Got an old computer stashed in a storage room? Or an ancient cell phone junked in a kitchen drawer? Just in time for Earth Day, Consumer Reports ShopSmart magazine has some advice on what to do with old electronics and maybe make money in the process.
If your gadget is new enough, you can actually turn it in for cash or a gift card. In ShopSmart's search, a Samsung Galaxy S 2 fetched $94 and an Apple iPad 2, $190.
ShopSmart found the website Glyde often quoted the highest prices. Amazon proved best for random gadgets, like hard drives and speakers. And NextWorth, allows you to send items in, or drop them off at stores including Target.
ShopSmart says that you really have to check different sites, at different times because prices vary from site to site, and prices can change over time. If the price you're offered doesn't seem worth it, consider a donation. Cristina.org connects you with local organizations that accept old electronics. Other charities that also accept cell phones include Verizon's HopeLine and Cell Phones for Soldiers. If all else fails, try Call2Recylce.org. They accepts cell phones and batteries.
Of course, some items are just not wanted by anyone. But you should still recycle them responsibly. Stores such as Staples and Best Buy will take old computers off your hands. Or drop them off at a local recycling center. At the very least, you can keep more junk out of the landfills.
Whatever you do with your old electronics, be sure to wipe them clean of all your personal data first.
Back up the files you want to keep. Remove any memory or SIM cards. Then go to settings and reset the phone to factory default.
You can securely erase the entire hard drive, including the operating system, with Darik's Boot and Nuke Software -- which is free. You can erase individual files on a Mac with the "Secure Empty Trash" option and on a Windows PC with freebies such as Eraser.
(You don't have to prep an older style tube tv). But if you have an internet connected smart tv, you'll need to restore the factory settings to ensure your account info for services like Netflix is deleted.
Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website.