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Staples has a new program that 'pays' you to trade in your old electronics and office supplies — here's how to try it

You can turn in computers, tablets, monitors, keyboards, cables, printers, smartphones, digital cameras, and more.


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Properly discarding your old gadgets can be frustrating — from annoying fees to small windows of opportunity through town recycling days. It's easy to practice the "out-of-sight, out-of-mind" method by shoving old devices deep into a junk drawer.

But sometimes you have to bite the bullet and get rid of this junk. Thankfully, Staples is making this easy — by literally paying you to recycle your old devices and office supplies.

What is Staples' 'Free Tech Take Back' program?

For over 15 years, Staples has been recycling electronics. Last September, it rolled out its first recycling rewards program.

Through the Free Tech Take Back Program, Staples Rewards members can get $5 back for shredding paper or recycling items in-store and an additional $2 in rewards for each recycled ink or toner cartridge. And through Jan. 28, Staples is also offering $5 in cash back for customers who bring in their old electronics — including computers, tablets, monitors, keyboards, cables, printers, smartphones, digital cameras, and more. 

All you need to do is bring in seven or fewer items to the checkout area of a store, wait for a sales associate to assess and accept your office supplies, and get rewarded for the recyclables they accept. Though you don't have to be a Staples Rewards member to recycle, you'll need a membership to earn the perks.

Per the company's website, Staples sends these recyclable office supplies to its national recycling partner. The chain retailer is an e-Stewards enterprise, meaning Staples uses electronic recyclers that meet specific standards for responsible recycling. Depending on the quality of the items, they will get refurbished, remanufactured, or harvested for their parts.

Why recycle old office supplies at Staples?

Electronic waste, or e-waste, is any electronic device with a battery or plug discarded because it's no longer wanted, lost functionality, or became obsolete.

E-waste is a big issue in the U.S. and around the globe — we throw away over 59 million tons of electronics worldwide each year, although less than 18% of that gets recycled.

With components made of materials like arsenic and lead, it's crucial to keep devices out of landfills to prevent these toxins from contaminating our soils and water resources. It's also important for protecting your data — personal information stored on old phones and laptops can end up in the wrong hands when not properly discarded.

Since 2012, over 153 million pounds of tech equipment and 211 million ink and toner cartridges have gotten recycled at Staples stores across the country.

"In the past year alone, recycling initiatives at Staples have helped to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 205,255 tons," Michael Hurwitz, vice president of merchandising at Staples U.S. retail said in a press release. "We are excited to be able to reward customers for their environmentally-friendly efforts so that we can continue to make a positive impact."

For a complete list of what you can and can't recycle, visit the Staples recycle list.

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