What to do with our old unused electronic devices?

Old televisions, outdated computers, abandoned hi-fi systems, outdated telephones, dormant consoles… what to do with electronic devices and their accessories that we will no longer use? Several options are available to you, detailed below. But, before parting with your devices, remember to check that they no longer contain any personal data. If necessary, empty their memory: there are tutorials for computers on the Internet computer and macsmartphones android and Apple.

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This track is only valid when the device retains value, and is not broken and beyond repair. The best place to find information is the second-hand sales site Leboncoin.fr. Run a search there: if it brings up several equivalent devices, sold at a relatively similar price to each other, then your item has a good chance of still being worth something, and this will give you an estimate of its value. We are not immune to good surprises: some consoles and walkmans from the 1980s, for example, are trading at more than 50 euros. On the other hand, if the search returns no results, the task will be more difficult. The solution will then be to put it on sale by choosing a reduced price.

Commercial intermediaries can also buy your electronic devices to resell them later. These services have the advantage of being faster and easier to use, but they generally offer prices much lower than a direct sale. Also, they focus on a short selection of popular and recent devices. This is the case of second-hand shops like Happy Cash, Cash Express, or Easy Cash. If a photo of the product is sent to this last merchant, he can estimate its value, just like Cash Converters, which buys a wider range of products.

On the Internet, you can also resell devices to reconditioning specialists, such as ReBuy or Back Market, who collect the products by postal parcel. These offer an immediate estimate based on criteria such as the presence of accessories and the condition of the object.

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You can also exchange your device for another on sites like France-troc.com or Mytroc.com. In the advertisement, it is necessary to specify what one expects in return: the mention “studies any proposal” offers the best chance of being contacted.

You can choose to reduce the range of options by specifying, for example, “computer equipment”, but it is not recommended to be too technical, it could discourage people. In exchange for the device that you want to barter, you can also claim a service rather than an object in return, such as “a helping hand to replace your water heater”.


In this case, the easiest way is to look around: among the people who do not have much means, who could benefit the most from the object you wish to give?

You can also offer the device to strangers by posting an ad on a site for donations to individuals such as Toutdonner.com, Geev.com or Donnons.org. You can also choose to entrust the object to networks employing people in integration, such as Emmaüs or Envie, who are responsible for reselling these objects at very reasonable costs.

To recycle…

This is a less good solution than giving your device a second life. The recycling process is costly, polluting and energy-intensive. It nevertheless allows, recalls the Agency for the Environment and Energy Management (Ademe), to avoid the extraction of metals in mines, an even worse activity. for the environment.

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Do not throw your objects in the ordinary bins, as they are then rarely recycled. Prefer the specific sorting bins reserved for electrical appliances, which can be found in the thousands of collection points on the territory, which can be located on the sites by Ecosystem and Ecologic, the organizations responsible for recycling them. If you want to recycle a smartphone, you can get a free prepaid mailing label from the site Jedonnemontelephone.fr. Some brands (like Apple) offer their own recycling channel, sometimes subsidized to make material separation more efficient.

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… Or not to recycle?

The smallest electronic waste, measuring less than six inches, such as computer mice, MP3 players, or certain headphones are a special case. “They are poorly recycled today: it is difficult to separate their materials, which generally end up in the incinerator for hazardous waste”according to Jean-Jacques Campillo, operational optimization manager at Ecologic.

Incineration is a much less ecological solution than conventional recycling of materials, according to Raphaël Guastavi, deputy director of the circular economy at Ademe. These installations notably release polluting gases, some of which are harmful to health and do not manage to burn everything. Moreover, very few reusable metals are recovered there after incineration.

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From year to year, the sorting of materials progresses. For example, Ecologic is working to categorize small electronic devices with irremovable batteries in order to identify sorting solutions that will allow them to be better recycled in the future. Would consumers therefore benefit from storing these space-saving objects in their cupboards, until they can be recycled rather than incinerated? For Mr. Guastavi, “The question is interesting, but the lack of extensive scientific study on this topic makes it difficult to answer”. The most determined eco-responsible citizens can actually choose to store small electronic waste (apart from smartphones, which can be recycled very well), recalls Moïra Tourneur, from the Zero Waste association. On the condition, however, of being endowed with an excellent memory so as not to forget to reinject these devices later into the recycling circuit.

For other users, the rule is as follows: “All electrical waste for recycling, nothing in cupboards. Our past experiences have shown us that it is better to communicate a simplified rule to the general public rather than a complex rule that is poorly applied”recalls Mr. Campillo, of Ecologic.

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What to do with our old unused electronic devices?

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