If you have a flip phone that you haven’t used in over a decade, or maybe even a broken tablet, Amazon will pay for a shipping label that you can use to send it in for recycling. Apparently this recycling program has been around for a while, but some of us have The edge didn’t even know about it until we saw this tweet from journalist Dave Zatzand thought it might be a good idea to spread the word.
Amazon’s recycling program allows you to ship your small electronics for free from any UPS drop-off point (just provide the packaging). Amazon will then transfer the received devices to an authorized recycling facility, noting that it will remove or destroy any “identifying characters or personal information” in the process. However, Amazon still recommends doing a factory reset on your device (if it still works) before sending it in.
According to Amazon spokesperson Saige Kolpack, the company’s recycling program isn’t new — it’s actually been around “for years,” and Amazon just launched a new page in April to make it easier for customers to find. It should not be confused with Amazon’s trade-in program, which allows you to send Amazon devices, cell phones, video games, and other electronics in exchange for an Amazon gift card. You get nothing in return for sending devices to be recycled, except the personal satisfaction of doing a small part for the environment.
The program is limited to small electronics only. You can find a list of all accepted devices if you click through to Amazon’s recycling page (which is still fully functional, despite looking like something you’d find on the web in 2005). This includes e-readers, tablets, keyboards, mice, video game consoles, device cases, cell phones, fitness trackers, smart home devices, and more. It will accept just about any small device that fits in a small box or envelope — broken or not — as long as they don’t have “swollen or leaking batteries.”
I’m already looking at a few devices in my house to recycle for free — like that mini speaker that I thought at the time would be a great purchase from Dollar General (don’t judge). And since I already have a stack of shipping boxes from my previous online purchases, I can double that and recycle plus the device.
But if you’re not a cardboard box collector and don’t want to pay for your own shipping materials, it’s worth noting that you can always take your old, smaller electronics to your local Best Buy. Here you can return and recycle up to three items per household per day for free (or for a $29.99 fee for TVs and monitors). Best Buy even gets rid of your old devices for $39.99 if you order a replacement through the retailer. Alternatively, you can also pay Best Buy $199 to come to your home to carry up to two large items (such as a TV or washing machine) without having to order a new one, in addition to an unlimited number of small electronics.