How To Recycle Cables/Cords?

With all electronic gadgets and equipment coming with a range of different cables and cords, these tend to build up in people’s homes. After a while, you could end up with dozens of USB cables and power cords that you can’t even remember what they belong to.

The best thing to do is to recycle the unwanted cables and cords. And yes, you can recycle cables and cords!


Why Should You Recycle Cables and Cords?

Electronic cord recycling is extremely important for two main reasons. And it’s all about making sure they don’t end up unnecessarily in a landfill where they literally go to waste.

First of all, there are metals like copper and gold in many types of cables and cords, and those have significant value for resale. It’s possible to fully extract them and then make them available as raw materials for the electronics industry.

This then indirectly has an environmental impact as lower demand for raw metals means lower demand for extremely destructive mining practices. And a lot of mining happens in parts of the world where environmental protections are not a top priority.

And then there is also the added benefit of not adding to the demand for landfill space where these old cables and cords would not go to any good use.

What Materials Can You Retrieve From Cables and Cords?

While cables and cords might look like they don’t contain as many different materials as a computer or tablet might, there are several things that are ideal for recycling.

The most obvious things are mostly hidden under plastic and rubber and include copper, aluminum, gold, and silver. Copper is by far the most common metal in cables, and once you separate it, it’s ideal as a raw material for making new cables or other electronics.

Things like high-end data and audio cables will also contain some precious metals, and those can be particularly valuable.

Then there’s the rubber and plastic that are used as insulating material. And these can also be stripped off and recycled.

How To Recycle Electronic Cords And Cables?

There are five things to keep in mind if you want to recycle old electronic cords and do the right thing.


E-Waste Recyclers

If the cable is broken or so outdated that it doesn’t have any use, then the best thing to do is to bring it to an e-waste specialist. Such a company will ensure that the materials are safely separated and then brought back into the cycle economy. It’s the best way to avoid cables being exported to developing countries where they are often open-air burned as a cheap way to get at the metal.


Municipal Waste Management

Most municipal waste centers will also offer an electronics recycling program. If you have one close to you, then call them and find out what the process is to ensure they deal directly with the public.

Retailers-And-Hardware-Stores-Cables and Cords

Retailers And Electronics Stores

You’ll also find that many electronics stores will have a drop-off recycling program. In some cases, these are free if you’re buying something new while you are there, and it's a good option to consider if you need new devices and have some old ones to get rid of safely.



Even if the cables are older, it’s possible that there are people with older phones, computers, or TVs who may need such an old cable. Some charity stores will stick electronics and cables for such purposes, and it can be a great way for them to fund the charity.



The other thing you can check is if any of your friends or family need such a cable. If you have a charging cable for a Samsung phone, but you’ve switched to an iPhone, then such a charger cable might still be useful to people you know. Reusing is always the most sustainable option.

Where Can You Recycle Electronic Cords And Cables?

Now let’s talk about how you can recycle cables and cords at GreenCitizen.

Drop-Off Recycling (For Residents In The San Francisco Bay Area)

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, then you can fill out a form with details of the cables and cords. You then weigh your recycling materials and pay a small handling fee for us to process them properly.

Then bring your cables to our Burlingame Eco-Center and pay the fee through contactless payment.

Business Recycling Pickups (For Businesses In The San Francisco Bay Area)

Many businesses often accumulate electronics for recycling. And cables often end up being a large part of that. If you’d like to take advantage of our collection service, then fill out the recycling form and prepare your electronics for collection.

We’ll provide you with a quote and arrange a pick-up time that suits you.

Mail-In Recycling (Us-Wide Service)

If you don’t live close to our recycling center, then you also have the option of mailing in your old cables. You simply fill out a form with details of the items and their weight, then pay a small fee for the processing.

Choose your preferred delivery service and send the old cables to our recycling center, and will acknowledge them with a confirmation of receipt.

Green Directory (Us-Wide Service)

And if you’d like to find out if there’s a convenient recycling company close to where you live, then you can use our Green Directory to find one. Simply enter your zip code and the type of devices you want to recycle, and we’ll provide you with a list of available options.

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