Amazon’s new trade-in and recycling programs gives your gizmos a ‘second chance’

In the past 40 years or so, during our world’s massive adoption of gizmos, the culture has become a disposable one. Smartphone battery seems a little tepid these days? Just trade it in and send your old one to the great electronics graveyard, somewhere out there in the world where most of us don’t have to think about it.

Many of our grandparents grew up during the Great Depression and had a whole different mind-set. If a shoe could be repaired by a cobbler or a pocket watch lovingly restored by a watchmaker, it was. It was a different time, that’s for sure.

Refreshingly, Amazon is making all those old ideas new again with a new portal that is specifically designed to encourage its many customers to recycle, repair, and return devices, as well as to buy quality pre-owned and refurbished devices.

Fittingly, the program was launched on America Recycles Day and has been dubbed Amazon Second Chance. It’s a way not only to clear out all the electronic clutter we all accumulate over the year but to grab some great gear at reduced prices. Here are the five methods Amazon is offering customers through the program.

  1. Trade it in. You can trade in thousands of eligible items and get an Amazon gift card in return. It’s not a perfect program — the trade-in value is pretty bargain-based, so a working iPhone 8 will only net you around $250, while a first-gen Echo Show goes for a paltry $30 — but to be able to get rid of your old junk and still get something back is pretty great.
  2. Recycle devices. Recycling, sorry to say, can be a giant pain in the behind. Many municipal electronics recycling centers will only accept electronics once in a blue moon, and they’re pretty picky about what they’ll take, while your average junkyard will charge you a pretty penny to take your gizmos off your hands. That’s a drag because electronics contain toxins like lead, mercury, and cadmium that don’t help our growing environmental woes. Amazon is offering a one-stop shop to safely recycle your stuff.
  3. Shop open-box and refurbished items. Sure, you can do the same thing at Target or Best Buy but Amazon has so many more products and prices to bargain over. Your two targets here are Amazon Warehouse, which deals in quality, open-box products, and Amazon Renewed, which sells pre-owned and refurbished products with warranties.
  4. Get live expert help. As we all know, electronics that aren’t brand-new can occasionally be kludgy, so Amazon Product Support is free for 90 days post-purchase on pre-owned devices ,so you don’t have sit in a manufacturer’s endless support queue over the holidays.
  5. Recycle your packaging. Amazon is infamous for using a plethora of bubble wrap, giant boxes, and plastic casing to make sure your stuff gets to you intact. Second Chance provides detailed information on where and how to recycle your Amazon packaging.
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