, this leads to a buildup of waste – a bunch of electronic devices you’re no longer using that are just taking up space.

It would be a waste to simply throw those electronics away – and more importantly, it would be environmentally destructive.

Instead, wouldn’t you rather make some money and get rid of your devices in a responsible way simultaneously?

You can. In fact, there are many options that allow you to do this.

Trade In

Depending on where you buy your next electronic device, you may be able to trade in your old one for a fraction of its value. For example, let’s say you have last year’s model of smartphone and you’re interested in upgrading to this year’s. The new model is $900 but the trade-in value of the old phone is $400; you can get the new phone for $500, dramatically reducing the cost of getting it.

Of course, there are a few important caveats to the value of this exchange. For starters, store owners don’t take every kind of phone – and certainly don’t take every type of device. On top of that, you may not be able to trade in your phone if it isn’t working properly. Second, the trade-in value may be less than what you could get if you sold the device on the open market. That trade-in value will also be applied to your next purchase; you won’t get it in cash in most cases.

Sell to a Consumer

If your phone is still working properly, you might be able to sell it to another consumer – someone else who can use this device. This affords you a great deal of flexibility. You can list the device for sale on any number of platforms, including online auction sites where you can get as much value as possible.

However, there are a few downsides to this approach as well. There’s no guarantee that you’re going to find a buyer; if your device is old, in poor condition, or if the market is flooded with better options, you might not find an available buyer willing to pay the price you’re asking. Additionally, you’ll need to think about security; it’s important that you wipe the device of all personal data before making it available to anyone else.

Sell to Refurbish

You could also sell your phone to a refurbisher, whose job will be to restore the device to full working order (so it looks and feels new) so it can be resold to a customer. If you go this route, you probably won’t have to repair or clean up the device in any way; as long as it’s somewhat salvageable, the refurbisher will likely buy it in any condition.


Another common option is to sell your electronics to an eWaste recycler. If your device is too old to be traded in for a decent value or if it’s not working properly, this may be your best option.

Simply throwing your electronic waste away is a bad idea. Not only will it cause environmental damage (causing heavy metals to get into the soil and groundwater), it may also be a violation of the law in your area. Recycling ensures that your device will be disposed of properly.

You’ll make a bit of money when trading in your device. Then, it will be broken down into its raw materials, which will be processed and resold to manufacturers.


If your device is still working, you can donate it to a nonprofit organization, who can then distribute it to someone who needs it. It’s a great way to give life to your old device and it’s completely tax deductible – so you can write off the costs and save money in the process.

Drop Off With the Manufacturer

Some manufacturers offer an incentive program, giving you money in exchange for your old devices. Check to see if your device’s manufacturer offers such a deal.


If you’re feeling creative, you might even be able to break your device down and use it to make art. If you create an interesting sculpture, or a statement on the modern world of tech, you might be able to sell it for more than the device is worth.

There’s no shortage of ways to make money from old electronics – even if they’re many years old and no longer working the way they should. No matter what your priorities or concerns are, there are some strategies here that should work for you.




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