Consumer Reports: Turn your old electronics into cash

March 13, 2012 5:14:24 AM PDT
Are you tripping over electronics you no longer use, but can't seem to get rid of, like computers, printers and cell phones?

Consumer Reports says you just might be able to turn that electronic trash into cash.

Old electronics need to be disposed of properly because of toxins they contain, but these days recycling isn't the only answer. More and more stores and websites will give you gift cards or cash for your old computers, cell phones and iPods.

"The latest trend is stores and online retailers like offering cash or trade-ins for your old electronics," Consumer Reports' Lisa Lee Freeman said.

Best Buy, for instance, will take back "gently used" laptops, iPods and mobile phones right at the store with a Best Buy receipt.

At Best Buy online, you'll be able to trade in a wider variety of products, even older items bought at other stores. As with many other retailers, you'll get a gift card in exchange.

Radio Shack also buys old electronics in stores or online.

And Target runs an electronics trade-in program with the company NextWorth.

"Hot products like iPhones and iPads will get you the best prices," Freeman said.

But prices vary. For instance, a 16-gig iPhone can get $125 on the site Cell it Used, $132 on Gazelle, and nearly $250 on Glyde.

"To get the most for your electronics, try to hang on to accessories like manuals, cases and chargers," Freeman said. "The original boxes help, too."

And even if the retailer won't give you anything for your old stuff, usually you can still send it in and the company will recycle it responsibly.

You can also consider making a donation of your old electronics to charities like the Salvation Army and Goodwill, as long as they are in good working condition.

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