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The best places to recycle old cables and chargers

If you've got a collection of outdated cables or chargers piling up, here's what you can do with them for Earth Day!

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Taylor Martin/CNET

E-waste is a growing problem, and the rapid advancement of technology is only making it worse. We use a gadget for a while and discard it once the new model comes out, which, of course, has a brand-new port, rendering your massive collection of charging cables virtually useless.

If you're anything like me, this has happened to you several times over the last decade. And you probably have a drawer dedicated to old, useless cables. Face it, you are never going to use them again, despite what the tinkerer or hoarder in you says.

So what do you do when it's time to clean out the drawer? In honor of Earth Day, here are some options for recycling or reusing old cables.

STEM programs

Schools and even groups like Boy Scouts of America have STEM programs or projects that often use older technology. Make a few phone calls to nearby troops or high schools to see if they are in need of some older cables or wires. They very well may not be so outdated for educational purposes.

Best Buy

One of the easiest ways to recycle any old electronics, including cables and chargers, is through Best Buy. Every Best Buy location in the US has a kiosk for recycling just inside the door. According to their site, they accept "rechargeable batteries, wires, cords, cables and plastic bags," as well as a host of electronic devices. Check its website to see if Best Buy will accept what you're trying to recycle.

Repurpose it for yourself

You can also consider doing what Instructables user brucedamoose16 did. He clipped off the ends of an old D-sub cable and stripped the wire of its sheathing. This provided over 200 feet (61 meters) of color-coded hookup wire and he used the braided shield wire as desoldering braid.

Salvage

If removed from the sheath, pure copper wire can be sold for salvage. It likely won't be a fortune, but you could at least make some cash off old cables that you're never going to use again.

A friend or family member

Not everyone upgrades computers or other electronics as quickly as you do. Before discarding a giant collection of cables, make sure to ask your friends and family members if they might be able to use them.

Even making a post on social media can help put you in touch with someone who might find them of more use than yourself.