How to Recycle Remote Controls: Tips for Recycling, Repurposing & Keeping Remotes Out of Landfills

How to Recycle Remote Controls: Tips for Recycling, Repurposing & Keeping Remotes Out of Landfills
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Reasons to Recycle Remote Controls

Remote controls, like many other electronics, have different types of metals and chemicals that help to make them work. Once the remote control is no longer operational, the issue becomes where they should be discarded. Because remote controls also often have batteries which contain heavy metals and other toxic chemicals, it is essential that they be recycled in a proper manner. If remote controls are simply thrown into the trash, they either sit in a landfill or are shipped off to a foreign country where it is cheaper to disassemble them. Since the labor is cheaper, the work is not high quality, and the chemicals and metals often leak into the air.

Ideas for Recycling and Repurposing a Broken Remote Control

When a remote control breaks for one reason or another, a replacement remote control is probably a purchase that is soon to come. First, though, the old broken remote control needs to be disposed of. Many different options exist for proper disposal. A person could use the remote control for a purpose other than what it was originally designed for. Taking the batteries out of the remote control makes it a perfect hiding place for money or other valuables. The remote control could also be used as a decoration in an electronics themed house.

Some people will gladly take broken electronics to salvage them for parts. Even though one part of the remote control is broken, other parts of it probably still work. Search on a site like Craigslist or think of friends who might enjoy a broken piece of equipment to play with. Electronics companies like Best Buy also have a program to recycle remote controls and other electronics. Most items, including remote controls, are free to recycle. Even if the product was not bought at Best Buy, it can still be recycled there.

How to Recycle a Working Remote Control

Operational remote controls may have lost use in one home but can be valuable elsewhere. Someone else may have broken their remote control or lost it. You can recycle remote controls by putting them up for sale on eBay or Craigslist and let people know if it is a universal remote control or one that only works on certain products.

The remote control could also be given to a child at home or in the neighborhood to use when playing a game. Children could play a futuristic version of cops and robbers with a working remote control.

Shopping For a Replacement Remote Control

When buying a replacement remote control, first consider looking in the same places that the broken remote control was sold. People on Craigslist or eBay sell unwanted electronics often. Universal remote controls will be available, often for cheaper than a new remote control. Buying the product secondhand means one less remote control to be recycled. The remote control will need batteries, so think about buying rechargeable batteries instead of single use ones, to avoid recycling batteries as often.


“Ecycling Basics” NCER

“E-cycling” Best Buy

“How Can I Reuse or Recycle…Old Remote Controls” Recycle This

“Remote Control” World

“Single Use Battery Recycling” Earth911

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