Think twice before trading in your old smartphone or tablet — you could make more money by “upcycling” on resale sites

When it comes to old personal tech lying around the house — from smartphones to tablets to game consoles — many people may not realize just how much value their devices still have.

Keeping tech out of landfills or just gathering dust in the back of the closet by exploring resale websites that connect buyers with used tech sellers can bring in a few extra bucks. As for potential buyers, resale can make a lot of sense for young family members old enough for their first phone, but at risk of misplacing it. Resale can also be rewarding – introducing lower-cost access to technology and gaming fun for families, especially in the face of high gas and food prices.

The good news is that tech companies are finally making it easier to extend the life of older devices.

How to Access Resale Sites for Phones, Laptops, and Other Tech

Selling on sites like and its competitors can earn you more money for items you no longer use like phones, laptops, smartwatches, gaming systems, home tech and the tablets.

You should compare resale marketplaces to the many trade-in and buy-back programs where you can sell your used iPhone and other technology. Of course, not all trade-in sites are created equal, and reselling can be more seamless.

The advantages of reselling your second-hand technological devices

“Consumers who choose in-store operator trade-in programs typically get in-store credit and typically less value, while those who choose buy-back services receive below-market offers so devices can be resold by companies themselves,” said Ben Edwards, CEO of Swappa. com.

Plus, buyers can find better prices and variety on these sites than always buying new.

It is important to note that the resale and purchase of slightly used technology, and essentially all measures aimed at extending its lifespan, finally have stronger support from manufacturers.

earlier this year released the results of an independent study that backed what right-to-repair and environmental advocates have been pushing: Repairing appliances instead of replacing or reselling old appliances reduces waste and greenhouse gas emissions associated with manufacturing new appliances.

In response, Microsoft will relax its restrictions on repairing older technology, a move that came shortly after Apple’s AAPL.
“Self Service Repair”, a first-of-its-kind program that allows owners of late model iPhones to order genuine Apple parts and tools to perform basic smartphone repairs, such as screen replacement and battery.

Samsung and GoogleGOOGL,
said they would also partner with the iFixit repair guide site.

And the environmental benefit…

By one measure, electronic waste, or e-waste, is the fastest growing waste problem globally. We produce about 50 million tons of it every year, although it’s both personal and enterprise technologies.

Yet that’s the equivalent of throwing away 1,000 laptops every second.

The cost and savings of reselling used technology

With an exchange through a carrier or redemption site, you typically lose value by up to 50%, said Edwards of Swappa. Sellers often give their device to the carrier or retailer because it’s convenient and they feel the pressure on the spot to unload the item.

Bidding on a secondary market site generally means greater product price transparency for buyers and sellers.

Buyback programs can sometimes hide shipping and other charges. Resale site Swappa, for example, charges a 3% fee to both buyer and seller, which it makes clear when you browse through their offers. Always inquire about fees before purchase.

Consider a resale site that acts as a reliability gatekeeper: no broken screens; ready to be activated, for example. And make sure the site requires proof of ownership and doesn’t sell lost or stolen items. It can also save hassle and money.

Be aware of…

The incentive to save on a new device can be linked to a trade-in. Of course, the carriers want you to come back, so if you can negotiate a bigger incentive than expected, it’s worth shopping around.

Warranties are sometimes transferred to new owners, but that’s on a case-by-case basis, so it’s wise to ask before buying in secondary markets.

That said, if upcycling is part of your motivation, you might feel even better knowing that your old technology is guaranteed a new life, at least for a little while.

Editor’s note: This article launches our recurring The Upcycler column, intended to help you do more with less, save or earn extra money, develop your creative side and reduce your carbon footprint. Indeed, today, June 24, is National Upcycling Day.

Upcycling involves reusing objects for practical or aesthetic purposes, extending their usefulness and diverting them from landfill. Additionally, the column will explore the benefits of fixing or upgrading more of what we already have, including technology and personal devices; exploit free or deeply discounted goods and services that may be life changing; and travel in less expensive, intrusive and consuming ways.

We will sometimes talk about spending smarter as much as consuming less. And for anyone ready to drastically downsize, we’ll dive into the growing no-buy movement. After all, if we can “recycle” more of our time, income, and peace of mind, everything might feel brand new.

Do you have your own recycling ideas or dilemmas? Contact us on Twitter @RachelKBeals or by email at [email protected]

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