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  • Writer's pictureBurton Kelso, Tech Expert

How to Properly Recycle All of Your Old Holiday Computers and Electronics

There is no better time than the Holiday Season to start recycling your old gadgets. It's this time of the year when you're most likely to receive at least a few electronic items as gifts I know many of you just hold onto your old electronics because you don’t know what to do with them. Because of this, your gear usually ends up in the basement or in the attic where they never get used again. You can get rid of your tech clutter in your home and even your office and protect the environment at the same time by recycling that old stuff. If you're not sure how to recycle those old items, here are some ways to help you make way for those new holiday gadgets you get.

Before You Give Up that Old Device:

Whether you're giving your device to a family member, selling it online, or having it recycled, you'll want to make sure your old documents, family photos or social media login information isn't still on your gadgets. You never want to take the chance that a stranger could get access to your data. The devices I am talking about are computers, phones, gaming consoles, and tablets. The easiest way to wipe these devices clean is to do a full reset. Before you do, make sure you back up all your information like documents, pictures, and videos to an external hard drive or to a cloud storage service.

How to Wipe Information from your Windows Computer:

Go to 'Settings', then click Update & Security, then Recovery, then Get started under the Reset this PC option. Choose the option to remove all personal files. If you have an older platter hard drive, you may have to remove the hard drive and take a hammer and drill to it to make sure your information doesn't fall into the wrong hands.

How to Wipe Information from Your Chromebook: Go to Settings, pane and pick Advanced, then Powerwash to get your wipe all of the information off.

How to Wipe Information From Your iMac, MacBook: You will need to restart your Mac. When it begins to boot up again, hold Option+Command+R keys until you see a spinning globe. Once you're in the Mac Recovery console, choose Reinstall macOS, then choose Continue. If you have an older platter hard drive, you may have to remove the hard drive and take a hammer and drill to it to make sure your information doesn't fall into the wrong hands.

How to Wipe Information From Your Android devices: Go to Settings, then tap System > Advanced > Reset options, and then Erase all data (factory reset).

How to Wipe Information From Your Apple mobile devices: Go to Settings under General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.

How to Wipe Information from Your Gaming Consoles:

Nintendo Wii: Go to System Settings, then choose ' Format Wii System Memory', then select “Format.”

Xbox 360: Go to 'System Settings', then select “Storage.” Select the storage device that you want to reset and press “Y” on the Xbox 360 controller. A new menu called 'Device Options' will open. Select “Format.” and select “Yes” to erase your information

Playstation 3: Go to "Settings", then go to "System Settings" and finally to "Restore PS3 System". When asked if you are sure, select “Yes.” On the following prompt select “Quick Format.” This will remove all of your information.

Now that your information is off of your devices, you can do the following things with them:

1. Re-gift them: Tis the season right? If you have an older piece of technology, you can hand it down to the younger generation or your parents or grandparents. Yes, it's true that many consumer electronics are designed for planned obsolescence, but a lot of the time, you can break the rules and squeeze more life out of that device. Many popular kids' games will work on your old laptop. Rather than purchasing your child a new smartphone for their first phone, gift them your old one. Seniors can use that old desktop computer to play games, check email, and surf the web. Older flat-screen TVs can be made into smart TVs with a Roku (, or Amazon Firestick ( You can even use them as a computer monitor if you're in need of a bigger screen.

2. Donate them: There are a lot of organizations that will take your old tech and repurpose them for reuse. One of the best is PCs for People ( which will take your old computers and repurpose them for those in need of technology. You can also seek out your favorite non-profit business to see if there is a need for your old technology.

3. Sell Those old items. Your old technology might be worth some money. If you like getting cash for your old items, list them on ebay (, Craigslist ( or Facebook Marketplace ( The trick with selling with these sites is finding the value of your old tech. That's where sites like DeClutter (, Sell GPU, ( and Gazelle ( come in. You can enter the details of your device online, find the value and ship it off to get cash for your device.

4) Recycle it: Only about 20% of people make an effort to recycle their old tech. Part of the reason is it's hard to find places to recycle those old items. You can contact large tech companies like Best Buy (, Dell (, HP (, and Apple ( that offer recycling programs.

When you get rid of and recycle your old computers, phones, and other electronics you’re doing something that will actually improve your life. You are keeping your house clutter-free from stuff you’re not going to use again. You are also helping protect our environment by making sure the mercury and lead that are in our devices are adequately disposed of.

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