Nearly everyone in the modern world has access to computers and other electronic devices. You likely have to replace your home PC or laptop every couple of years or so. Phones, tablets and gaming devices also wear out or need to be upgraded.
What do you do with your old PC when you replace it with a new one? Don’t bring it to the junk yard just yet. Instead, consider one of the available options for recycling computers and other electronic items for cash.
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You Really Can Recycle Computers and Make Money
If you drop your old PC off at the local junk yard, you won’t get any money for it and they may even charge you to dispose of it. Instead of paying someone else to take your old computer or other electronic device, consider one of these ways to make money by recycling your old PC or other old computers you can get through other avenues such as the ones listed below.
Where do I Find Old Computers and Other Devices?
You probably don’t have dozens of old computers laying around in your basement, however there are other ways you can get discarded computers and electronic devices.
- Send out a mass email asking friends and family members for their old, unwanted computers, tablets, phones or other devices
- Put an ad on Craigslist offering to take others’ unwanted PCs and other electronic devices.
- Distribute flyers in neighborhoods offering to have an electronics recycling day, and spend a day picking up PCs, laptops and other electronic devices people leave on their curb
Once you’ve collected your computers and other items, you can make money by recycling them in one of these four different ways.
1. Repair and Resell Computers
Many times, computers that no longer function are in need of a simple and inexpensive replacement part or a good cleaning. A few years ago, when our personal computer started to get really slow, we simply brought it to the junk yard and bought a new one.
When our new one started to get really dragged down, however, we brought it to a computer repair shop. They spent a couple of hours cleaning it up and it ran good as new.
The repair shop had a store full of other computers that people no longer wanted. They repaired or cleaned up those computers and had them for sale on their store shelves for a discounted price.
If you know a bit about computers you can do the same thing. Find old computers or electronic devices. Clean them out, replace any non-working parts and resell them online through a site such as Craigslist, or another alternative, or advertise your available stock to family and friends.
Refurbished PCs and laptops are good sellers as they sell for a fraction of what they did at retail. We got a refurbished laptop computer a few years back that retailed originally for $1000, and we bought it for just $450. We still own that laptop today and it’s still running well.
If you know how to repair and refurbish used computers this could be a great source of side hustle income for you.
Combine Used Computer Parts to Make “New” Computers
If the discarded computers you find can’t be made functionable with a few new replacement parts or a good cleaning, you might be able to make a “new” used computer by combining the different parts you take from different discarded PCs you find.
Building a new computer is easier than you think with a little research and can be a great way to make cash from discarded PCs or laptops.
2. Sell Individual Parts from Computers
Many people look to save money on computers by building their own computers with a variety of different parts they can purchase. If you collect unwanted computers from a variety of sources, you’ll soon have a large inventory of computer parts.
You can then list those parts for individual sale on sites like EBay, where tech savvy consumers are searching for hardware and other internal parts they can use to repair their existing computers or build new ones to keep or sell to others.
3. Sell Your Computer Parts to Scrap Yards
As with recycled aluminum cans and other metals, there are many local scrap yards that will pay you for certain electronic items and parts you bring in to their shops.
The items and parts that electronics scrap yards will let you bring in for cash varies, but here is a short list to give you an idea.
- Cell phones
- Hard drives
- Disk drives
- Low grade boards
- Medium grade boards
- High grade boards
- CPU towers
- Power supplies
- Whole computers
If you google “electronic scrap yards near me” you should be able to come up with a few places close to you that will pay you for electronic scrap items.
The price for electronic scrap sold to scrap yards varies based on the individual scrap yard and based on the item you’re selling, but in my research, I found that you should be able to get anywhere from a few dollars a pound for items such as motherboards to $30, $40, $50 and more per pound for more valuable items such as CPUs.
Since all scrap yards pay different prices, it’s important to be clear with the employee at the yard on what they will pay you before agreeing to turn your electronics parts in. Also, most scrap yards pay on the spot, but if you’re dealing with a yard that makes you wait for payment, be sure to get the agreed upon amount for your electronics scrap in writing before you leave the scrap yard.
It won’t hurt either to check prices of several of the scrap yards in your area as you begin your business to see who pays the best price for discarded computers or computer parts.
If you decide to make computer recycling a regular source of extra income, you’ll want to be able to make the most money possible for your work by knowing which scrap yard pays the best.
4. Trade in Your Used Computers, Laptops or Other Electronic Items for Cash or Gift Cards
Several stores and websites will allow you to trade in old computers, laptops and other electronic devices in exchange for cash payments or store gift cards.
This can be a great way to make money recycling computers. Here are some of the most popular trade-in stores and sites people use to make money by recycling electronics.
According to their website, Gazelle is the “leading reCommerce company that buys and sells pre-owned consumer electronics.” They purchase used desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets and smartphones from people who are looking to make money, and then refurbish and resell them to customers.
If you’re looking to recycle computers with Gazelle, you simply send in the computers with the free prepaid shipping label you get from Gazelle. When Gazelle accepts your recycled computers, they pay you in the form of an Amazon gift card, via PayPal or via check.
Nextworth is an independent recycler that allows you to trade in old laptop computers and other items for cash. When you go to their site, you follow the directions for sending in an item. Like Gazelle, Nextworth will then mail you a free prepaid shipping label.
When your computer or other device arrives at their warehouse, they inspect your computer, determine its value and send you a personal check in the mail or pay you via PayPal; whichever you wish.
After they’ve accepted your device, they wipe it clean of any personal information, refurbish it and sell it to customers, keeping computers and other devices out of landfills while they save people money and help people make money.
Amazon has a trade-in program that allows consumers to send in their old personal computers, laptops, tablets, cellphones, video game consoles and more. They’ll send you a prepaid shipping label to send in your item and there are no fees charged.
They also have a search engine that shows you what similar items are getting back for trade-in, which can be a good way to know what you can expect to get paid before you send your item in.
Once you mail in your item, they’ll assess its value and you’ll get an Amazon gift card for the trade-in amount, and you’re free to use the Amazon gift card for whatever purchases you want.
Target and Best Buy
Target and Best Buy stores have programs similar to the Amazon program. Best Buy allows you to trade in personal computers, laptops and a variety of other products just like Amazon does, and they pay you in the form of a Best Buy gift card.
Target currently only accepts tablets and phones for trade-in, and they pay you in the form of a Target gift card which can be used to purchase groceries, clothing or any other of the many items that Target sells. This Target webpage will help you find out which stores participate in their electronics recycling program.
Recycling aluminum cans, recycling wood pallets, and recycling electronics parts are all becoming viable ways to own and run a serious business as more and more people and organizations realize the importance of protecting our environment from overflowing landfills by finding ways to reduce, reuse and recycle the items that we buy.
If you’re looking to earn extra income, taking peoples’ old computers and other electronic items off of their hands will help them have a convenient way to discard unwanted electronics.
It will also give you access to free computers and other electronics that you can trade in to different organizations for cash or refurbish and resell as a profitable side hustle business.