Published on January 10th, 2008 | by Paul Smith


What to Do with Your Old Electronic Devices: Get Paid, Help Those in Need!

Question: How many electronic devices do you have around the house that you don’t use anymore?

Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

Yes, probably more then you can count. Or remember. What do you plan to do with them? Keep it in “that” drawer? Put them in the basement? Good for you, at least it’s not going in the trash, where nearly 3 million tons of gadgets ended up in 2003, the most recent year the EPA has statistics for.

You may have considered getting it recycled, as even mainstream players like Office Depot offer in store tech recycling. But you’ve got to pay for it. This alone will likely be a barrier for many to make that step. And then there’s the possibility that E-cycling may be little more then just shipping the garbage to another country, where people get exposed to highly concentrated dose of toxins.

What to do, then? What if there’s the niggling feeling it’s worth something?

Second RotationHow about giving your gear a second rotation. Come again? Second Rotation, out of Waltham, Massachusetts will buy your gear, from cell phones to GPS devices to gaming consoles and on. It’s clear they’re not just skimming for the cream of the crop. Have you ever heard of Bird cell phones? Yes that’s a brand, not an avian communication device.

All you do is answer some questions about the condition, then they instantly give you a quote. If you agree, they give you a form to mail the item, free. You don’t even have to leave the house. Then, a short in person inspection, and you get money. Done. Don’t agree with their inspection? Get it back, free.

What happens then?

Through an astounding array of data aggregators and online channels, these devices get sold back out there, to those who would appreciate and gladly possess what you no longer wish to.

And what of the ones that don’t get sold?

Excellent question. As of press time, I couldn’t find an answer to that. I invite you to contact them and find that out. Overall, it sounds as though they’ve successfully created an engaging, simple, efficient way for electronics to forgo the trip to the dump, and continue to have utility throughout their lifespan.

There are a number of other niche players in this market. See below for more.


For more statistics on E-waste, go here and here .

For more on where to sell your e-goodies, go here.

About the Author

Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio School of Management in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations around, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media. Who he has and wants to work with includes consumer, media, clean tech, NGOs, social ventures, and museums. For more on GreenSmith Consulting, see He also writes for Triple Pundit

  • luis

    Great blog!

    If the economics don’t work, recycling efforts won’t either. blogs about innovative entrepreneurs that make money selling recycled items, provide green services or help us reduce our dependency on non renewable resources. These includes some very cool Green online ventures, great new technologies, startups and investments opportunities.

  • Paul Smith

    Thanks for this Luis, what a great resource!

  • Tim Hurst

    Thanks for this article, Paul. Lots of good resources.

  • Mary

    Nice blog you have here

  • MC Milker

    Great information! My house is littered with old electronics!

  • nala

    Nice Site!

  • Danielle Marsden

    Is there an equivalent to this in England or Wales. Does any body know. If so please contact me on

  • fred

    This might be a bit off topic but the nice thing about buying new electronics is they have a warranty. You are buying something that has moving parts or electricity going to it so it has the potential of breaking, there is nothing you can do but replace it, that does not mean the company that made the product sucks, it means the individual item sucked!

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