What to do with random cables and obsolete computer equipment?
September 20, 2014 8:48 AM   Subscribe

I'm helping a buddy clean out his basement before renovating. We're finding a lot of miscellany including a large storage container of random cords and cables for electronic equipment. Also unearthed in the pile of boxes has been a scanner and inkjet printer from at least 10 years ago. What are the best options for dealing with this stuff? (More inside.)

Neither of us is techy so we would need help in figuring out what the cables are or what they belong to. He's familiar with selling on Craigslist/Ebay/Amazon and would consider that as an option if it's worth it.

He plans on returning the ink cartridges to the Staples recycling program. Otherwise we're not sure on what to do. Do stores still offer the promotion where they would give you a discount on a new purchase if you brought in your old device?

This stuff is probably too old to donate to a charity. Maybe someone can suggest a way to look for a recycling center?
posted by adapt to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Over here in the low lands, scrap yards accept old computers, printers and cables and give back the same price as they would do for scrap iron. Maybe where you are that's a good option as well?
posted by Too-Ticky at 9:15 AM on September 20, 2014

Best Buy will recycle them. That's where I bring all my old electronics stuff.

I've been through this myself: my advice, be merciless about getting rid of it.

1+ GB memory modules seem to be worth selling on ebay. Maybe some specialized, brand-name speaker cables could find some buyers. But for the most part, the cost of keeping it around far exceeds any savings you could realize by finding a use for them later.
posted by deanc at 9:15 AM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you are in the US, Goodwill has teamed up with Dell to offer a no cost computer recycling program. If you have a location near you, that's an option for donating this stuff to a good cause while also getting a tax deduction. I don't think the age or condition of the equipment matters.

If you have a Best Buy near you, they have an electronics recycling program. Depending on what you have, you may be able to trade it in for a gift card. If not, they will take a lot of stuff (with some exceptions) at no charge. So that's one option for stuff you cannot donate or sell.
posted by jazzbaby at 9:19 AM on September 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

My town has a bin outside the DPW (dept. of public works) office, where you can drop off old electronics (except CRTs) for recycling. There might be some audio cables in the mix that you could reuse, otherwise it's almost certainly trash. Audio cables will have either a headphone plug (or jack) or a pair of RCA plugs on each end.
posted by mr vino at 9:21 AM on September 20, 2014

Yes, check with your city's DPW/recycling offices. My city will also arrange to pick up certain items.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:24 AM on September 20, 2014

Will your city recycle them? I gave my giant garbage bag full of random cords to Chuck and Vince.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:01 AM on September 20, 2014

Seconding Goodwill. They actually use it as part of a job-retraining program, teaching people about computer repair and e-waste handling, among lots of other things.
posted by chbrooks at 11:29 AM on September 20, 2014

Not worth selling it. Put in box and either recycle or give it away. Take "get some $$ for this stuff" off the table as a possibility. The easiest way is the best way.
posted by barnone at 11:35 AM on September 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

Goodwill should be able to take all of it. The cables are worth around a dollar a pound at a scrapyard, so if there are a decent amount of them it may be worth taking them in.
posted by Slinga at 1:14 PM on September 20, 2014

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