Earn Money by Recycling Your Old Electronics

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Chances are you’ve had an old electronic device, cell phone, video game or DVD at one time or another that you no longer use but weren’t sure what to do with. Did you know you can earn money by recycling them?

Several retailers, including Target, Walmart and Best Buy, have trade-in programs that will give you store gift cards by recycling your electronic devices. Or you can earn points redeemable for gift cards through online programs such as Swag Bucks and RecycleBank. These companies will refurbish the items they receive or dispose of them properly, keeping them out of the landfill.

Each of these programs will give you an estimate of how much you can earn from your item. If you need to mail your item to the company, you will be provided with a pre-paid mailing label that you can print and use to mail your electronic device at no cost to you (besides maybe packaging materials). The final amount you receive will be determined after your product is received and reviewed.

Here are some more details for individual stores/companies:


Target offers two convenient ways for you to trade-in your old electronics – in-store or online.


In August, Target started rolling out its new in-store trade-in program where it will give you a Target Gift Card in exchange for used iPods, iPhones, cell phones or video games. You can find out how much you can receive for your devices by bringing them into a Target Mobile Center located inside participating Target stores near the Electronics Department. Currently, 165 stores offer the program with more stores added each week. An additional 850 more stores will offer the program by the end of the year. Find a participating store near you.


You can trade an even larger variety of electronics, including gaming consoles, laptops, cameras and DVDs, through Target.com in conjunction with NextWorth, an online electronics recycling company. You can receive anywhere from a few dollars up to $200 for an item depending on the product and its condition. The website is pretty easy to use – all you have to do is begin typing in the name and model of your item in the NextWorth search bar and the list will begin to populate as you type. Once you find your product, you will get an estimate of its value. You will receive a Target Gift Card within 10-14 business days after your product is received and reviewed.


Like Target, Walmart also offers an online electronics trade-in program in partnership with Gazelle, the nation’s largest consumer electronics reCommerce service. It accepts electronics in over 20 categories and will give you a pre-paid Walmart Visa card in exchange for your items. A perk of Walmart’s trade-in program is it will email you updates on your trade-in as it moves through the process. You will receive your card about a week after your item is received.

Best Buy

Best Buy has partnered with Dealtree to accept a variety of gently used electronics and will give you a Best Buy Gift Card or a check (for a lesser value) in exchange.


You can trade-in Apple iPods, Apple laptops, mobile phones and PC laptops at a Best Buy store if they were purchased at Best Buy and you still have the receipt. Simply bring it to the Geek Squad counter at your local Best Buy, and once a final value is determined, you have the option to receive a Best Buy Gift Card on the spot or a check which will be mailed to you within 7 days.


Best Buy’s online trade-in program accepts a larger variety of electronics which can be purchased from any store. Your Best Buy gift card will be mailed to you in 7-14 days after it is received. If you find your item has no value, you can bring it in to a Best Buy store for recycling.


RecycleBank is an online program that rewards you for recycling. You can earn points through several means, one of which is by recycling your electronics. Points are redeemable for a variety of awesome prizes, including gift cards.

RecycleBank will give you up to 10,000 points for your used electronics. Each item will earn at least 10 points, but actual points awarded varies by product. Once your item is received and reviewed, the points will be credited to your account.

You can sign in to your RecycleBank account or sign up if you don’t already have one and find out how many points your used electronic device can earn. If you are unfamiliar with this program, you can find out all about it by reading this post.


Swagbucks is an online search engine similar to Yahoo and Google, except it rewards its members with points for searching the Internet. Similar to RecycleBank, you can receive points, or Swagbucks, for trading-in cell phones, iPods, video games and gaming consoles. Once your item is received and reviewed, the Swagbucks will be credited to your account.

Sign in or create an account to find out how much you can earn for your used electronic devices. You can read more about Swagbucks here.

Your turn: How do you recycle your used electronic devices? Do you know of any other companies or programs that reward you for recycling them?


  1. Susan says

    Costco is also a source for recycling all kinds of electronic gadgets. You can find the information by going to Costco's home page and typing in "recycle" in the search box. This is available to only Costco members however. By doing this (submitting items to be recycled) you will receive a gift card of some amount to be used in Costco stores only.

  2. kristin says

    I sent a camera to Swagbucks' recycle center and a phone to RecycleBank about four months ago, and have yet to see any "points" for turning them in. Hopefully they made it to their destination and were recycled appropriately. Or sold on Craigslist by a shifty recycle warehouse worker? Either way, they are out of my hands and not in a landfill.

  3. Linda Walker says

    I sent in a trade in for a PStation and about 10 games to swagbucks about a month and 1/2 ago, I mailed them a message inquiring about my status and I havent heard ANY words at all from them yet. I hope they manage to read this comment so they will do something about this matter of mine. I have been practicing for this moment for week.

    Linda A. Walker


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