What do you do with the smartphones, laptops and electronics that you stop using? Where can you donate, recycle, or dispose of unwanted electronics in the UAE?
As our lives become more and more dependent on electronics, consumer upgrade cycles are shortening. In 2013-2014, the typical consumer upgraded and replaced his smartphone every 24 to 26 months. In 2017, the global average was every 21 months. In the GCC, UAE and Saudi Arabia, consumers upgraded their devices every 19 months.
So what happens to the devices that get replaced? Most of us stick them in a drawer somewhere, forget about them and they eventually end up as ewaste. Electronic waste is a big problem. 2017 produced an estimated 48.2 million metric tons of ewaste, that’s about 100 times the weight of Burj Khalifa.
Ewaste is particularly bad for the environment. Not only is ewaste often hazardous, leaking harmful chemicals (such as lead) into the environment, it is also largely composed of irreplacable metals and nonbiodegradable glass and plastics.
So what can you do with your used and unwanted electronics in the UAE? Here are several options to properly deal with ewaste in the UAE.
Option 1: Sell
Selling your used electronics is typically a great way to recycle a product by giving it a second. Even broken electronics can be sold for parts.
Melltoo is a great place to sell used electronics. List your items online in complete privacy, buyers contact you via in-app chat and comments. Once the buyer is ready, he/she pays in-app and a courier collects the item from you to be delivered to the buyer. There are NO meetups with strangers and payment is transferred to your bank account or in cash via cardless ATM. Download the app here.
If you really want to make a positive impact, you can also #Resell4aCause through the Melltoo app, donating all sale proceeds to a charitable cause. Supported causes including food relief for refugees (Salma Aid) and sponsoring orphans (Emirates Red Crescent). In exchange, you will receive “impacter credit” which can be exchanged for vouchers and credit at other retailers. The process is basically the same as a normal sale, more info can be found here.
Second hand mobile shops
These can be found in many neighborhoods around Dubai and all over the UAE. They are usually located in the souqs or neighborhood strip malls. Typically, you bring in your device and the shop purchases it from you in cash. However, since the shops need to make a sizable margin off your device, you won’t get a very good price for it.
There are many retail outlets that let you trade in your used devices for store credit to purchase a new one. Axiom and eMax both do this. You bring your device into the store and they will give you a quote on how much your device is worth. The amount is then given to you as store credit to purchase a new item. Of course, the issue with this is that you will have to purchase a new device from the same store.
Option 2: Donate
Your used electronics can improve the lives of people in need.
Give to those around you
The UAE is a diverse community with people from all walks of life and economic situations. If you know people who would benefit from your used device, the ideal situation is to give your device to them. In some cases, they will use it; in other cases, they will sell it and pocket the cash. However, you should only give people functional devices.
As an added service, Melltoo will also collect your used electronics and sell them on your behalf. Sale proceeds will go to the charitable cause that you wish to support. Melltoo will also erase all data and reset devices to factory settings prior to the sale. Instead of handling the sale on your own, Melltoo will do it for you. The only caveat is that you will not receive the “impacter credit” that you would normally receive if you handled the sale personally (see above).
You may donate both functional and broken electronics. Supported causes including food relief for refugees (Salma Aid) and sponsoring orphans (Emirates Red Crescent). For more info or to request a collection.
Give to charitable organizations
Unfortunately, there are very few charitable organizations that accept electronics as donations. This is not surprising since handling and processing electronics is expensive and difficult. Charity programs need cash to operate. In-kind donations such as clothing and shoes are typically sold by the kilogram to resellers in order to obtain the cash required to purchase new items for those in need. Electronics are even more difficult to collect and process and charities simply don’t have the manpower and resources to do this.
If you want to donate electronics to charities, call the organization ahead of time to ensure that they are willing to accept them. Then ask them for the precise drop off location where you can bring your electronics.
Option 3: Recycle or dispose
There are several options to recycle or dispose of your used electronics with reduced harm to the environment. Some are free public services and others are paid services. Here are some companies to try.
Dubai Municipality – 800 900
Only for residents of Dubai. Free service.
Bee’ah (Sharjah) – https://beeah.ae/en
Only for residents of Sharjah. Free service
Enviroserve – http://www.enviroserve.org/
Nationwide pickup service. Paid service
Averda – 04 449 7500
Only for residents of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Paid service
Shred-it – https://www.shredit.ae/en-ae
Paid service to destroy your electronics if you are concerned about data privacy.