Smart ways to discard old gadgets

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Wednesday, 21 May 2014 - Last Updated on May 31, 2014

 by Zofia Leal


Every season, new gadgets and devices are released by consumer electronics companies. New kinds of smartphones, laptops, tablets, devices, appliances, among others, are released in the market every so often. With the abundance of innovative gadgets, consumers are more than happy to acquire more.

It’s not surprising that consumers own multiple gadgets while old or replaced gadgets just gather dust inside closets and drawers. Some even throw away unused gadgets. These gadgets and electronic devices contain toxic materials and heavy metals which the environment cannot absorb.

Instead of throwing away your gadgets away or let them pile up in your house, why not dispose it the smart way?

Getting started

Before disposing old gadgets, remember to erase or delete any data and information saved in the device. If you want to keep files like photos, videos, documents and messages, be sure to make a back-up. If disposing of a desktop or laptop, don’t just empty the recycle bin. Make sure that hidden settings and files are also wiped clean.

Here are more reminders:

Cancel any postpaid services for communication devices.

If you do not want to cancel your postpaid service, it is better if you just transfer it to another device. This goes as well for other subscriptions. You can also opt to cancel your subscription for softwares, applications and games.


Back-up your data.

Back-up your data to avoid incidents such as photos, videos and documents being lost or corrupted after wiping the data in your phone and tablet clean. Make sure that you record passwords and license codes in a secure location. Make sure that your back-up copy is complete and working before wiping your device clean.

Remove any external memory drives like SD cards, hard drives, etc. This also applies to appliances and gadgets like TVs and digital cameras which could contain sensitive information like username, Wi-Fi password, etc.

Most devices like phones and tablets can be wiped clean through factory reset while laptops and PCs can be wiped clean by re-formatting with use of an installation CD or a recovery partition like OS X Recovery. It is not enough to delete all unimportant files that are visible. Recovery programs can retrieve those files as well as passwords and account names. Try to overwrite the disk several times.

Disposing of gadgets properly

There are different ways to dispose old or broken gadgets. Usually, consumers swap their old gadgets with new ones. Other consumers sell their old gadgets while others recycle its parts to be used as school projects, emergency battery supply, etc.

Trade-in and swap

Some buy and sell shops offer ‘swap’ or ‘trade-in’ offers where consumers can trade or swap their old cell phones and avail new mobile phones at a discounted price. You may also swap your phones with older models (some stores do not require additional payment). Be aware that traded or swapped gadgets are often second-hand and may have minor problems with the hardware or software.

It’s time to sell it

There are stores that accept broken or damaged gadgets like cellphones, tablets, TVs, CPUs, and the like. These stores scavenge for parts which can be used for repairing or replacing parts of other units. 

Aside from ‘buy and sell stores’, consumers can also sell their old gadgets online. Check out olx.com.ph, ayosdito.ph and ebay.ph.

If you are selling old devices, sell them based on the condition and use value. Since they are already used, they will sell for a lower price compared to the price of brand new units.

Recycle your gadgets

Think of ways to your gadgets to make it into something useful. Broadband sticks, for example, can be used as external storage device by inserting SD or micro SD cards into it.

Others recycle cellphone batteries and turn it into a power source. Last year, University of the Philippines Physics students and professors recycled discarded cellphone batteries and chargers into disposable power sources for Yolanda survivors. It can be used to charge cellphones during emergency situations.

According to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 homes in a year. Every one million cell phones recycled saves thousands of pounds of copper, silver, gold, and palladium.


Another best way of disposing your old gadgets is to donate it. Schools, non-government organizations, and social institutions often start donation drives for old computers and old devices.

Zofia Leal (8 Posts)

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