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What to do with old electronics

What to do with old electronics

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Employees disassemble stacks of cable boxes at Echo Environmental, an electronic recycling and data security company in Carrollton, Texas, in August 2020.

Last week I wrote about setting up a new iPhone SE for my dad. A reader wrote to ask me what I did with his old phone. She wondered whether I had a preferred way to recycle, sell or repurpose old technology.

This is a great question.

In my dad’s case, he kept his phone. It still works, and since we took out the SIM card, it’s perfect to hand to his 4-year-old granddaughter when she comes for her weekly visit. She uses it to watch cartoons.

Most old phones are still perfectly good video players.

I laughed when mom told me she had to take the phone away to get her granddaughter to come to breakfast. (A tantrum ensued).

As for recycling, you can take old electronics to your local Best Buy store. There is a limit of three items per day. Most small electronics are free to drop off, but it does charge a $29.99 fee to recycle TVs.

AT&T stores will take your old phones, tablets, batteries or other electronic devices. You don’t have to be an AT&T customer.

AT&T also has a trade-in program. My dad’s old iPhone 6S is potentially worth up to $35 if it works and the screen is not cracked.

Check out your cellphone carrier’s trade-in and recycling programs.

Most cities also have electronics recycling programs.

I checked with Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington, and they all have drop-off locations for electronics.

Dallas will accept old tube TVs (including console TVs), computers, laptops, VCRs and camcorders, microwaves, speakers, old set-top boxes, tablets, pagers and more.

Dallas has four drop-off locations listed on its electronics recycling web page.

You can also sell or recycle your old phone at kiosks like the ecoATMs at local Kroger and Walmart stores.

Your phone may be worth a few dollars (or more) or it may not be worth any money, but ecoATM will accept it for recycling.

There are also programs that accept working cellphones to donate to people in need. You can search in your area. Churches are good places to start. You can also check with Recycling for Charities.

Finally, if you decide to sell, donate or recycle a working phone, please take the time to wipe it. You can search your phone’s settings for Reset, which will wipe all the data.

Also, don’t forget to turn off location finders like Find My iPhone before you wipe it.

If you have a business and want to recycle large amounts of electronics, you can contract with a company like Electronic Recyclers International, which has a location in Flower Mound, or Echo Environmental of Carrollton.


Jim Rossman writes for The Dallas Morning News. He may be reached at

Jim Rossman writes for The Dallas Morning News. He may be reached at

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