How can I reuse or recycle … old remote controls?

Remote controlRobert Adler, one of the guys that co-invented the remote control, died last week.

I suspect when a piece of remote-controlled equipment dies, people just sling out the remote too but are there any way to reuse them? Let’s assuming getting the equipment fixed isn’t possible or feasible, are there any uses for the now-redundant remote control?

Or are there any places that re-sell them? We lost our tv remote control a few years ago and after searching everywhere, bought a replacement – but the replacement was brand new, when a second-hand one would have sufficed. Then, because life is just like that, we found the original and so now have a spare – is there any way for us to pass it on?

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39 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle … old remote controls?”

  1. trish says:

    ebay, there might be someone out there with the tv, but no remote!

    give it to the kids to play with. i have a friend with a toddler who loves cell phones and remotes, so she gets all the old ones.

    universal remotes can be used somewhere else. if you’ve lost the “key page” just google the name of the remote.

    my cats love licking remotes… we don’t know why. give a cat an old remote.

    take the batteries out, and use the compartment to store money etc in.

    paint them in pretty colors and use for a paperweight if you’re a tv junkie

  2. Vic says:

    Excellent ideas there ^^^^^

    Other ideas….stick it in your purse…go to a party and drop it on the coffee table…great gag gift!

    PS…cats like the salt that gets on remotes from our hands…but the plastic isn’t good for them.

  3. Mea says:

    If you have a bunch of old remotes attach them to strings and turn them into a wind chime. Or, if you have a TV room, glue a bunch of remotes to an old picture frame (otherwise known as pop art).

  4. jimmysmits says:

    If you are a tech junkie like my self, I use old remotes for the infra red LED to make homemade night vision goggles and various other cool little gadgets.

    • Smiling Carcass says:

      Hi, jimmysmits. I have a box full of old remotes, some now obsolete and would love to know haw to recycle them ‘electrinically’. Could you tell us?

  5. Corey says:

    I will pay cash for new or used original (not universal) remotes. I prefer to buy several at a time. I am a supporter of recycling!

    • Peggy says:

      Hi Corey, I am responding to your blurb about buying remote controls. I have a Philips Magnavox N0246UD, a TRUTECH DVD player remote and a Fisher RVR-4911 that does say Universal Remote on it so that one may not be what your looking for. Anyway, if you are still collecting them, I have them.

    • Ms. Moreira says:

      Hi Corey I have 6 old remotes. 2 Sony model RM-Y167, 2 Panasonic models: VS0S1560 and VS0S1241,1 Pioneer model:CU-XR035, 1 JVC, sorry no model available. I am also a supporter of recycling.

    • karen says:

      I have 4 remotes, 1 RCA, 1KLH,1 Toshiba, 1 dvd. I don’t want to throw in trash. any ideas where to recycle?

    • Mimi says:

      Are you still interested in original remotes. I have close to 30.

    • Brian Paras says:

      I have a collection of used remotes (primarily Sony) of which all are in good condition. I am looking to sell some of them. Are you still interested in buying them?

    • I have 4 old remotes, seg/fidelity/skx/rc 1096 if you are interested, please let me know.

    • Suzanne Nash says:

      I have 12 old remotes they are not Universal if you would be interested in purchasing them please contact me ASAP thank you Suzanne

  6. David says:

    I pay top dollar for new or used original remote controls. (excluding universal remotes!) I can buy from a few to hundreds at a time.

    • rania says:

      I havemany original ut they’re quite old. ranging from 2 to 14 years.
      Please let me know if you’d like to buy them

    • Joel says:

      I have two original remotes: a Zenith MBR for a VCR and an RCA for an RCA Digital (tube) TV. Both were given away and we couldn’t find the remotes at the time. Now we have them and don’t want to put them in the trash. I also have an older COX remote for Scientific Atlana non DVR cable boxes. Any interest?


    • Bill Anthis says:

      Hello David,

      How do I get them too you? is US MAIL ok

    • Suzanne Nash says:

      I am writing to inform you that I have a whole box not universal remotes at least 20 and wondered if you still are interested in purchasing them or know where I can find somebody I am in favor of recycling everything thank you

  7. vince says:

    as a fixer of dumped old electronics
    why not offer the faulty item with the remote on you local freecycle group
    that how i get some of mine
    nothing worse than finding a tv dumped
    with no remote !! or worse still droped and case damaged beyond repair
    better these days to recycle
    i fix about 30 tv’s a year plus lot of other bit i am sure there are others local to you

  8. John says:

    I have about 5000 Direct TV remotes (IR only – mostly RC64). They are brand new, never used; my AV company gets them with every receiver, but we use Crestron control and just throw all the remotes in boxes. We would love to get rid of them … if you have any interest, drop me a note. Thanks.

  9. Ruti says:

    Toddlers can use these as pretend mobile phones.

  10. Joe H says:

    To anyone who does buy new or used remotes, my company have been supplying several big chains with remotes for cable TV. We have 1000’s of remotes that are now obsolete or returns that we would be very interested in removing from our warehouse.

    For more info mail:

    And I agree that babies love them and an old remote saves your nice new one from dribble!!!

  11. jodi says:

    Hi.. I have an animal rescue group that is looking for ways to earn a little extra cash.. We have yard sales all the time, and constantly getting remotes in,, from the donors.. usually no tv of course, as they have went to the universal remotes,, please if anyone can let me know where to send them, Please contact me…

  12. We recycle used and unwanted remote controls. Please visit our website for more details.

  13. Jim says:

    If anyone is interrested in buying used cable remotes please contact us at

  14. Annette says:

    I am looking for all used remotes. I recycle. Please email me at Thanks!

  15. Chris says:

    Hi everyone,
    I am currently making an art installation which involves a lot of old TV remotes. I am trying to collect many more if anybody in the London/Manchester area has any that they wish to donate?

    Please email me at: if you do, I will happily take them off your hands!


  16. Becky says:

    I have cable, vcr remote

  17. Ryan says:

    I have a bunch I found cleaning out the storage in our office and wanted to see what you would offer:

    Intervideo Home Theater Remote & USB Receiver XPC-RC01 @100 all new in packages

    ATI Remote Wonder II @ 2 opened

    Samsung BN59-00489B LCD TV remote control @ 8 new in pacages and @ 2 opened

    NEC Remote Control RU-M104 @ 2 new in packages @ 3 open

    NEC remote controller RU-M111 @ 2 new in packages, @ 8 opened

    ATI Theater Remote Control RC1523741/01B @ 50 in packages

    A415-HPG- Hauppauge Remote Control for WinTV @ 50 in packages

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