If this holiday season was all about upgrading for you -- upgrading to a better computer, phone or camera -- then it's time to think about what to do with your old gadgets.
The good news is, you have options. The bad news is, you may have too many options. There are many ways to dispose of your old gadgets responsibly, and navigating it all can be difficult and frustrating.
To help you out, we've put together a step-by-step guide to getting rid of your old electronics now that you have new electronics.
1. The hand-me-down: The best and easiest way to recycle your old electronics is to hand them off to someone you know who can still use them. Do you have a 4-year-old niece who won't know the difference between a 4-megapixel camera or a 12-megapixel camera? She might like your old point-and-shoot. Your frustratingly slow former laptop may work perfectly for a middle-school-age cousin who only needs it for Web surfing.
2. Donate it: So, you don't know anyone who wants your old computer, but if it's still functional there may be someone you don't know who could make use of it. EBay's Rethink Initiative has put together an easy-to-navigate list of organizations that know how to put your old electronics to work.
3. Sell it: You can always sell your old electronics on EBay or Craigslist, but this may be more work than you bargained for. Alternatively, you can check out NextWorth.com, an e-recycling company that will pay you for your working electronics. You can get an instant quote on the company's website and even trade in your electronics at 1,450 Target stores nationwide.
4. Recycle: Unfortunately recycling your old electronics is not as simple as throwing them in with your old newspapers and soda cans. You'll need to find an e-recycling center that knows how to responsibly recycle your gadget. GreenerGadgets.org has a list of e-recycling centers and also has a list of e-recycling centers by ZIP Code. (Look to the bottom right of the screen). Goodwill Industries International Inc. will take e-waste. So will Best Buy.
And if you think this all sounds annoying and hard, we don't totally blame you. But if you take the extra time to recycle your old gadgets, the planet will thank you.
-- Deborah Netburn
Image: If you've been lugging around this 1998 iMac personal computer, it's time to let it go. Credit: Associated Press.