Disposing of or donating electronics properly require a few steps, but it's not difficult once you're familiar with the process and the options.
Back up all of the data on your old smartphone to your computer. Then, you need to remove all of your personal information from the phone. Many manufacturers allow you to "wipe" your device and clear almost everything from the memory by doing what is sometimes called a "hard reset." Check the owner's manual or the manufacturer's website to learn how. Next, remove your SIM and SD cards, because even when you "wipe" your device, the cards might still have information stored on them. Cut your SIM card in half.
If your phone is obsolete, many places collect phones for recycling, including your local dump and some retailers.
If you're just looking to upgrade, some companies will recycle your old phone and give you credit toward a new one.
Just as with your cellphone, the first step is to back up your data to an external hard drive, flash drive or online program.
To effectively "wipe" your computer, Earth911.com recommends that PC users download a program such as Nuke (DBAN) or KillDisk and burn it to a CD or DVD. Once you've made a CD or DVD using one of these programs, boot your computer from the disk. Best Buy's Geek Squad offers a helpful video explaining this process. For Mac users, Apple provides detailed instructions for how to securely erase your data.
Electronics that don't have memory, such as televisions, stereo equipment, old VCRs and DVD players, monitors and printers, can be recycled at the local dump. Dumps will also take old DVDs, VHS tapes, CDs, cassette tapes and yes, even floppy disks. Best Buy will also recycle many electronic devices at in-store kiosks.
Donating or selling
If you have electronic gadgets that still work and are not completely obsolete, a local school or nonprofit organization might be interested in them. Televisions, printers, computer monitors and keyboards can often be repurposed.
If you're interested in selling your old gadgets, an online company called Gazelle is gaining popularity. You simply locate your device on the site, gazelle.com, ship the items to the company for free (as long as the value given on the site exceeds $1), and Gazelle will send you a check or an Amazon gift card, or reimburse you via PayPal.