Recycling Old Electronics Can Pay Off

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Don’t know where to drop off that old 2nd gen iPod? MaxBack.com might trade you for some newer equipment – and possibly even donate money to your local school or non-profit.

Here’s how it works: You log onto the website and submit your product for a price/point quote. A cell phone with scratches and dents will probably get you about 60 points and a donation of $2.40 to your cause. A camera in good condition will probably be 42.5 points and a $1.70 donation. (A point is .40 cents.)

If the price is right, MaxBack will send a box for you to send back to them with your old, disheveled goods. They credit your account – and donate a fraction of the estimated value to a local school or non-profit organization - and you can trade the points for something new. Some of the items that you can trade for are geared toward teens like MP3s and video games, but a lot of them, like the TVs, Blu-ray players and computers, can be used by everyone and anyone. A Samsung SyncMaster 23-inch LCD TV is 290 points. You’ll have to trade in quite a few things to get it, but it’s not unreasonable considering you normally don’t get anything when you toss an old calculator in the trash.

MaxBack does seem a bit picky about taking electronics that are no longer working, but they are more than willing to recycle your product if you’re just going to toss it out anyway. You just have to find a local school participating in the program. They’ll either recycle the parts or reuse your product.

There’s also a second part to the program that works in combination with the parent company Funding Factory, who is partnered with Environmental Reclamation Services. Partnered schools collect used electronics. Students gain points for the more items they collect and receive points for what they bring in. The school gets a portion of the donated value, and the child can trade their points for cool items. It’s kind of like the magazine subscription or cookie dough fundraiser that a lot of schools participate in but without having to go door-to-door peddling goods.

Just make sure that your kid isn’t rummaging through your bag to trade your brand new iPhone for a copy of Halo: Reach.

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