Donating Your Old Computer
If your computer or laptop is in working condition, you should consider donating to a worthy cause close to your heart. A donation can be even better than recycling because the more extended use we can get out of an object, the better, it can still be recycled later after doing some good for people in need. Below is a shortlist of just a few well-known organizations that accept computer donations, you can also check with a shelter or charitable organization in your area.
Computers With Causes will repair or refurbish your old computer equipment if it financially makes sense. Your donation is wholly tax-deductible.
World Computer Exchange this is an international organization tied to over 450 partner organizations worldwide. They do have some criteria to meet to accept your donation.
Goodwill Organizations collects, repairs, and then sells donated computers, and they also accept monitors. More substantial donations from businesses can arrange for pickup from Goodwill.
National Cristina Foundation this is a wonderful organization that matches your or your businesss old computer equipment with a vetted charity organization focused on providing technology to underprivileged populations.
Backup All Your Useful Data
If you still have useful data on your computers, then its a good idea to create a backup on an external hard drive or online cloud storage account. You can also use software applications like Comodo, Syncback and Hinusoft to automate the process so that you dont waste any extra time on it. You should definitely backup files that fall into the following categories:
This includes any records concerning your organization, like employee information, tax filings, financial statements and memos as well as legal filings and documents.
This includes your clients bio data, contact information, medical records, financial details and every other piece of information that they have entrusted to you.
If you use a desktop email client like Windows live mail or Opera mail, you have to backup your emails otherwise, you will lose them when you wipe the computer.
Chargers And Wires Can Be Recycled Too
If you’re like my husband and you keep boxes upon boxes of wires, chargers and cables in the basement , it might be time to let them go. You can search Capital Scrap Metal or InvestmentMine to see whether wires you’ve got lying around might be worth something. For example, as of April 2020, copper is going for $2.35 per pound, according to InvestmentMine.
You also can drop off your cables at Best Buy, Staples and other locations. Chargers can be repurposed, too. Sometimes if a cord stops working with one device, you might be able to make it work with another. Thrifty!
Otherwise, look into donating your old cables, cords, chargers and wires at local science, technology, engineering and mathematics school programs, Google STEM, the National Center for Electronics Recycling or Earth911.
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Whether You Repurpose It Rehome It Or Recycle It That Dusty Old Computer In Your Closet May Still Be Surprisingly Valuable
- University of Georgia
It is possible to recycle a computer, and due to the environmental dangers of electronic waste, that is usually the best way to get rid of one. Yet while you can delete files on your computer by clicking and dragging, disposing of the computer itself tends to be a little more complicated.
As with other electronic devices, there are a few ways to recycle an old computer. If it still works, recycling might not even be necessarymore recent computers could have resale or trade-in value, for example, and some older machines can still make good gifts or donations.
If your computer doesnt work, resist the temptation to throw it away with household trash. Computers contain heavy metals and other dangerous materials, which is why e-waste is regulated and even banned from landfills in some places. On the other hand, the mix of pollutants and personal data can make it seem easier to just hoard old computers, but that creates clutter and keeps the computers eventual fate in limbo, potentially long enough to reduce its viability for reuse or recycling.
Computer And Laptop Recycling Faqs
What is computer recycling?
How do I dispose of laptops safely?
- legalities around the protection of confidential information, and
- preservation of the environment.
Secure disposal of e-Waste is a legal requirement: The Australian Privacy Act and GDPR laws mandate the protection of personal information, which means that the onus is on a business to ensure that any data contained in e-Waste items, is securely destroyed.
Appropriate, safe disposal of e-Waste is environmentally ethical: The physical disposal of any e-Waste should take place in an environmentally sustainable manner. Electronic items which are simply discarded in general waste, end up in landfill where they can leak harmful toxins and chemicals into the soil and water, with devastating effects on local communities and wildlife.
What do I do with an old laptop or computer?
Australian and international laws govern businesses to ensure the protection of confidential information, therefore data-holding devices such as computers and laptops should be disposed of safely with all confidential data, professionally and securely removed.
Furthermore, as of 1 July 2019 the Victorian Government banned all e-Waste from going into landfill, with other States potentially following suit, due to the detrimental effects e-Waste has on the local environment.
How are computers and laptops recycled?
For more information about our e-Waste destruction and recycling services,dont hesitate to call us on or contact us online.
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What To Do With Old Computers And Laptops That Still Work
Sometimes youll have a need for greater speed or capacity and get a new laptop or computer before your old one actually stops working. You also might also clean out an elderly parent’s house and come across a functional but non-used computer.
Here are some ways to get rid of functional laptops and computers and put them to good use.
Back Up Your Information
Before you get rid of your old computer, think about what important information you want to save. Do you have photos, videos, or important documents you want to save? How much storage space will you need to save that information?
Knowing what you want to save and how much space youll need will help you choose the best solution. Here are some options for saving or backing up your information.
Transfer your files to your new computer. If you bought a new computer, you can transfer information from your old computer to the new one. Most operating system manufacturers have support articles that tell you how to do this.
Save your files to an external storage device. A USB flash drive is an affordable option that offers a moderate amount of storage. Another option is an external hard drive. It might cost a little more than a USB drive, but it can give you more storage capacity and transfer data faster. You can decide which files or folders to back up, and you may be able to schedule automatic backups.
Save your files in the cloud. There are many cloud storage services that let you save files and data online. You may be familiar with some, like Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox, or iCloud, but there are many others out there. Many of these services come with some free storage space and you can pay for more storage.
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How To Donate Your Old Computer
Just because you’ve outgrown your equipment doesn’t mean someone else can’t use it. There are a handful of organisations that refurbish old computers for people experiencing disadvantages, who may not be able to afford technology that’s become an essential part of modern life.
You can’t just pop down to your local Vinnies or Salvos Store and drop off an old computer that needs work. However, you can get in touch with community groups that will handle the refurb and donate it to local organisations and charities. Recycling Near You can point you in the right direction.
Wipe Your Hard Drive And Recycle Your Laptop
As it is now increasingly evident unless there are pressing reasons to dispose of your computer through physical destructions, there are many environmental and security reasons for you to recycle your laptop. Donating or recycling has steadily picked up the pace. It is currently becoming a popular way of getting rid of unused electronics, sometimes resulting in a profit or just a way of mitigating your costs to upgrade to a new, more powerful model. However, formatting your device wont be enough for you to be sure you can peacefully part ways with your old laptop, as skilled cybercriminals could still easily access your personal data: banking details, credit card information, you name it. The potential loss is amplified if you are looking to dispose of tens or hundreds of work or business computers. To safely erase all your traces from your laptop, you need to choose a dedicated software that will safely wipe the hard drive for you so that it becomes impossible to retrieve.
Many free tools fit the purpose however, if you have sensitive data and are disposing of your assets in bulk, you should consider professional data wiping and sanitisation or secure computer disposal to safeguard your or your companys data. Data are wiped using state-of-the-art software with proved effectiveness, and the procedure is controlled and standardised. After the wipe is complete, a check to ensure no piece of data remains retrievable.
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Why Do We Need To Wipe A Computer Before Recycling It
You may wonder, whats the point of wiping the computer first, especially if its just going to be taken apart? The truth is, as altruistic as we would like to believe all recycling workers might be, there are bound to be some folks who see the job of recycling old computers as a way to leverage their own position.
Information is power, after all, and a computers hard drive can have all sorts of sensitive information on it including your banking information, social security number, addresses, important documents, phone numbers, passwords, or personal photos. Its easy to avoid this, though. All you need to know is how to dispose of your equipment in the proper way. Luckily, were here to help.
Laptop Recycling Made Easy
Before you scrap your old computer, ask yourself whether it’s still usable. If it’s less than five years old, chances are someone else can put it to good use, according to TechSoup. Newer laptops can go to local nonprofits or libraries after being refurbished.
If the device is too old or out of shape to donate, you could recycle it. Again, Earth911 makes it easy: Just search for “laptop computer” and enter your ZIP code to find the nearest drop-off location. Dell’s Goodwill Reconnect Program also accepts old and broken hardware from any brand.
Make sure the program you’re leaving your old hardware with is reputable using the Environmental Protection Agency’s Certified Electronics Recyclers site, and feel free to reach out to the refurbisher or recycler to double-check.
Newer laptops make great donations. Just remember to wipe the drives first.
When you bring in the laptop, remember all the goodies that came with it: keyboard, mouse, printer, modem and any software. Usually, refurbishers can repackage all of this. Just remember to wipe your data first!
Additionally, donating your laptop could earn you a tax break. Keep track of what you’ve donated, just in case: You can learn more in the Sage BlueBook or Section 170 of the Federal Income Tax Code if you’re feeling particularly ambitious.
Best Buy also recycles laptops for free — with a limit of five per household per day.
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How Can I Learn More
Each week on the Intego Mac Podcast, Integos Mac security experts discuss the latest Apple news, security and privacy stories, and offer practical advice on getting the most out of your Apple devices. Be sure to follow the podcast to make sure you dont miss any episodes.
We discussed securely disposing a Mac and more in episode 163 of the Intego Mac Podcast.
You can also subscribe to our e-mail newsletter and keep an eye here on Mac Security Blog for the latest Apple security and privacy news. And dont forget to follow Intego on your favorite social media channels: , , , and .
Safely Dispose Of Your Computer
Youve saved your personal information and wiped your hard drive clean. Now youre ready to get rid of that computer. Most computers contain hazardous materials like heavy metals that can contaminate the earth and dont belong in a landfill. So what are your options? You can recycle or donate your computer.
Computer manufacturers, electronics stores, and other organizations have computer recycling or donation programs. Check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s Electronics Donation and Recycling page to learn about recycling or donating your computer.
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Things You Should Do To Securely Dispose Of Computers
The need for good security practices doesn’t go away just because a system has outlived its usefulness. These tips will help ensure that decommissioned equipment doesn’t pose a threat.
Even in the best of times, computers are rotated out of use and we have to figure out how we should dispose of them. In a recession economy, people get laid off, systems running software with high licensing costs are decommissioned, and system breakdowns lead to consolidation of functionality rather than repairs. This may increase the rate at which we dispose of computer equipment — and it can increase the expose us to security threats if we aren’t careful about how we do it. Take the following list of tips for secure equipment disposal to heart.
Note: This article originally appeared as an entry in our IT Security blog. It is also available as a .
Why Donate Or Recycle Electronics
Check out our Secret Life of a Smart Phone infographic.
Our Certified Electronics Recyclers page explains what it means to be a certified recycler.
Electronic products are made from valuable resources and materials, including metals, plastics, and glass, all of which require energy to mine and manufacture. Donating or recycling consumer electronics conserves our natural resources and avoids air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by manufacturing virgin materials.
- Recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 US homes in a year.
- For every million cell phones we recycle, 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.
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Are Keyboards And Other Accessories Recyclable Too
Aside from monitors and hardware, many accessories are accepted for recycling along with computers themselves. Drop-off sites and mail-in programs may accept keyboards, mice, cables, speakers, modems, and routers, among other items, but reach out first to confirm. And even if your computer is dead, you might want to evaluate accessories separately, since they could still be useful to you or someone else with no need for recycling.
How To Wipe A Mac:
Wiping a Mac is honestly a lot less complicated than you might believe. Though, you may need to save all keychains, passwords, account keys, and what have you to a flash drive before wiping. This will also keep track of random WiFi passwords and online retailers youve used for years. Restart your computer and as soon as startup begins, by holding down Shift + Option + Command + R until the Apple logo appears. This combination of keys will reinstall the operating system that came with your Mac.
The Utilities window should pop up in the middle of your screen. Open Disk Utility and erase your built-in hard disk. After that, elect MacOS Extended format and quit Disk Utility when the process ends. Youll need to navigate back to the Utilities menu afterward so that you can reinstall the original operating system. Do this by choosing Reinstall MacOS or OSX within the Utilities menu.
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How To Dispose Of A Laptop Or Pc: Freecycle It
If youre feeling generous, or you dont think your old laptop or PC is worth much, you can give away a working computer to someone who would benefit from it. You might know someone, but if not, sign up to your local Freecycle group. Freecycle isnt the only organisation which facilitates recycling though. You could try Freegle, Gumtree, or the official government site www.recyclenow.com
Simply advertise your laptop or PC and youll quickly get responses from individuals willing to take it off your hands, right from your front door.
How To Dispose Of A Laptop Or Pc: Personal Data
There could be a terrifying amount of sensitive personal data stored on your laptop or PCs hard drive. Passwords, bank account numbers, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and a whole lot more including browsing histories, bookmarks and photos.
As long as you control access to your PC while you’re still using it, this is fine. It’s when you decide to dispose of it that it can become a real worry. In fact, dumping old PCs and hard disks is a data-security nightmare.
Fortunately its easy to delete your data. Just dont make the mistake of thinking that emptying the Windows Recycle Bin will do the job. It wont. Also, a quick format of your hard disk wont remove the data.
What you need is a dedicated secure erase program, such as Eraser.
You could alternatively remove the hard drive from the laptop or PC and physically destroy it, but this means you cant sell or give away your computer in a working state.
It’s worth fishing out the original restore discs that came with your laptop and using them to return the PC to the state it came out of the factory. This may be on a hidden hard disk partition. You’ll find more information in our How to factory reset a laptop guide.
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