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Recycling and repurposing your electronics

How to reuse or responsibly dispose of your old gear

Our headphone guy Jeff Miller has helped Crutchfield customers for over a decade. We often see him testing out new headphones — you'll find his firsthand take on many product pages. He also stays connected to the brave new world of voice control.

More from Jeff Miller

A recycling bin filled with old electronic equipment like a computer, keyboard, and mouse.

It’s important to keep electronics out of landfills. They contain materials that can contaminate our air and water.

There’s nothing like getting new gear from Crutchfield. Rummaging through the packing peanuts (environmentally friendly!), and rifling out that shiny new toy. But what do you do with your old stuff?

Here are three ways to responsibly get rid of your old gear:

1) Give it to someone who can still use it

What’s “old” to you might be an upgrade for your friends or family. Consider giving it to someone who will appreciate it. My own home theater setup is made up of hand-me-down speakers and a second-hand receiver — and I love it!

2) Turn your used gear into Crutchfield store credit 

“Our company’s mission is to responsibly repurpose consumer electronics, thereby extending their life,” Seth Schmidt of 2nd Life told us. “Keeping electronics out of the landfills is near and dear to our hearts, and has been since our company started — back in 2002 at a kitchen table.”

2nd life Logo

Turn your used electronics into a Crutchfield gift card through our trade-in partner, 2nd Life.

2nd Life now operates out of a 27,000 square-foot facility in nearby Richmond, VA. They work with electronics retailers and large car dealerships across the country to find new homes for used electronics. 

And they will give you Crutchfield store credit in exchange for your old gear. 

 “We are proud to have partnered with Crutchfield,” said Michael Feibelman, the company’s founder and CEO, “and we are honored to have been entrusted to provide our service to their loyal customers.”

Send them your used electronics, and they’ll email you a Crutchfield gift card. Head over to the 2nd Life website for an instant price quote.

Photo of 2nd life employee taking apart electronic equipment.

2nd Life's team of technicians spend their days finding new ways to use old electronics.  

3) Donate or recycle

Looking to donate your gear to charity? Or simply have gear that no longer works? You can check the EPA website for links to local electronic recycling centers and places that accept donations.   

Parts inside of the Oppo UDP-203 Blu-ray player

Many electronics contain recyclable materials — like glass, plastic, copper wiring, and precious metals — that can be used again.

Have any other ideas?

We’d love to hear them! Share tips for reusing or recycling electronics in the comments section below. 

  • Roger from Arizona

    Posted on 5/8/2015

    Good information. Thanks.

  • Gene Meyer from Aurora CO

    Posted on 6/29/2015

    What do I do with an old HP printer?

  • Jeff Miller from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/29/2015

    Gene, Check the EPA site for the e-cycling center closest to you.

  • shood

    Posted on 7/16/2015

    This is a great idea!

  • James F. Pasquini from Coeymans, NY

    Posted on 7/16/2015

    After being in the TV/Radio repair business for many years, I had some old test equipment as well as "new" (unused) vacuum tubes and parts left. Some of the vacuum tubes and parts I donated to somebody halfway across the country who was getting into Ham Radio and wanted to build a transmitter. Some other vacuum tubes and tube tester will be donated to the USS Slater (Destroyer Escort) that is still being refurbished in Albany, NY. They've rebuilt/are rebuilding their WWII radio and as with vacuum tubes, they'll need to be replaced sooner or later again. Some other parts I used to build a "sights & sound" toy for my granddaughters (colored lights, bells, buzzer, push button and toggle switches, etc.). Little by little I'm getting rid of unwanted electronic parts without them going to the landfill. To Gene Meyer from Aurora CO: Go to the HP website and check out their recycling policy. They'll probably send you a mailing label. Staples will accept old printers for money off when buying a new one. They'll even take old printers for recycling even if you're not in the market for a new one. If the printer still works, you can always list it on Craig's List for sale or free to the first responder who will come and pick it up! Good luck.

  • Linda burton

    Posted on 7/20/2016

    Goodwill will not accept old TV in Richmond Virginia

  • Georgia B from St. Louis, MO

    Posted on 10/25/2016

    I'm so glad you mentioned the option of recycling old electronics. I have a couple of really old computer monitors sitting in my garage. I was planning on donating them to a Goodwill, but then found out that they have limits on accepting electronics that are past a certain age. I'll have to see if we have any companies that offer to recycle electronics in my area, as this seems a much better option than just throwing them away!

  • Terri P. from Charlottesville, VA

    Posted on 12/4/2016

    This is great information! Thanks! Terri Petrovits, Charlottesville, VA

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