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The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive

Why recycle?

Because of certain substances used in electronic equipment, throwing out old electronic devices along with regular garbage can hurt the environment and even threaten human health. So the EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive requires that these devices be marked with the above symbol, which reminds people not to throw away such items as unsorted waste.

EU Member States are also required to achieve high levels of collection of these devices for environmentally sound disposal. The success of this policy will depend on the active contributions of people like you.

So, before you toss your old phone or computer or other device, think for a moment. Could you reuse it? Recover it? Turn it into a sculpture? By extending the life of your device -- or at least returning it to a facility dedicated to its proper disposal--you’ll reduce waste and help the EU meet its goals.

Recycle your old devices with Google

Distributors (like the Google Store) are also required to allow customers (like you) to return used electronic devices free of charge, as long as you’re swapping it out for an equivalent device which fulfills the same function as the equipment you return.

This means that when you buy a new device from the Google Store, you can send us your old one and we’ll recycle it for free.

Here’s how the program works:

  1. The Google Store only accepts used electronic devices on a one-to-one basis. If you buy one device, you can only return one used device free of charge.
  2. The device you’re returning must be equivalent to the device that you’re buying. For example, if you’re buying a new tablet, you can return your old tablet, but not your old TV or laptop.
  3. By using this program, you are representing to the Google Store that you are the lawful owner of the old device and have the right to return it to the Google Store.
  4. Before you return any device to the Google Store, make sure that you:
    • save or transfer data of any kind
    • delete all data from the hard drive or any other storage media
    • remove any storage media and SIM cards
    • remove any accessories like covers or screen protectors that you want to keep
  5. Once the Google Store has received your used device, it becomes the property of Google. We won’t be able to give it back to you if you change your mind after we’ve received it.
  6. We will only accept your used device if you contact us no later than 30 days after the date you purchased a new item.

Send your device to be recycled

To return your item, follow the steps below:

  1. Contact Google Support and let us know the order number, serial number or IMEI number of the device you purchased from us so we can check if your order qualifies for this program.
  2. Please also let us know the following information about the device you want to return:
  3. If you qualify for this program, we’ll send you a prepaid shipping label, and instructions on how to return your device.

Arneil is a Google Store expert and author of this help page. Help him improve this article by leaving feedback below.

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