Close Subscribe

Get the Weekly Recap!!

Get recaps, exclusive offers, stories and discounts. We’ll never share your email address and you can opt out at any time, we promise.

How to recycle your broken phone chargers, computer cables & other electronic odds & ends
Recycle

How to recycle your broken phone chargers, computer cables & other electronic odds & ends

Closet full of old cables you don’t need anymore? Here’s how to get rid of them.  

If you have a huge pile of chargers, cables, and wires stuffed into your closet, you’re not the only one. You receive cords every time you purchase a new electronic device, and the incompatible ones are probably gathering dust. Some cords break easily (looking at you, phone chargers) leaving us with a steady stream of unusable and unfixable e-waste that can’t be thrown in your home recycling bin. 

Why recycle your cables when it’s (technically) legal to throw them in the trash?  

While the Covered Device Recycling Act (CDRA) banned the disposal of e-waste such as computers and televisions in 2013, cables and phone accessories are not included in the act. However, most commercially available cables contain heavy metals and non-biodegradable plastics, meaning that throwing them in the landfill is terrible for the environment.  

Fortunately, if you’re looking for ways to get rid of your old cables more responsibly, you have several options.  

Recycle in person 

The easiest available option for cord and cable recycling is to use Best Buy’s electronics recycling program. Best Buy allows you to recycle up to 3 items per day for free, so if you have large quantities of cable on hand, you may need to make several trips.  

If you’re looking to recycle phone chargers, your phone company might have an in-store recycling program. AT&T and T-Mobile both offer phone accessory recycling services at their stores.  

Another option for in-store recycling is to take your items to Staples. Unfortunately, the company has temporarily suspended their recycling program due to COVID-19, but in non-pandemic times they accept up to 7 items a day. 

Mail-in electronics recycling programs 

Depending on the type of cable you’re getting rid of, you may be able to use a free give-back or trade-in program. Apple offers the option to mail back your used Apple-brand power cords and chargers for free — just tell them what you’re recycling and they’ll send you a prepaid shipping label. 

Sprint also offers a mail-in program for any phone accessory e-waste you may have (excluding batteries). Fill out a form and receive a prepaid shipping label. 

Sell your scrap metal 

Finally, if you’re looking to make some extra cash, you may be able to sell your copper-core cables to a scrap metal recycling center. Check out Green Philly’s guide to scrap metal recycling for more information on how, where, and why to use scrap metal recycling centers.  

Cover image courtesy of Pixabay.


Become a Supporter!

If you love what we do you can support our mission with a one-time or monthly contribution.
array(5) {
  [0]=>
  object(WP_Term)#6048 (10) {
    ["term_id"]=>
    int(2977)
    ["name"]=>
    string(16) "ewaste recycling"
    ["slug"]=>
    string(16) "ewaste-recycling"
    ["term_group"]=>
    int(0)
    ["term_taxonomy_id"]=>
    int(2991)
    ["taxonomy"]=>
    string(8) "post_tag"
    ["description"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["parent"]=>
    int(0)
    ["count"]=>
    int(5)
    ["filter"]=>
    string(3) "raw"
  }
  [1]=>
  object(WP_Term)#5883 (10) {
    ["term_id"]=>
    int(997)
    ["name"]=>
    string(6) "iphone"
    ["slug"]=>
    string(6) "iphone"
    ["term_group"]=>
    int(0)
    ["term_taxonomy_id"]=>
    int(1003)
    ["taxonomy"]=>
    string(8) "post_tag"
    ["description"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["parent"]=>
    int(0)
    ["count"]=>
    int(7)
    ["filter"]=>
    string(3) "raw"
  }
  [2]=>
  object(WP_Term)#6062 (10) {
    ["term_id"]=>
    int(3204)
    ["name"]=>
    string(7) "Recycle"
    ["slug"]=>
    string(7) "recycle"
    ["term_group"]=>
    int(0)
    ["term_taxonomy_id"]=>
    int(645)
    ["taxonomy"]=>
    string(8) "post_tag"
    ["description"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["parent"]=>
    int(0)
    ["count"]=>
    int(114)
    ["filter"]=>
    string(3) "raw"
  }
  [3]=>
  object(WP_Term)#6060 (10) {
    ["term_id"]=>
    int(3488)
    ["name"]=>
    string(11) "scrap metal"
    ["slug"]=>
    string(11) "scrap-metal"
    ["term_group"]=>
    int(0)
    ["term_taxonomy_id"]=>
    int(3496)
    ["taxonomy"]=>
    string(8) "post_tag"
    ["description"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["parent"]=>
    int(0)
    ["count"]=>
    int(3)
    ["filter"]=>
    string(3) "raw"
  }
  [4]=>
  object(WP_Term)#5804 (10) {
    ["term_id"]=>
    int(1848)
    ["name"]=>
    string(21) "Where Can I Wednesday"
    ["slug"]=>
    string(21) "where-can-i-wednesday"
    ["term_group"]=>
    int(0)
    ["term_taxonomy_id"]=>
    int(1858)
    ["taxonomy"]=>
    string(8) "post_tag"
    ["description"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["parent"]=>
    int(0)
    ["count"]=>
    int(221)
    ["filter"]=>
    string(3) "raw"
  }
}
Sophie Brous is an editorial intern at Green Philly. Born and raised in NYC, she now attends Haverford College, where she majors in linguistics. When she's not writing, she can be found exploring cities, making arts and crafts, and finding ways to live a greener lifestyle. View all posts by Sophie Brous

1 thought on “How to recycle your broken phone chargers, computer cables & other electronic odds & ends

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Green Philly

Featured
In These
Great Spots: