Consumer Reports

Should You Keep That Electronics Box or Recycle It?

NBC Universal, Inc.

With closets and other storage spaces tight for many of us, the last thing we want is for them to be taken up by something we don’t even need. We’re talking about boxes and other packaging from electronics like laptops, phones, and tablets. Is it okay to get rid of them? Consumer Reports offers some tips to help you decide when to hold them and when to fold them.

Consumer Reports says there are some times when it’s a no-brainer to hang on to a box, at least for a little while, like when there’s a chance you might return a product. Depending on where you bought it, you might not get a full refund without the original packaging. So it might be worth keeping during the return window, often 14 to 90 days, especially for expensive electronics.

Another time to hold on to the box is if it’s for an item you think you might resell. People are much more likely to buy secondhand products when they’re in a box.

Consumer Reports also says keeping the box while the manufacturer’s warranty is in effect might make it easier if you have to send an item back, although most will accept an item for repairs in any box.

It’s also a good idea to save the box to store a device you might not use every day or to keep track of its extra parts, like a battery or cord.

If none of these reasons apply, Consumer Reports says feel free to get rid of that box. 

To help you keep the boxes you’re storing from taking over your home, consider the one-to-one rule. When you get a new device and keep the box, get rid of an old one.

When it comes to storing boxes, Consumer Reports says if you can’t flatten them, consider nesting smaller boxes in larger ones. Or you can even repurpose some of those nice, sturdy boxes for holiday decorations or another use.

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