The Ultimate Example Of Upcycling: Repurposing Discarded Movie Screens Into Interior Products

In a groundbreaking collaboration with CGV, South Korea’s leading movie brand, designer Haneul Kim has unveiled a remarkable initiative to address the environmental challenge of waste generated by discarded movie screens. These screens, often several meters long, are typically cast aside due to damage, contamination, or the dismantling of theaters. Haneul Kim’s innovative approach transforms these seemingly obsolete materials into stunning and functional lighting designs, marking a significant step towards sustainability in the design industry.

Designer: Haneul Kim

Kim’s inspiration struck when he noticed the perforations on the discarded screens, recognizing a visual similarity to aluminum perforated plates commonly found in industrial applications. This revelation led to the ingenious idea of repurposing the screens’ sound-transmitting function into a source of light emission. The result is a series of portable lamps that ingeniously utilize the small holes in the screens to emit light, turning waste into a source of illumination.

The Waste Screen Recycle project also pays homage to the legendary designer Mario Botta’s iconic shogun lamp. Known for its clean lines and geometric precision, Botta’s lamp incorporates perforations or cutouts, allowing light to diffuse elegantly. Haneul Kim’s homage work demonstrates the potential of waste screens to replace traditional lampshades, showcasing a fusion of sustainability and design aesthetics. The project not only repurposes discarded materials but also reimagines them in the context of established design classics.

The versatility of waste movie screens is further highlighted as Kim extends the project to include furniture pieces such as tables and chairs. These pieces showcase the original patterns found in waste movie screens, adding a touch of uniqueness and character to each creation. By exploring the potential use of these screens as interior materials for the future, Kim is pushing the boundaries of sustainable design and encouraging a shift towards more environmentally conscious practices.

The repurposing of waste movie screens into lighting designs and furniture pieces not only addresses the issue of waste in the entertainment industry but also demonstrates the potential for meaningful utilization across various domains. Kim’s project underscores the exceptional functional and aesthetic qualities of waste movie screens, positioning them as valuable resources for the creation of sustainable and visually striking designs. As the design world continues to grapple with environmental concerns, Haneul Kim’s innovative approach serves as a beacon, pointing towards a future where discarded materials are transformed into objects of beauty and purpose.

The post The Ultimate Example Of Upcycling: Repurposing Discarded Movie Screens Into Interior Products first appeared on Yanko Design.

Top 10 Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Smartphones

Smartphones are probably the most common and most widespread consumer electronics today. Almost everyone has one or at least a non-smart cellphone. Some people even have different devices for work and for personal life. And while it’s not uncommon to see people desperately holding on to their phones despite cracked screens, some people do switch models as often as they change wardrobes, trying to keep up with the latest trends and technologies. What all these mean is that, just as there are millions of smartphones out there, there are just as many discarded devices and parts that litter our planet. But the harm that these modern-day necessities does to our planet isn’t just limited to the end of their life. Right from their very birth, they already have adverse effects on the environment, even if not directly. As dire as all these might sound, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel as manufacturers finally taking notice and acting responsibly. The idea of an environment-friendly phone might have been alien a decade ago, but now we can even list the Top 10 smartphones that are making a positive impact on the planet.

Designer: Fairphone

Fairphone 4

When it comes to sustainability, there’s no doubt that the Fairphone is king. It checks off all the right boxes, from choosing not only sustainable materials but also conflict-free sources. Even before the “Right to Repair” trend finally hit the larger brands, Fairphone was already providing the knowledge, tools, and parts that make repairing your own phone almost trivial. It might not be the fulfillment of the modular phone dream of Project Ara, but the Fairphone at least lives the implications of what a modular phone would mean in practice: the ability to easily swap out parts when you need to.

Where the Fairphone lags behind a bit is in offering the latest hardware features. The current Fairphone 4 flagship, for example, is an early 2021 mid-tier phone that offered pretty much only the basics. For people who do only need a reliable handset that will last them for more than just a few years, the Fairphone 4 definitely fits the bill. For others that might want a bit more, there are fortunately now more choices to consider.

Teracube 2e

Fairphone might have been the pioneer, but there are definitely others that took up the challenge to follow in its footsteps. One of those is the Teracube 2e, which found its success in crowdfunding. Fairphone, it is clearly not, but it does bring one of the most desired features that have long been lost in the age of modern smartphones: swappable batteries. Changing the battery is as simple as removing the biodegradable case and lifting the battery up, letting you quickly extend the life of your phone with a spare.

Designer: Teracube 2e

Packaging is also very minimal, throwing out the charger, and using soy ink and recycled paper for printed materials. The Teracube 2e does step a bit backward when it comes to the hardware specs, but it makes up for it with its killer price and four-year warranty. The latter is something that even bigger phone makers don’t dare offer, making this sustainable phone a true trailblazer in that regard.

Shift 6mq

There are plenty of aspects that make a phone sustainable, with repairability and the use of environment-friendly materials at the very top. There is, however, another angle often taken for granted: the sustainability of human resources. This means requiring safe working conditions, which includes the safe and responsible sourcing of fair and conflict-free materials. This is where German company Shift shines the brightest, focusing on making working conditions safer and more humane, and removing controversial materials that have resulted in poor working conditions, particularly in mining for minerals.

Designer: Shift

That said, the Shit 6mq, its current flagship phone, is no slouch in terms of repairability. In fact, Shift leads the pack when it comes to offering features that are close to today’s flagship standards. Unfortunately, the brand serves a very specific market only, limiting the reach of what could otherwise be the top sustainable phone today.

Nokia G42 5G

The old Nokia was notorious for its innumerable handsets but also popular for their durability and longevity. That’s a distinction that the modern caretakers of the Nokia brand seem to be keen on regaining as well. HMD Global just launched its second repairable phone, the Nokia G42 5G, proving that its commitment to sustainability wasn’t just a one-time fluke.

Designer: HMD Global

Compared to the previous three, the Nokia G42 5G easily disguises itself as a “normal” mid-range phone with a stylish design that stands out in a good way. That aesthetic, however, belies how relatively easy it is to open up and repair, at least compared to its peers. Its process isn’t as effortless as the Fairphone, mind, but it’s the closest you’ll get to an easy-to-repair phone from a well-known brand.

Realme GT 2 Pro Paper Edition

So far, the sustainable phones we’ve seen on this list might be branded as looking a bit drab or even cheap, except perhaps for the aforementioned new Nokia model. On the one hand, it’s understandable that manufacturers are more focused on making the design more durable, more modular, and easier to repair rather than fussing over their looks. On the other hand, it means there’s still plenty of room for improvement in this space. In the meantime, there are other ways to make smartphones more sustainable without going all out, and Realme showed us how with its special “Paper Edition” GT2 Pro in early 2022.

Designer: Realme

The two most notable things about this premium flagship are its unique appearance, designed to mimic both the look as well as the feel of paper. In fact, the material used for that cover is a sustainable bio-based polymer, which is the Realme GT2 Pro’s second special feat. It was sadly a one-time designer edition, but it did demonstrate what was possible in this area once the right pieces and creative minds are in place.

Samsung Galaxy S23

Samsung has the biggest number of smartphones in the market, potentially making it the worst offender in polluting our planet with e-waste. Fortunately, it has become more aware of its effect on and responsibility to the environment, and it has thankfully been taking important steps to improve that. Small steps they may be, but they all add up in the long run. The Galaxy S23 series, for example, isn’t just Samsung’s latest and greatest, it also happens to be the poster child for its sustainability initiatives.

Designer: Samsung

Samsung has been talking a lot about how it has started to use recycled ocean plastics for a growing number of parts for its smartphones. This year, in particular, also saw an increase in the use of recycled aluminum and glass on the phone itself, as well as recycled paper for the packaging. Although it’s easy to scoff at how small these steps are, it’s important to also consider that it is Samsung making them, which is pretty much a free advertisement for sustainable phones in general.

Apple iPhone 14

Unsurprisingly, Apple also makes the list, and not just because it started the trend of excluding chargers from the phone box. Just like Samsung, the famed company has been making baby steps in using more sustainable materials and practices in making its phones. The iPhone 14 uses more recycled materials and fewer conflict minerals. It might even be its most repairable iPhone yet. Apple has also been very good at keeping its products updated for years, delaying their obsolescence and demise in landfills.

Designer: Apple

Apple’s biggest contribution to sustainability is the fact that it’s taking up the cause as well. As a role model for many other companies, its adoption of sustainable practices, including the right to repair its phones on your own, helps encourage other companies to do likewise. Other companies are often accused of copying Apple, but this is one aspect we certainly hope they copied more.

Sony Xperia

It might come as an even bigger shock that Sony is on the list (after the shock of learning that it’s still making smartphones). Although it has dialed down its production and sales, the brand continues to put out smartphones that admittedly challenge the status quo, either in their designs, their screens, or their cameras. Given its low presence, it’s also easy to take for granted how it’s also been taking steps to reduce its negative impact on the environment in its own small way.

Designer: Sony

In addition to the now-expected reduction of plastics and the use of recycled paper in packaging, Sony has also been increasing the use of recycled materials in its Xperia phones. It has even created its own “Sustainable Oriented Recycled Plastic” or SORPLAS that adds flame-retardant properties to recycled plastic, a must-have for consumer electronics like phones.

Nothing Phone (1)

As a phone that’s supposed to turn the market on its head through more transparent design and business practices, there is definitely a need for Nothing to do something in taking bigger steps toward sustainability. That said, Nothing is also a small and young company, so it won’t be fair to judge it by the same measure as larger and older companies. Fortunately, it doesn’t disappoint.

Designer: Nothing

It uses 100% recycled aluminum for its frame and 50% of its plastics are made either from bio-based or post-consumer recycled plastics. For its packaging, it uses soybean-based ink and recycled fiber, throwing out plastic from the box completely. It’s pretty much setting up a challenge to the rest of the industry: if Nothing can do it, everyone should be able to as well.

Google Pixel 7 Pro

Although it has been making the Android mobile platform for years, Google is a relatively new player in actually making phones. Of course, that means that it should have all the data and knowledge from its hardware partners on how to steer the ship right from the get-go. Although there’s no helping the carbon emissions of its massive data centers, the tech giant is at least going in the right direction when it comes to making sure its phones do minimal damage to the planet.

Designer: Google

The latest titleholder, the Pixel 7 Pro, makes generous use of 100% recycled aluminum, while accessory cases for the Pixel phones contain as much as 70% recycled plastic. Beyond just the materials, Google is banking on its long-term software support for the Pixel phones to keep them longer in people’s hands. Its sustainability strategy also extends to its supply chains, investing in safer working conditions and similar efforts. With all the resources under its fingers, it will be more shocking if Google didn’t do its due diligence in keeping the planet green.

The post Top 10 Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Smartphones first appeared on Yanko Design.

A humble cardboard box is reinvented into functional, modular furniture

A lot of my friends who are parents often complain (well, not really) that they buy expensive toys for their kids only for them to fall in love with the packaging. In fact they play with the boxes and packages more than the actual toys. Maybe we should just stick to buying kids boxes rather than actual toys and we’ll all save a lot of money, right? Discarded boxes are some of the biggest waste that we have in junkyards, although because of their materials, you are able to actually recycle them at the end of their life cycle. But what if you could use them for other things instead of just recycling and throwing them away?

Designer: Lee Lin

This designer was able to come up with a furniture series based on warehouse boxes. Instead of just recycling them or discarding them into its original material, Lee Lin instead was able to turn both new and used boxes into stackable block-shaped things that you can use to create chairs, tables, or just some decorative items for your space.

The “unusable” parts are cut out of the boxes and then they are stocked into block shapes. The designer them coats them with a thick layer of paint and after it dries, the process is repeated over and over. They also put breathing holes in the boxes so they will not eventually rot as the air is circulating within them. Since it has no fixed frame, you can use it to create whatever you need, whether it’s a stool, bench, side table, main table, or just a decorative ornament for the room.

The renders show dark blue boxes with a rough texture but they don’t really look like boxes. If you have a dark aesthetic, then this would fit right in your room or space. Depending on the lighting, it can look like it’s made from ceramics or plastic or even a water-based design. As to how sturdy these will be remains to be seen. At least if you’re just using it for decor, it shouldn’t be that bad. Sitting on it for a long time or putting stuff on top of it will be another matter.

The post A humble cardboard box is reinvented into functional, modular furniture first appeared on Yanko Design.

Stone-like tables made from recycled construction wood are inspired by Korean architecture

Wood is a material loved by many designers and creators because of its natural beauty, its distinct texture, and its sustainability. The latter, however, doesn’t mean that there is no waste or damage to the planet involved, especially when the rate of use outpaces the rate of growth of trees. Wood is biodegradable, but it isn’t easily recyclable either. This is especially true for wood used during construction which often becomes useless after it has served its purpose. These tables, however, give new life to these discarded wooden beams, and they ironically take their inspiration and even their appearance from buildings made of stone and concrete.

Designer: Jongwon Lee

There are many ways to use wood in construction, but one of the most basic and most unappreciated types is PSL or Parallel Strand Lumber. These thick wooden beams are used as frames in architecture or interiors for walls. Their rough texture and raw appearance make them less ideal for any other purpose, and they’re often simply discarded when they’ve reached their end of life.

Primitive Structures is a table design that uses those exact same flaws and turns them into strengths and unique features. Every part of the table is made from used construction wood cut into uneven polygonal shapes. Discarded PSL wood often comes with holes made during construction, so these are filled with recycled wood chips to provide not only visual completeness but also structural safety.

The raw shapes of the legs and tops give the table a rather primitive character. Rather than hide the distinctive texture of PSL wood, they are made to stand out instead, making them resemble leaf veins or tiger stripes. This gives the table an almost stone-like appearance, and the arrangement of a slab sitting on top of tall stones is also reminiscent of ancient Korean dolmen or megalithic tombs. When the three-legged tables are stacked on top of each other, they even give the image of a Korean pagoda on a smaller scale.

Primitive Structures is an interesting design experiment on how an often ignored material can be re-recycled and down-cycled to produce something that almost looks like a piece of sculptural art. The tables’ primitive and stone-like forms exude a sense of power and strength, inspiring confidence in their use while also providing some peace of mind in knowing that this beautiful piece of furniture was made from the ground up to help heal the planet.

The post Stone-like tables made from recycled construction wood are inspired by Korean architecture first appeared on Yanko Design.

Where to sell your used and unwanted gadgets

Every year means new iterations of your favorite phones from the likes of Apple, Samsung and Google, so you might be tempted to upgrade to your handset. But with some new phones costing over $1,000, keeping up with the latest and greatest can really take a toll on your wallet. So why not offset the cost by putting your old device up for sale? If you’re wondering which trade-in service will yield you the biggest bang for your buck, and how easy it will be, we have answers to those questions (and more). We've rounded up some of the leading contenders for offloading your old electronics. It’s not just phones, either — perhaps you have an old laptop that isn't quite cutting it anymore, or maybe you've got some other stuff sitting in the closet collecting dust.

Trade-in sites


If you're looking for the littlest hassle and want your money as soon as possible, there are plenty of sites that will automate the trade-in process. You'll select your device from a list, get a quote within minutes and send the device back for cash in a matter of days.


Decluttr definitely lives up to its name. Not only can you sell phones from a number of manufacturers, including Apple, Samsung and Google, but the site also takes lots of physical media, including CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, video games and books. For devices, you'll be asked for a general assessment of its condition, and given a quote immediately. Once you complete your order the site will send you a free shipping label. Decluttr also will accept handsets as old as the iPhone 6S, though it'll offer you only $7 for a 16GB model in good condition.


uSell operates as a broker, searching other sites for their best offers on a given device and taking care of the rest. Like most buyback sites, it's big on iPhones, but you can still sell off other manufacturers' devices; it really depends on who's buying them at that point. The selection is a bit of a grab bag — newer phones like the Galaxy S21 aren't listed, though you can get a quote for the iPhone 11 ($210 for an unlocked, “flawless” 64GB model). Once you complete your order the site will send you a free shipping kit to send out your phone, and you can get paid for the item via PayPal, Venmo or an old fashioned check.


If you don't want to have to worry about packaging up your old device and mailing it off, or would like to receive your payout right away, there's always ecoATM. It's literally there in the name: an automated machine that you place your device into and it examines the handset and pays you on the spot. It accepts the biggest brands (i.e., Apple, Google and Samsung), along with devices from a wide variety of manufacturers, including LG, Motorola and ZTE. If the machine determines that your device isn't worth anything at all, you can still use ecoATM to responsibly recycle your old gadget. You'll find ecoATM kiosks in Walmart and Kroger locations, as well as malls and check cashing stores across the country.


While browsing Amazon listings, it’s likely you’ve come across products marked as “refurbished.” Well, if you’ve ever wondered where those come from, a lot of them likely hail from Amazon’s trade-in program. The company will put its own products, like Kindle readers and Fire tablets front and center, but you can also send in phones and gaming products in for an Amazon gift card as well. It’s not great if you want cash, but if you’re looking to upgrade an Amazon device this option is your best bet, as trading in an older one also nets you a 25 percent discount in addition to the store credit. You’ll need to print out a shipping label, or you can drop off your electronics at select Amazon Locker or Whole Foods locations.


This is a good option if you’re looking to upgrade to a newer Apple device. You can trade in iPhones, iPads, Macs and even Apple Watches. That’s notable as wearables are a category you don’t often see on trade-in sites. Apple will even take your old Android phone if you were thinking of making the switch. The trade-in values are on par with other sites, but you can get a smaller payout in the form of a gift card instead if you’d rather wait before making a new purchase, want to put it toward media purchases or even just use it in an Apple Store. Which, by the way, also accepts trade-ins in case you’re not comfortable shipping your old but still expensive device.


The nice thing about It’sWorthMore is that its on-site forms handle a larger variety of gadgets than other sites, incorporating companies such as Microsoft, AMD and even GoPro in addition to standards like Apple, Samsung and Google. You’ll answer a few standard questions about your device’s condition and whether you still have the original box — obviously, the more you’ve kept from the original packaging, the better. You’ll then get a ballpark estimate of its worth and a prepaid shipping label to print out. Once your device is received you’ll generally get the assessment and payment via check, PayPal, Venmo or Zelle within two to three business days.


The appeal of BuyBackWorld is that device assessment is a streamlined process: Instead of having to answer a barrage of detailed questions for your device you give it a general assessment and let the site handle the rest. Just like with It’sWorthMore, BuyBackWorld will provide a printable shipping label in your confirmation email but, if you don’t have a printer or boxes to pack your device up, you can always have the site send you a free shipping kit, which can handle everything the site takes except desktop computers.


If you’ve read through the other site descriptions, GadgetGone’s modus operandi should be familiar: To sell a product, you’ll have to answer a few questions about what type of device you have and what condition it’s in, after which the site will generate a prepaid shipping label. At least here you can find brands like OnePlus included among the options, and you can also sell MacBooks and Mac Minis here. You can get paid a number of ways, too, including PayPal, virtual VISA card, Amazon and Target gift cards or just good old fashioned bank transfer.

Store trade-ins

C1YC8B A GameStop video game store in the Herald Square shopping district in New York gamestop; videogames; shopping; electronic

Sometimes you need your money right now, or just don't want to trust your device to the vagaries of various shipping companies. There are a few nationwide retailers that accept trade-ins for cash or store credit. Additionally, wireless carriers like Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint will all give you credit toward a new phone.

Best Buy

Best Buy also offers trade-ins both by mail and in-store — with more than 1,000 locations, this might be extremely convenient for you. You fill out the form online and bring that to customer service. It's easy, but there's one big downside: You can get your payout only via a Best Buy gift card. This is great if you spend a lot of money with them anyway, but less good if you really need cash.


GameStop is infamous for buying games back at ridiculously low prices and flipping them at near retail, but don't let that stop you from making some easy cash when you need to quickly clear your closet of old electronics and games. And yes, I said cash: GameStop offers store credit, a Visa prepaid card or actual money if you want to take your bounty elsewhere. For example, you can trade in Animal Crossing for the Switch and get $22 in store credit or $18 cash, which isn't bad when new copies are going for $48 on Amazon. GameStop also accepts phones, tablets and Apple Watches, though the prices aren't going to match what you'd get from an online trade-in site.

Consumer to consumer

eBay Introduces Boxing Weekend On Dec. 26 and 27 At Eight Westfield Malls Across The Country, Making It Even Easier For Consumer

Sometimes you prefer to cut out the middleman and get a bit more personal — a transaction where you're selling your device directly to another person instead of letting a faceless site flip it for you as a "refurbished" unit. In those cases, you want a site that's more user-to-user, though a few will still automate certain bits to make your sale as smooth as possible.


Swappa is a marketplace site, which means sellers can set their own price. So if you're getting rid of a newer phone, this is probably the best way to go — the iPhone 13 fetches around $515, for example. That's a huge improvement over what you'd get selling through a site like Decluttr, which is offering only $422 for a 128GB unit.


When shopping on Amazon, you've probably been tempted by some of those marketplace deals in the past and, chances are, if you list an item on there, someone will give your old device a look. Since almost everyone on earth seems to have an Amazon account, your potential customer base is huge, and it costs only $0.99, plus a percentage based on category, to sell an item through the site. The downsides are that Amazon isn't really optimized for individual sales; you'll be competing with wholesale companies and even bots that will tweak the price of a product automatically in response to the competition.


eBay is sort of the Wild West of sales sites, but the biggest advantage is that you can sell anything there and hopefully find a buyer, regardless of how old a product is. Even so, the site has come a long way in the past decade or so, adding structured categories that can help lead customers to your product. For phones, you can search by network, color or storage capacity, and even filter for features like 4K video or fingerprint sensors.

In the end, it still works as it always did: You list a product and set an end date for the listing with a minimum price, or just set a "Buy It Now" price if you don't want to wait to see how an auction turns out. Chances are you already have an eBay account with a feedback score, so there's no extra setup required on your part. Your first 250 listings are free every month, and you'll pay up to 15 percent of the purchase price only if an item sells. The biggest downside is that you're competing with a lot more sellers, and chances are there's always someone willing to undercut you on price.

Cash-back comparison

Ultimately, the site you go with should be whatever's most useful and convenient, but if you just care about how much money you'll end up with, we've priced out a few recent flagship handsets just to give you an idea of what each site offers. We've also thrown in the Nintendo Switch, because it might be time to sell yours off and finally upgrade to an OLED model.

All phone prices are for the lowest storage capacity, usually 128GB. The prices are for the unlocked models when available, or the carrier where it's being traded. These prices were valid the day this post was written, but they fluctuate daily or, in the case of sites like Amazon and eBay, hourly.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Google Pixel 6

Nintendo Switch




































Best Buy






$291 cash / $364 credit

$131 cash / $164 credit


$80 cash / $100 credit































If you were looking to sell some games, we've also got a shorter list, because not every site accepts trade-ins. GameStop will offer you more money than what's listed below if you're a member of its Elite or Elite Pro programs.

Elden Ring (Xbox)

Horizon Forbidden West (PS5)

Pokémon Legends Arceus (Switch)






$11 cash / $14 credit

$13 cast / $16 credit

$14 cash / $17 credit









Once you've picked a site and listed your item, there are a few important things to remember before you ship off your device. The most important, when disposing of a phone or laptop or any other device containing personal data, is to do a full factory reset. That also means turning off "Find My iPhone" and the activation lock on iOS devices. See if you can unlock the phone, too; you'll actually get more money selling it carrier-free. And finally, make sure you've backed up any important data you may have, like contact info, game saves and, of course, photos. Cash is great, but it won't save your memories.

Images: Mike Blake / Reuters (ecoATM); Alamy (Gamestop); Getty Images for eBay (eBay)

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Where to recycle your used and unwanted gadgets

For decades now we’ve become accustomed to tossing all sorts of things into the recycling bin, like glass bottles, aluminum cans and cardboard. One category, however, that still isn’t on everyone’s list is consumer electronics. Over a billion phones were purchased in 2022, and that’s just one type of gadget. All that electronic waste can have real consequences for the planet, so it’s something you should have on your mind next time you clean out that closet.

Sure, you can try parting with your stuff for cash, but it can be tough, if not impossible, to find someone who wants a 12-year-old printer or a busted CRT. Few places have curbside pickup — in fact, some localities make it illegal to leave electronics for the garbage collectors — so you're going to have to find a reputable center to take it. We've gathered some resources to help you dispense of your broken and unwanted computers, televisions and any other gadget flotsam that's taking up space.

National chains

Scrap metal, iron and computer dump for recycling or safe disposal. Ulsan, South Korea.

There is no national electronics recycling law at this time, so you won't find any federal programs to assist you with getting rid of old devices. The USPS does run a program for federal agencies and their employees, but it's not available to the general public. Instead, the rest of us have to rely on nationwide retailers to toss out our old stuff.

Best Buy

Best Buy has more than 1,000 locations in the United States, so it's likely you have one nearby where you can drop stuff off. You just need to take it to the customer service counter. They'll issue you a receipt too, but keep in mind that you can't claim the drop-off as a deduction on your taxes because Best Buy isn't a charity.

You can even recycle televisions and monitors, though you'll be charged a fee of $30 per item to cover the higher costs of transporting and disassembling them. (Consumers in California are not charged the $30 fee, while locations in Connecticut and Pennsylvania will not accept televisions or monitors at all.) If you're turning in a printer, you’ll get up to a $50 voucher toward the purchase of a new HP or Epson printer (select models only).

Also be aware that Best Buy limits you to three items per household per day, including up to two televisions.


Recycling your stuff at Staples is similar to Best Buy — just bring your products to the customer-service counter. But it’s more limited in that you can only bring in seven items a day, and the store won’t accept televisions at all (monitors are allowed). Staples Rewards members also receive a small credit of $5 per month for bringing in goods to be recycled or shredded. Members who spend at least $50 on ink or toner within a 180 day period can also receive $2 for every used ink cartridge they turn in, up to 20 a month.

Office Depot

Office Depot Recycling
Office Depot

Office Depot has more than 1,300 locations, but unlike Staples and Best Buy, it won't recycle your old gadgets for free. If you're only getting rid of a few phones or batteries, those can be turned in at no charge. For everything else, you must purchase a Tech Recycling Box, which costs $8.39, $18.29 or $28 depending on the size. Once you have the box, you can fill it with as many items as you want, provided they all fit inside, including smaller televisions. So it's a great deal if you have a lot of stuff you want to dispose of. These can be turned in either in person or by mail.

You can also return used ink and toner cartridges and get $2 each, up to 10 a month, if you’re a rewards member and spend at least $10 in-store on products within the same month.

Home Depot and Lowes

You can dispose of old rechargeable batteries, old phones and CFL bulbs in the dropoff boxes at any of 2,300 Home Depot or 2,200 Lowe’s locations. The bins are usually located in the front of the store, and Home Depot has an 11-pound limit on individual items.


Target locations have drop-off bins for recyclables located near the entrance; in addition to bins for paper and plastics, there is a specially-designated bin for e-waste like cellphones and used ink cartridges


Stack of old, broken and obsolete laptop computer

If you can't make it to a retail location, especially when you need to get rid of only one or two items, many companies offer recycling programs for their own products. They'll even pay for shipping. Some run their own programs while others use outside organizations. We've outlined policies from a handful of manufacturers below.


While Amazon would love to direct you to its trade-in program, you're probably reading this post because there's stuff you can't sell, and for those items Amazon offers mail-in recycling. You can send in your busted Kindles, Fire TVs and even Dash Buttons, as well as select peripherals like keyboards and mice. You'll just need to fill out some forms online and generate a shipping label, which you can slap on any box. Drop it off at a UPS location, and you're good to go; Amazon will cover all the costs.



If your iPhone or MacBook is still in good shape, you should consider selling it, but if it's too old or beat up you can still score a gift card by turning it into Apple's recycling program. For iPhones (as well as select handsets from Samsung and Google), iPad and Apple Watches you'll be asked to fill out a form attesting to the product's condition and given a trade-in quote, with a working iPhone 7 going for $30 and an iPhone 11 scoring you $160. For Macs, you'll be asked to provide a serial number as well. Though Apple won't give you cash for anything it deems old or unacceptable, you can still mail it in or bring it to any Apple Store so it can be responsibly disposed of.


Dell offers drop-off recycling via a partnership with Goodwill. Not every location participates, but there are more than 2,600 that do. And, because it's a charity, you may even be able to deduct it as a donation on your taxes. Dell also has a mail-back program on its site where you can generate a shipping label and drop the package off at a FedEx location instead.


You can ship old products back to Epson by simply creating a shipping label on its site and dropping it off at a FedEx location. Or just drop it off at a Best Buy location for a $30 or $50 voucher toward a new Epson printer.


If you can, HP recommends taking its products to the nearest Best Buy. Ink and toner cartridges can be returned by mail; the company will mail you an envelope that can hold between 3 and 8 ink cartridges and can be dropped off in a mailbox or at the post office. For toner and large quantities of ink cartridges, you can print out a label and use your own box, or request a box be sent directly to you, which you’ll fill with items and drop off at a UPS location.

Other manufacturers

Many other companies use outside recyclers to dispose of their products, and you'll often see the same names popping up again and again across different manufacturers. This should simplify things in some cases — you should be able to send in products from multiple sources in one package. You just need to fill in the make and model to generate a prepaid shipping label. However, different states have different rules on what you can return, so the drop-downs for selecting your product may vary by area.

Two major recycling companies you'll notice a lot are RLG, which covers Acer, Canon, Google, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft and Motorola, and MRM, which recycles products for Alcatel, BlackBerry, Barnes & Noble (nook), TCL and Toshiba.


Electronics Recycling

Cell phones are the easiest gadget to recycle — if you haven't already decided to sell yours off on eBay or via sites like Decluttr and ecoATM. But, if you can't or won't make some cash off of it, you can send it to:

Call2Recycle, which has drop-off centers all over the country in many chain stores, including Lowes and Home Depot. It will also accept rechargeable batteries.

Cell Phones for Soldiers accepts phones in any condition and sells them to refurbishers or recyclers. The proceeds go toward purchasing phone cards for troops so they can call their friends and family back home. To be clear, the phones are not given directly to the soldiers.

The four major US carriers — Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint — all offer free recycling. You can trade in your old device in-store or send it in for a credit toward a new phone, or let them straight up recycle it. AT&T also participates in Cell Phones for Soldiers.

If you do decide to try your luck with ecoATM to see if your old phone is still worth a few bucks and it turns out it's worth nothing, you can at least rest easy knowing that the company will also recycle your phone responsibly.


computer parts for electronic recycling

There may not be a national law dictating that you must recycle your electronics, but at least 26 states have passed rules that vary widely on what they demand of manufacturers and consumers. Almost all states that do collect products for recycling provide this service free, with the bill footed by the companies in some way. Most provide some local programs to help you get rid of your stuff, regardless of whether recycling your gadgets is required or optional.

States where you can no longer dispose of electronics in the regular trash and must recycle them include: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.

The following states have laws requiring manufacturers to pay for recycling, but you, the consumer, are not actually required to recycle your electronics: Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington.

The following states have some special circumstances worth noting:

Connecticut: Does not allow recycling centers to charge you a fee for turning in electronics, so many organizations and retailers that would usually charge for recycling televisions and monitors do not accept them. Because you cannot dispose of them curbside, you can take them to a municipal transfer station for free.

New York: If you live in a New York City apartment building with 10 or more units, contact your landlord about getting an ecycleNYC drop-off box installed in your building. It’s super convenient and free.

Pennsylvania: Does not allow retailers to charge you a fee to recycle, so places like Best Buy and Staples will not accept televisions or monitors. Many recycling centers have also closed as a result of underfunding, so check the list of open locations first. Some nonprofit recyclers may still accept the items, and you should check to see if your local government is hosting any drop-off events. Lancaster and Dauphin Counties also still run civic recycling programs.

Virginia: This state does not have a dedicated statewide recycling program, but some localities run their own programs including Fairfax, Loudoun and Rockbridge counties, and cities like Arlington. Check each municipality’s site for details.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Tanner Goods recycled leather wallets make the old new again

Plenty of people love leather, from designers to fashionistas to connoisseurs and everyone in between. Leather looks great and also feels great in your hand or on your skin, and unlike most materials, it ages gracefully. In fact, the way leather ages is almost as unique as the person using it, developing different patina patterns depending on how it has been used, which can vary from person to person. As beautiful and biodegradable as it might be, its source and production are highly controversial. Synthetic leathers, on the other hand, just don’t cut it in terms of quality and sustainability. There are new kinds of more sustainable and more ethically-sourced leather being developed, but while we wait for them to become more commonplace, the least we can do is to make sure that not even a scrap of leather is wasted, which is exactly what these handsome leather wallets are doing.

Designer: Tanner Goods

While leather itself is more sustainable than materials that use synthetic fibers or chemicals, its creation is, unfortunately, a questionable process. Of course, it continues to be the material of choice for many premium products, many of which produce plenty of waste from scraps and cutoffs that are simply thrown out. While reusing these pieces won’t exactly eradicate the leather problem completely, it does mean that there could be less need for fresh leather every time a new product is made.

That’s the kind of smart reuse that Tanner Goods is proposing with its newest addition to its leather wallet collection. The wallets are made from 100% recycled leather that was ground from the cutoffs of their own leather gloves. These are then bound with natural latex, which means that the process and the materials are at least more sustainable than manufacturing leather wallets from scratch.

The results are wallets that are nearly identical to the non-recycled versions, except perhaps in the shades of brown that might have been a design choice to visually differentiate the two groups. In terms of the tactile qualities, Tanner Goods says that the wallets match those of the leather gloves they were sourced from, which might mean they’re also distinct from your conventional leather wallet. The “fresh” leather, for example, looks smoother and shinier, while the recycled leather has a more textured surface and less gloss. It’s not a perfect match, but it also gives the wallets their own distinct personalities.

It’s just a small drop in the sea that is the leather industry, and this strategy might not apply to larger leather products. A more substantial and long-term solution would be to produce more sustainable and ethical kinds of leather, such as those made from plants. Those still have kinks that need to be ironed out, but in the meantime, small efforts like this could still go a long way in making recycled leather more known and accepted, especially when it looks and feels like new leather anyway.

The post Tanner Goods recycled leather wallets make the old new again first appeared on Yanko Design.

This ordinary looking gadget transforms plastic bags and soft plastics into bricks

For people who like saving things up like plastic bags and other single-use bags for future use, chances are you actually won’t be using more than half of them anytime soon. You end up having a lot of plastic bags inside other plastic bags until you finally decide to get rid of them, therefore adding up to all the plastic pollution if you don’t bring it to a recycling center. Not all places have a center nearby so they most likely end up in the trash and don’t get recycled. What if you had a machine in your house that can help you take a convenient first step in the recycling process?

Designer: Clear Drop

That’s the idea behind the Soft Plastic Compactor, a machine that is meant for houses or small buildings that turn these plastic bags and other soft plastics into bricks. These bricks can then be stored and eventually brought to recycling centers where they will be broken apart and then sorted and eventually be recycled. Turning them into bricks will make it easier to transport and turned over to those who actually know how to further recycle these materials.

The SPC looks like a trash compactor and should not take up that much space in your kitchen or wherever you sort your trash. It’s also pretty easy to use as you just need to feed in the plastic bags and other soft plastics into the machine and it will then turn them into a solid cube. What actually holds them together is a thin layer of melted plastic. The final product look like just any other bricks expect that it’s made from plastic. There’s no other use for the bricks except to bring to these recycled centers.

Clear Drop says that they will be working with recycling facilities first to help them understand how they can break open these bricks. They will not be selling the Soft Plastic Compactors without the participation of said facilities. They also assured users that there will not be any unhealthy fumes that do not meet the safety regulations. This is a handy device to have if you have a lot of plastic or you regularly have them at your home.

The post This ordinary looking gadget transforms plastic bags and soft plastics into bricks first appeared on Yanko Design.

This peculiar furniture set gives styrofoam a new home inside yours

The way our brain works, we become almost numb and blind to the most mundane things that we see every day. It’s a survival tactic that prevents our brains from blowing up at every external stimulus. For example, we easily take styrofoam for granted in whatever form it comes in, be it large slabs or tiny balls, because they’re easy to ignore in all the packaging, cups, and containers that we see day in and day out. These synthetic objects, however, obviously have a negative impact on the environment, and the measures taken to reduce that ironically still stress both natural and human resources. That’s why these pieces of furniture try to nip the problem in the bud by giving styrofoam a new purpose inside or outside your home without having to travel far from where they’re taken.

Designers: we+

Styrofoam, by nature, is not only non-biodegradable but also potentially harmful to our own health, which makes its use as food and beverage containers sound almost ironic. The good news is that styrofoam can actually be transformed into materials for recycled plastic products after they have been melted and treated, presuming they’re even disposed of properly. The bad news is that these materials are often sent to other countries, which makes the entire process inefficient, wasteful, and still harmful to the environment in the long run.

Japan, for example, often exports styrofoam melted into ingots only to have those become the foundations for products bought in bargain stores. Rather than going through that roundabout and expensive process, Refoam starts and ends in Japan, right where the styrofoam is melted. This recycled goo is then immediately used to build up structures with unique textures and surfaces. Structures that can become tables, chairs, and furniture that will give any space a distinct look.

Whether from near or from a distance, it’s easy to see that any piece of Refoam furniture has a unique and almost odd aesthetic. It’s like a cross between cracked concrete and molten lava that has been cooled after it was given shape. Given the process involved in melting pieces of styrofoam and placing the resulting goo into molds to cool, that’s a rather accurate representation.

The Refoam series’ rocky appearance makes it almost perfect for outdoor use, but it can still fit in some interior motifs, particularly those aiming for cold, earthy tones. More importantly, however, it provides not only a more sustainable process for recycling styrofoam waste but also gives the material new value, even in its raw, melted form.

The post This peculiar furniture set gives styrofoam a new home inside yours first appeared on Yanko Design.

This distinctive wood-like material is made from worthless scraps of wood

The use of wood in products and design goes back millennia, and the material continues to be a favorite today, especially among those turning their backs on harmful plastics. But while wood is inherently sustainable in the sense of being biodegradable and recyclable, great care must be taken in sourcing this material. Anything that uses wood, from the thinnest paper to the largest furniture, almost always involves cutting down trees, and even the discarded bits and pieces that can be recycled and used elsewhere still trace their origins from large trees. This can eventually be a problem if we don’t plant trees fast enough to replenish our sources of wood. Trees, however, might not be the only source of the materials we can use for making furniture, and this rather novel material tries to use the unlikeliest objects for that purpose.

Designer: Yuma Kano (Studio Yumakano)

Wood has always been special among the different materials we use for making things. It has particular properties and textures, and the grains and striations that raw lumber has are unique and appealing. Wood is also easily available, presuming we have enough trees, of course. As such, it comes with its own set of problems, including the amount of waste material that is left unused and discarded. There are designers and manufacturers that try to utilize these wooden chips and crafts, but a bolder solution might be not to cut down trees in the first place.

ForestBank is an attempt to produce a different kind of wood without resorting to synthetic processes and materials that end up harming the environment anyway. Instead, it sets its eyes on the other materials that can be found in forests, materials that are normally deemed worthless and useless for construction. These include foliage, bark, seeds, and even small trees, things that just decompose on the forest floor anyway. These pieces are gathered and mixed with a reactive mineral base and water-based acrylic resin that uses no organic solvents or volatile organic compounds.

The result is something that is like wood but is clearly not wood. The material can definitely be shaped using ordinary woodworking methods and be used as different parts of furniture, practically anywhere wood can be used. Its unique makeup, however, gives it a terrazzo-like appearance that is both unique and also a bit chaotic. The different bits and pieces of source material have their own earthy tones, adding to this rather unique soup of shapes and colors.

What makes this innovative material even more sustainable is that it doesn’t need to be limited to being sourced from forests. Those same waste materials can be taken from tree pruning on streets and in gardens or scraps from woodworking studios. The different qualities and appearances of each source material add to the unique character of each ForestBank production, turning furniture, walls, and any other wood-based product into true one-of-a-kind masterpieces.

The post This distinctive wood-like material is made from worthless scraps of wood first appeared on Yanko Design.