How to Retire Broke Earbuds (Earth Friendly Recycling)

If you own a smartphone, chances are, you own earbuds. They have become an essential smartphone accessory these days. However, if your earbuds get broken or dysfunctional and you have to buy a new pair, you might wonder what to do with the old ones. This article on can you recycle earbuds will provide you with all of the information you need to know.

The short answer is yes, you can recycle your old broken earbuds. You don’t have to just throw them away in the garbage. As they often are made of non-biodegradable materials, they need to be recycled following proper measurements. There are many programs that are run state and country-wise to recycle old electronics. You can use them to recycle your earbuds.

That being said, if you want to properly ensure that your earbuds are recycled properly, you must know how recycling works.

However, if recycling is not possible, then you need to know what to do with old wireless earbuds. Read through the whole article as I’m about to explain it to you.

What Materials Can You Find In Typical Earbuds?

Modern earbuds use a lot of materials. Plastic, metals, and non-metal materials are used to make the various parts of earbuds. Some of these materials are common for all earbuds and other audio devices.

Earbuds have various components in them. These components include tiny speakers, Bluetooth receivers, a case to contain everything, and many others.

As we all know, all speakers use magnets to function. Magnets fall into the metal section. The casing is made of various materials. However, rubber or silicone cases are the most common. Because they provide flexibility.

So, as you can see, a wide range of materials are used to make earbuds. Various parts inside the earbuds as well as the shell of the earbuds use plastics.

In the case of metals, aluminum is one of the most used metals. Rubber is used for the tips as it provides flexibility and comfort. Earbuds include other materials as well. Though the amount is very low.

Are Earbuds Recyclable?

The answer is yes, earbuds are recyclable. As we already talked about, different materials that are used to make earbuds are mostly recyclable. That makes recycling earbuds an easier job to do if you’re willing.

Materials like plastic, metals, rubber, and silicone are easily recyclable on their own. So, you might think recycling a pair of earbuds might also be a very simple job.

But, that’s not true entirely. When these materials are put together to make earbuds, recycling them becomes somewhat tricky. That is because the recycling process for different materials is not similar.

As the recycling processes are different, you can’t just recycle all of them together. Each of these materials requires a different approach to recycling.

So, the earbuds need to be dismantled properly. This is tedious work. So, a lot of recycling stations stopped recycling earbuds as the materials are troublesome to separate.

However, if you search properly, you’ll definitely find the stations that still recycle earbuds. Sometimes, states run various recycling programs for electronic products and accessories.

Aside from these, there are a lot of organizations that run similar kinds of programs. You can recycle your earbuds through these programs easily.

Can You Throw Them In The Garbage?

You can toss your old earbuds in the trash if they’re broken. In any case, this is not something you should be doing. Because they can pose a threat and leave a negative impact on our environment in the long run.

We often throw our old earbuds in the garbage. This seems like an easy fix to our problem. But, actually, it isn’t.

That is because earbuds as well as other electronic products are not good for the environment.

They can cause a lot of environmental issues. That is why you need to be considerate about where to throw them.

One of the reasons we throw our old gadgets like earbuds in the garbage is because we think they will be recycled.

But, most of the time, that is not the case. Because not all states and cities have earbuds recycling programs.

So, almost all of the time, these earbuds find their place in landfills. However, earbuds don’t break down easily as you might expect.

As earbuds are made of different materials, these materials need different times to break down. Plastic, for example, makes up a large portion of earbuds.

But, plastics take a lot of time to break down. Some can take a thousand years to do so. Even then, they stay in the environment as microplastics. Thus, they can still be present in soil and damage fertility.

In some cases, earbuds discharge toxic elements. These toxic elements can harm our environment permanently. Also, they can find their way to our bodies.

We can face serious health issues because of this. There are also other electronic components that are harmful to us. So, to avoid these problems, you shouldn’t throw them in the garbage.

What To Do With Your Old Earbuds?

Even if you have broken earbuds that are dysfunctional, you can still do a lot of things with them. They can come in handy in various cases and situations. This saves you from just throwing away the earbuds in the garbage and from damaging your environment in the process.

If you want to retire your earbuds without causing any environmental issues, you should follow the instructions stated below.

Here you can have some ideas about what to do with them and help the environment in the process.


The best thing to do with your old earbuds is to recycle them. It has so many advantages to it. Recycling is the most earth-friendly thing to do.

To do this, you need to find a recycling station that recycles electronics. This might prove to be hard in some regions or states. But, they ensure the proper recycling of the earbuds.

Most of the recycling stations do this for free. So, you don’t need additional money to dispose of your old earbuds.

Some environmental organizations also help you recycle your earbuds. So, you need to keep an eye open for these opportunities.

Sending Them Back To The Manufacturer

It is another very good alternative if you can’t find any station near you to recycle them. That is because earbuds manufacturers often collect old earbuds and audio devices. It is very common for them.

Most manufacturing companies have some kind of exchange policy. In these programs, you can exchange your old earbuds for newer earbuds or other gadgets.

They dismantle these old earbuds and use the raw materials to make new earbuds. So, you don’t have to worry about the recycling process.

Selling Or Donating Them

If your old earbuds are still functional, you can try selling them. You can easily get a reasonable selling price for your old pair of earbuds. This way, you don’t have to worry about their recycling issue. They will also be in use for some time.

Donating your old earbuds is also a very good way of recycling them. There are a lot of organizations where you can donate your old earbuds.

But, please make sure that they are in decent condition before donating them. Because other people in need will use them, you must be careful before donating.


In this era, an earbud is something that almost everyone owns. They have become increasingly popular and rightfully so!

However, when they are not functioning, people aren’t quite sure what to do with them.

I hope this article on can you recycle earbuds was able to answer all your questions! Thanks for stopping by.

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