Was it this year? In the past few months or even the past few weeks? Maybe you got a new gadget at the beginning of the year and then the new model was released, making your phone yesterday's news. So of course, your phone starts to look like an outdated junker to you and you have decided to trade up. All these trade-ins and trade-ups eventually lead to much e-waste.
As a storage auction hunter, this problem multiplies for you as you are constantly stumbling across electronics in storage unit auctions. So what do you do with all the items that you win and don't have interest in keeping?
Many electronic items that you find inside storage units may be suitable for resale depending on the age and condition of the item. Fairly new items can often be sold on ebay, craigslist and flea markets or yard sale for depreciated amounts. Even items that are older may still find buyers at drastically reduced prices.
Some items may be more valuable because of their age, such as antique phonographs or even early model gaming consoles from the 80's can sometimes be sold for more money than you'd imagine based on their audiences penchant for collecting.
What you can't sell as is, you may be able to upcycle with a bit of creativity and elbow grease. Old electronics can have surprising uses with a bit of imagination. Take apart that old keyboard and use the keys to cover a picture frame. Or take that old console television, and dismantle the screen, add some fabric, and you've got yourself a clever animal bed, aren't they more entertaining than your television after all? Old records can be compiled into vibrant wall art. Almost any old electronic has parts that can be used to create something new, even if that means disassembling the item for parts. Your creations can then be resold as repurposed merchandise, or you can keep all the spoils for yourself, to show off your crafty DIY side.
E-Cycle and Donating
If you're less inclined to take on a new DIY Project and you've failed to sell your electronics, what is the next step?
While you may have failed to sell the item, they may still have interested buyers that you just don't know. Sometimes, it is more time and cost efficient to simply donate these items to charity, allowing someone beyond your customer base to purchase the item, and allowing you a tax write off. This scenario is win-win.
But perhaps, you've tested these old electronics and found that they are no longer functional. You could donate them to charity, but they'd end up being throw away. Instead, you should ensure that your items are being disposed of properly. Simply throwing the items away is a bad idea. All electronic scrap components may contain contaminants such as lead, cadmium, beryllium, or brominated flame retadants, which can be detrimental to the environment when they are taken to the dump, and then begin to decompose over time and these contaminants begin to leak into the ground and water supply.
Instead, e-recycle your items! When you e-recycle, you are turning your electronics into an organization or business that will refurbish the old devices for reuse. These devices are then often donated to non-profit organizations, schools, or low income communities, or sometimes resold.
In many places around the country, there are drop off locations for your old electronics. For example, in the Asheville Mall where the Storage Unit Auction List headquarters are located, there is a drop off location for cell phones right in the middle of the food court. Check in your area to find out what organizations participate in this type of e-cyling program and where you can go to drop off your old electronics!