Technology is inevitable. The way our society is structured makes us woefully dependent on the latest and greatest of tech, even if we hate to admit it. I know I do. Regardless of my conflicting relationship with the capitalistic approach to technological advancement, I think it’s important to have really great camera gear to keep your business relevant. I also think that it is really important to be socially responsible about what to do with the gear when we no longer need it so that it doesn’t become electronic waste (e-waste).
E-waste is real. I’m not about to haunt you with all the absurd and incapacitating statistics out there, you can go down that rabbit hole yourself. I am, however, going to share some insight on how to recycle and reuse old camera gear because it is actually really important that the precious minerals and resources that are in cameras are kept out of landfills. Taking the initiative to reuse or recycle your gear will end up being a huge win for everyone and the planet. Plain and simple. So, what is the best way to get rid of your old camera gear?
1) Sell your camera gear online yourself. You always have the E-bay option, if you have the tenacity to set up and manage an account. Also, facebook marketplace or facebook camera groups have made it incredibly convenient to buy and sell gear locally. Your gear gets a second life and you can possibly get a decent return on investment.
2) Trade in programs. Websites like Adorama, KEH and MPB provide quotes online that you can accept, then send in your gear for money or credit. This is a really convenient way to get some return and peace of mind knowing that your gear is getting out and about in the used gear market. Orlando Bonus Round: Local to Orlando?? Colonial Photo & Hobby does trade in anytime as well as buy back offers on Saturday mornings or by appointment. They also run coordinated trade in events on occasion so it might be worth signing up for their email list.
Selling and trade-in not an option?
3) Donate it to your local school. Do you remember being apart of the yearbook club? Or were you more of an AV club type? Either way, most schools don’t go out and buy top of the line gear, and how cool would it be to know your gear is inspiring the next generation of photographers. Local schools can absolutely benefit from your old gear if you are interested in donating. Try reaching out to schools in your local area.
4) Recycle to a charity. Recycle for charities is an interesting website. It’s the same concept as donating to a school yet the camera gear worth goes to a charity instead. Help others while helping the environment. What a cool concept.
5) Take it to a recycle program. What a task. This was the hardest part of the researching for this blog. I ran into dead ends and hard to navigate websites by major companies, which is disappointing and alarming because we should all be in this effort together. So here is what I narrowed down to be reasonable recycling programs that are user friendly to consumers:
–Best Buy looks like it has one of the more convenient, no questions asked recycling program for free.
–All Green Electronics Recycling has a regional branch in Florida and overall has an impressive amount of knowledge and gumption to keep e-waste out of landfills.
–Earth 911 acts as a search engine style resource to find local recycling based on your local zip code.
A quick word on batteries. Yes, absolutely recycle those too. Call2recycle looks like the most reliable website to get your batteries squared away if the other recycling programs don’t accept them along with the camera.
As for the SD card, unfortunately, there is not a lot of recycling information at this time. My best ideas are to try to reuse them personally as much as possible and if you are able to utilize any of the above resources to get rid of them, make sure you wipe the drive completely before doing so. Same to be said for your camera too, it would be best to reset to the factory setting. If you have a successful way of recycling old SD cards let us know in the comments! Overall, taking the extra effort to get rid of your camera gear in an eco-friendly manner is worth it and I hope this helps get you on your way.
There are some really awesome programs and unique ways to extend the life of your old camera gear that are better for the planet and everyone on it. Do your part. Stay kind, be awesome.