“Reuse and recycle.” It’s more than a mantra for tree-huggers. It’s conscientious stewardship of our resources. Leading companies around the world stepped up to the challenge years ago, offering no-cost take-back of their own-and in some cases other manufacturers’-electronic products to be recycled and disposed of safely and with no adverse impact on the environment. The former owner had the satisfaction of being environmentally responsible, but nothing more.

Now, however, a growing number of companies are compensating consumers for their unwanted electronic products-albeit at a fraction of their original cost. For example, in addition to offering free recycling of virtually any electronic product, Best Buy also exchanges select gently used electronic products for a Best Buy gift card.

It turns out that there is a market for refurbished and rebuilt electronic gadgets. Where a market exists, entrepreneurs will move in to serve it. To do that, they need product to sell, which they get by buying unwanted electronic gadgets.

RE•PC has recycled thousands of tons of computer material since opening for business in 1994. The firm buys, sells repairs and accepts for recycling a wide selection of computers, monitors, printers, parts, cables, software, accessories and peripherals. RE•PC buys and sells in its retail stores and also online at www.repc.com.

Other firms primarily buy unwanted electronic products through online stores. One such is www.gazelle.com, which is owned by Second Rotation Inc. If the electronic products and gadgets it buys are still in working condition, the company extends their lives by removing all personal data from them, and selling them through a variety of retail and wholesale outlets. Items without market value are recycled responsibly.

Two others are www.myboneyard.com and www.techforward.com. MyBoneYard recycles some film cameras and lenses, in addition to a wide range of electronic products. It even sends prepaid shipping labels for products it will accept via e-mail. TechForward gives customers the flexibility to upgrade their computers and electronics more affordably, easily and responsibly. Its Guaranteed Buyback program takes the uncertainty out of upgrading by guaranteeing future trade-in values for devices at the time of sale, by making the trade-in process easy, and by reusing or recycling returned devices.

More online companies offering to buy unwanted electronic products can be found on the Internet, as well as comments-both pro and con-by numerous satisfied and dissatisfied bloggers. The nature of this activity suggests prudence and common sense but, with that caveat, it looks like having your cake and eating it too-recycling responsibly plus adding a bit of cash to your wallet.