Want a New iPod Shuffle? Recycle Your Old One, First

Gadget-hungry Americans often forget to recycle technology that becomes outdated.

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Apple has just unveiled the new iPod Shuffle - a sleeker, smaller device than the previous iterations, of course - and gadget-lovers across the internet are ravenous for it. It features 4 GB of storage for up to 1000 songs, VoiceOver, a feature that can tell listeners what song they're hearing, and also the ability to store music by playlist. To make the device smaller than the size of a key, volume controls have been moved to the headphones, where they will supposedly be easier to navigate.

What this means for our landfills, though, is that thousands of old iPod Shuffles, many in perfect condition, will be abandoned for landfills. And when technology makes it into a landfill, it often leaches hazardous chemicals into our water supply. Here's what to do if you're buying a new iPod Shuffle:

  • Sell it. Not everyone can afford a shiny new toy, so if you know you won't be using your old Shuffle, see if you can sell it on Craigslist, or swap it on Freecycle. It probably works just fine, so why not extend its lifespan?
  • Recycle it for cash. This is an especially good bet if you're getting a new Shuffle because your old one is broken. Many people keep a few unused gadgets lying around the house, and companies like Gazelle or BuyMyTronics will give you cash for your old devices. They'll refurbish them or recycle them responsibly. Learn more about recycling for cash here.
  • Recycle it at the store. Despite the payoff, not everyone wants to deal with the hassle of mailing in their electronics for cash. Save yourself the trouble by bringing your old shuffle to the store when you buy your new one. Many stores have free tech recycling programs and will take your old gadgets off of your hands for you. Apple stores will take back your iPod or any cell phone - learn more about their program here. Best Buy will recycle almost any device.