Don’t just dump it!

What to do with your old gadget when you’re upgrading to a new one


Trading in is the easiest way of getting rid of your old smartphone and other gadgets, and it will also help you get back some money. Photo: iStock
Trading in is the easiest way of getting rid of your old smartphone and other gadgets, and it will also help you get back some money. Photo: iStock

Gadgets continue to evolve, and the frequent (and attractive) online sales offering discounts are nudging people to upgrade to newer ones faster than they might have otherwise. For no matter what your budget, there is a new gadget out there, fluttering its eyes at you.

The Apple iPhone 7 series, Google’s Pixel smartphones, the ultra-slim HP Spectre laptop, maybe a new TV or a consumer appliance, chances are you may already be calling up the bank to confirm your credit card limit, to fund the next big gadget upgrade. And you wouldn’t be alone, millions do the same every year. According to forecasts based on data gathered by the UN and other organizations, in a partnership known as the Solving the E-waste Problem (StEP) Initiative, the global volume of discarded refrigerators, TVs, cellphones, computers, monitors and other electronic waste will weigh almost as much as 200 Empire State Buildings by 2017. This is bound to become an even bigger problem in the coming years. So go ahead, buy that new device, but don’t discard your old phone or other gadgets in the garbage bin. 

Exchange it

Trading in is the easiest way of getting rid of your old smartphone and other gadgets, and it will also help you get back some money. Popular e-commerce websites such as Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal, as well as offline stores like Croma Retail, regularly run exchange offers. Depending on your gadget’s make and model, they quote a price. If you agree with that valuation, that amount is deducted from the price of the new gadget. The old device is collected from you when the new one is delivered. These old devices are then shared with e-waste management partners, who salvage what they can and dispose of the device in an environmentally friendly manner. 

Incidentally, these exchange schemes don’t run through the year. If you do come across an enticing offer, mulling over it for too long may be a bad idea. 

Sell what you don’t need

You might have some old smartphones and computers that aren’t of much use any more. 

This is where Atterobay.com comes into the picture—it buys your old gadgets. As a user, you need to fill out the details of the phone that you want to sell. Once you have shared data about the phone, the year of its make, and the condition it is in, Atterobay will give you a valuation amount. If you agree, they will collect the phone from you and make the payment depending on the mode you prefer—bank transfer or demand draft. 

Then there is Karmarecycling.in. They buy back not just old phones but also laptops and tablets. The process includes getting a valuation for your existing gadgets based on the information you share—the year of manufacture of the device and the condition it is in. 

There might be differences in the valuation estimates for the same device, on different websites, which is why it is better to check multiple platforms.

Donate unused gadgets

You can also donate your older electronic devices to various organizations. One such platform, DonateYourPc.in, links non-government organizations (NGOs) with people who wish to donate. The donated computers, tablets, etc., are used for educational purposes in rural areas.

The Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) MeraByte (Defindia.org/merabyte/) programme accepts older gadgets which are refurbished and then used at the digital resource centres in villages across India. DEF says these devices also help popularize digital gadgets among the poor.

Feedingindia.org, a not-for-profit social enterprise, uses old electronics to spread awareness about hunger and food waste. Online platform Budli.in buys old gadgets too, but it also offers the option of donating all this money to Giveindia.org, a donation platform for 200 NGOs.

Clear away the data

Whether it is your phone, tablet, laptop or PC, chances are that it will be holding a lot of data in the form of images, videos, documents, messages and emails. Before you sell, exchange or donate your old gadget, it is important to remove all this personal and potentially sensitive data. If it is an Android phone or tablet, head to settings -> Backup and reset -> reset all data. On an iPhone or iPad, head to settings -> General -> Reset -> Erase all content and settings. While the newer Windows 10 PCs allow one-tap reset to the clean factory settings, on an older Windows 7 PC you will have to manually delete the document folders and clear the browsing history (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, etc.)

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