Monday, February 15, 2010

An Easier Way to Unload Old Electronics

For some time now it’s been difficult to get rid of old electronics such as televisions, computers, and stereo equipment. When I was young, we could just put these things out in the regular garbage and they would be taken away. In most places, garbage collection refuses them now (for good reason) partly because of the environmental concerns.

For quite a while there was a mishmash of businesses and government-run facilities that would take old electronics for a fee. These fees vary wildly. The services that are highly advertised and come to your home can be expensive.

I had been hearing rumours that some stores will take old electronics free of charge. Until recently, I had no corroboration of this rumour, but my mother has tested it.

She loaded up her trunk with an old computer monitor and scanner and headed off to Best Buy. Sure enough, they came out to her car and took them away for free. She hadn’t bought them at Best Buy and was never asked where she bought them. The store has a list of items they will take that apparently includes old monitors and scanners.

So, the next time you’ve got some unwanted electronics clogging up your life, try saving some money and aggravation by calling Best Buy or other businesses that sell electronics and see if they’ll take them off your hands.


  1. I don't know about other cities but in Toronto you can just take these items to your local hazardous waste dropoff (local dump) and they will take them free of charge.

  2. Four Pillars: From what I've heard from various people, this works well in some places but not others. Some hazardous waste drop-off points only take items a few days each year and the schedule changes unpredictably. The main message is that it is worth checking out various possible free options before paying some 800 number service.

  3. Back before amalgamation with the city of Ottawa, hazardous waste drop off was available every Saturday at the dump. Now, with hazardous waste only being accepted a few times per year, you can spend more than 2 hours waiting in line to drop off your waste. I have a hard time believing people are going to spend that amount of time sitting in their car to drop off a small bag of batteries or a monitor. I'm happy to hear of less time consuming ways to get rid of these things safely.

  4. The Wife: I think most people want to dispose of hazardous waste in a safe manner, but it seems that this is easy in some places and harder in others. Having retailers help out is a step in the right direction.