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Got a New Tablet? Here’s What to do With Your Old One

Daniel Howley
Technology Editor

So Santa brought you a new tablet this Christmas. But now you’re wondering what to do with your old, outdated model. Do you just toss it in the trash so the seagulls at your municipal landfill can play Candy Crush all day?

No way. You can get fined for throwing away electronics, and seagulls are jerks who don’t deserve tablets.

Thankfully, there are plenty of more responsible ways you can repurpose, recycle, or just plain sell your old tablet. Here’s how to get started.

Repurpose it

Your old tablet might not have a cool fingerprint reader or ridiculously high-definition screen like your new one, but that doesn’t mean you can’t repurpose it and use it as another device.

In-car video screen: Keeping your kids quiet and happy — but, really, mostly quiet — during long road trips can be a serious headache. But if you turn your old tablet into an in-car-only slate, you can make your next drive to Grandma’s house a bit easier.

Arkon Car Seat Headrest Tablet Mount

A number of companies make seat mounts for tablets that attach your old slate to the back of the front seats’ headrests, instantly giving you in-car video monitors. Just remember to take them out, or hide them under the seats when you park.

Digital photo screen: Instead of shelling out cash to for a digital photo frame, why not turn your old tablet into one?

Frontgate iPad Photo Frame

Believe it or not, there are already special docks on the market that turn your old slate into a digital photo frame. If you’re the kind of person who has tons of pictures on your old tablet, this is a great way to give it a second life.

Kitchen tablet: There are a huge number of cooking apps available for iPad and Android tablets. But if you’re at all like me, you might not want to risk getting your new slate soaked or covered in batter.

So why not use your old tablet as your kitchen slate? Not only will it help you make a fantastic dinner for your family, it can also double as a cutting board in a pinch. (Kidding. Please don’t use your iPad as a cutting board.)

Give it away

Sure your old tablet isn’t as fast as your brand new one, but unless it’s literally falling apart, chances are it can still run most apps. So why not pass it on to someone who can still get some use out of it?

Your kids: They already play with your tablet all the time anyway, so you might as well pass it along to your kids for good. They’ll be able to listen to music, play games, do schoolwork, and surf the Web (with your oversight, of course), and they’ll finally stop bugging you to borrow yours.

Your parents: If your parents are still tech neophytes who aren’t sure they want to sink a lot of money into a brand new tablet for fear that they won’t get much use out of it, you might want to give them your old one. That’ll give them the option of trying out a tablet, to see if they’ll use it, before buying one of their own.

And call your mother. She loves you.

Charity: If you don’t personally know someone who can benefit from receiving your old tablet, you can always donate it to a worthy cause. Computers with Causes is a non-profit that accepts used electronics such as tablets and repurposes them for use in educational settings or other causes the group supports.

Goodwill also accepts donations of tablets, which it sells to raise funds to support its job training services.

Recycle it

If your tablet is beyond repair, don’t just toss it in the trash. Many of the electronics we use, including tablets, are built using materials and chemicals that cause harm to the environment.

Instead, you can bring your slate to a local e-waste recycling center, which will strip the device of precious metals and other materials and repurpose them for use in other gadgets.

Many big-box electronics stores — including Best Buy — also provide electronics recycling programs that allow you to drop off your old gadgets.

Sell it

As long as your tablet is still in working order — and, in some cases, even if it isn’t — you can sell your old slate for some cold, hard cash. Gazelle, for example, will give you $70 for a 16 GB iPad 2 as long as it’s in good condition. A 32 GB first-generation iPad Air, meanwhile, can score you $195.

Gazelle is far from the only place that will take your old slate, though. You can also sell it to Glyde or GameStop. Of course, you can also sell it the old-fashioned ways — via eBay or Craigslist.

Email Daniel at dhowley@yahoo-inc.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley or on Google+.