Emptying the Electronics Graveyard
An electronics graveyard. We all have one in our houses. Mine is deep in the bowels of my basement in a backroom closet. You open up the door and out comes cell phones, laptops, a VHS player and dozens of cords and adaptors. I could sell them on eBay, but the process can be a tad time consuming. Salvation Army won't take outdated laptops and you can't just throw them in the trash.
Gazelle.com may be the solution. This two-year-old Web site buys old electronics and sells them to other retailers and wholesalers in return for an Amazon.com gift card, a check or a payment through Paypal. You could also choose to have the money go to charity. The company says they pay users an average of $115. Any device that's deemed to have no value gets recycled by the company, which is about 10 percent of items that get sent in.
So here's how it works: You plug in all the basic information about the device and out spits a price of what the Web site is willing to pay you. You ship it to them with postage and packaging paid by Gazelle and never have to see it again. The company takes great care to wipe out all your personal information from the device before it gets sold to places like eBay and Amazon.com. The company says many cell phones get sold overseas.
Apple products tend to get the most returns and the newer the product, the more you'll get for it, says a company spokeswoman. I recently plugged in the stats on an ancient Toshiba laptop of mine and understandably it was worthless in Gazelle's eyes. I could still send it in so they could recycle it but I would have to pay for the shipping and packaging. They also sent me a list of local places to have it recycled. Then I plugged in info on my five-year-old Dell Inspirion laptop and they offered $81. Not bad for a piece of clutter in my closet.
The company's goal is to get consumers to think of their electronics the same way they think of cars. You trade them in or sell them to other people rather than just leaving them on the side of the road. Yet we stuff closets and drawers with old cell phones and laptops that have been replaced by newer and better ones.
"The way that we own cars is highly efficient versus electronics," says Kristina Kennedy, senior manager of branding and communications for Gazelle. "There's no way to trade in a laptop. We're trying to change that whole consumption cycle of electronics."
So have you ever used Gazelle? What have you been doing with your old electronics?
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