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 to get recycled. Apparently, this recycling program has been a thing for a while now, but several of us at The Verge never even knew about it until we saw this tweet from journalist Dave Zatz, and thought it might be a good idea to spread the word.
Amazon’s recycling program lets you ship your small electronics for free from any UPS dropoff point (you just have to provide the packaging). Amazon then transfers the devices it receives to a licensed recycling facility, and notes that it will remove or destroy any “identifying marks or personal information” during the process. Amazon still recommends performing a factory reset on your device (if it still works) before sending it in, however.
According to Amazon spokesperson Saige Kolpack, the company’s recycling program isn’t new — it’s actually been around “for years” and Amazon just relaunched a new page in April to make it easier for customers to find. It isn’t to be confused with Amazon’s trade-in program, which lets you send in Amazon devices, cellphones, video games, and other electronics in exchange for an Amazon gift card. You don’t get anything in return for sending in devices to be recycled, other than the personal satisfaction that you’re doing a small part in helping the environment.
The program is limited to only small electronics. 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 covers, cellphones, fitness trackers, smart home devices, and more. It pretty much accepts any small device you can fit into a small box or envelope — broken or not — so long as they don’t have “swollen or leaking batteries.”
I’m already eyeing up a few devices around my house to recycle for free — like that mini speaker I thought at the time would be a great purchase from Dollar General (don't judge). And since I already have a pile of shipping boxes from my previous online purchases, I can double up and recycle that plus the device.
But if you're not a cardboard box hoarder and don’t want to pay for your own shipping material, it’s worth noting you can always bring your old, smaller electronics to your local Best Buy. Here, you can drop off and recycle up to three items per household per day for free (or for a $29.99 fee for TVs and monitors). Best Buy will even haul away your old appliances for $39.99 if you order a replacement through the retailer. Alternatively, you can also pay Best Buy $199 to come to your house to take away up to two large items (like a TV or washer) without having to order a new one, in addition to an unlimited number of small electronics.