Recycling computers and parts is a great way to make money recycling stuff that would otherwise flood the landfills.
In today’s world, almost everyone has a computer. Heck, in first world countries like the United States, most of us have more than one computer at a time. Most of us buy a new laptop or PC (even tablets, gaming consoles, cell phones and other tech devices) every few years to replace the older slower versions.
Some people even believe that tech companies deliberately slow down the older versions of their devices in order to keep consumers spending money buying new versions. Apple even admitted they deliberately slow down older iPhones.
The point is, most of us have an old computer or two laying around the house that we no longer use.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is estimated that 50 million computers become obsolete every year.
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So what are you supposed to do with your old computers?
How about recycling them for money!
You may be thinking, “who has the time to go through the hassles of taking old PCs to the local junkyard?”
Well, you don’t have to!
In fact, if you want to make money as a recycler, your local junkyard is the last places you would want to take your old devices to unless you want to pay for gas and not get anything in return.
There are other, easier, ways to recycle your PC and get paid for it.
This is not the 90s. Recycling old electronics is surprisingly easy these days.
Her’es how you can make money by recycling your unused computers and laptops.
What will I learn?
Where do I find old computers?
Your basement or attic would be the best place to start with if you are a tech nerd. But not all of us have the time or money to have dozens of computers and parts laying around the house.
In that case, your next best option for finding old and unused computers and parts is asking friends, neighbors and family members.
Here’s the thing…
The reality is that most people just toss their old computer or laptop in the trash. So they would actually be happy to have you pick them up for free.
All you have to do is ask!
There are a few ways to find unwanted computers actually.
Put an add on Craigslist or other local classified sites. Let people know that you will pick up their old, unused or broken computers and/or parts for free. You’d be surprised how many people have broken or unused computers, laptops and parts in their garage or basement wasting away.
Another thing you can do is print out some flyers and hand them out in your local area. You can even stick some on local grocery store’s bulletin boards.
- Facebook posting
Another very easy and effective way to source old computers is posting on Facebook. Save time by posting a message on Facebook so all your friends can see it.
By the way, these methods are actually great ways to get free laptops and computers. So even if you don’t want to recycle, this could come in handy.
How to actually make money recycling computers
Ok, now that you have a few great sources for finding computers to recycle for cash, it’s time to actually go through the process of recycling and making money.
Now, there are a few ways you can make money depending on your skills and how much you know about computers.
1. Combine parts to make “new” computers & sell for cash
If you want to make the most cash as a computer recycler, this is your best bet.
If you know enough about computer and their parts, you can take the working parts from a few different computers, put ’em together and make a brand new functioning computer. Then all you have to do is sell it (family, friends, coworkers, Craigslist, etc)
Even if you don’t much about computers, a few hours of researching and reading online can help you with that.
The computer I’m using to write this very post on is one that I built a few years back thanks to the Forum section of the famous Tom’s Hardware.
I had no idea what the components of a computer were.
I was clueless!
But I had heard a lot of good things about building your own PC and how not only you could save money, but you could also build a much better and faster computer than the ones you can pick up at any electronics store like Best Buy.
It took me a few hours of reading, asking questions on forums like TomsHardware, and a trip down to our local Micro Center, and within a few days I had my brand new computer built for just a few hundred dollars, but with the performance of a $2000 store-bought computer.
The point is, it’s not that hard to learn what goes into a PC so you can take working parts from various old computers and put ’em together to build a new functioning computer.
Once you build your computer, put an ad on Craigslist and sell it for a reasonable price.
You can also sell it to friends and family.
And if you like the process and end up making good money, maybe you can turn this into a regular money-making business.
2. Fix old PC’s
If you only have one computer or don’t have all the parts to build a new PC, you can buy that part separately from the store.
Then use it along with other old but working parts to fix the computer.
And to make sure you don’t overpay, you can use a pricing search engine like Pricewatch.com.
It helps you compare prices and find the best available deals.
3. Sell hardware & other internal parts
Another way to make money from old and unused computers is to take out the functioning hardware so you can sell ’em individually.
A lot of people build their own computers these days, and as it is so often, there are always parts that hard to find.
As you recycle and collect more computers, you’re going to have an increasing number of parts that you can’t match with other parts to build a new one.
Your best option would be to sell those parts to people who need them.
eBay is a great place for selling various computer parts, so is any computer building related forum like the one I mentioned above
4. Trade in old Computers and laptops
One of the best options that most people seem to ignore is trade-ins.
A lot of stores actually have programs where you can trade in or sell your laptops and computers for either cash, gift cards or newer versions (in which case you do have to pay the difference out of pocket.)
Also, computers and laptops aren’t the only things you can trade. Most of these places accept all kinds of electronics, including mobile phones, tablets, gaming devices, iPods, printers, GPS, cameras and other devices.
Here are a few places where you can trade in old PCs and laptops:
With Amazon Trade-In, you can trade all kinds of devices including laptops, Kindle e-readers, streaming media devices, cell phones, Bluetooth speaker and even textbooks.
You will receive Amazon gift cards for each trade in.
When it comes to buying and selling old electronics, Gazelle is one of the most popular sites. You can send in your computer using a free prepaid shipping label that you can print right off the site. Once they accept your device, you get paid via PayPal, Check or Amazon gift card (your choice).
With Target Trade-In, you can trade anything from computers to cell phones and even gift cards. Simply find your device on the site and get it appraised for free, then ship it to the company (for free). Once they receive the item, they’ll send you a Target gift card.
There are many other places where you can sell your cellphones, computers, laptops and other devices. They all work similarly to sites like Gazelle.
Here are a few of the best ones:
- Best Buy Trade-In
5. Sell to scrap yards
As a last resort, you can always sell whatever is left to your local electronic scrapyard.
You won’t get paid much, but it’s better than throwing them in the trash.
It’s basically cash for your trash!
The Bottom Line
Recycling in general is a win-win.
It is one of the easiest ways for most of us mere mortals to do our part in keeping our planet healthier and protecting our environment.
Not only that, recycling, -be it recycling aluminum cans for cash, newspapers and cardboard boxes, recycling wood pallets or recycling electronics – is a great way to make some extra cash with things that otherwise would just end up in the local landfill.
So, if you’re looking for ways to earn extra income, consider collecting and recycling old computers for cash.