With levels of computer ownership at an all time high in the developed world, and expected to continue to grow, the amount of waste electronics that we are producing is rising significantly. I only have to look at the number of desktops and laptops that I have owned, and subsequently thrown away, to realise the obvious extent of this problem. Individuals and small businesses often face the problem of working out what they should do with their surplus computers and computer equipment, often they cannot be disposed of in the same way as household waste or general office waste.
Donate Your Old Computers To Charity
Consider donating your old computers to charity rather than throwing them away, there are thousands of charities out there desperate for equipment!
There is however a perfectly viable alternative to throwing away a working computer, and that is simply donating it to one of the many charities who take them in order to help raise funds; if you are like me you would prefer for any working good to find a new home before choosing to landfill it then finding a charity is a no-brainer. Below I will talk you through your options for donation, but firstly I must point out the absolute necessity of wiping your hard drive before donating. I should also note that gifting to a friend, relative, or employee who needs a computer may be an easier way of seeing that your hardware gets a new home.
Donate Computers - UK
If planning on donating a computer in the UK, but only have a small quantity of items, then I can recommend visiting the website donateapc.org.uk where small businesses and individuals can list their available items. The list is intended to be for the benefit of UK charities, not-for-profit organisations, and education institutions. Collection or delivery of the items is to be arranged by the Donor and beneficiary rather than the website itself, which only provides the online platform. If you do choose to donate this way then it is probably wise that you state that you have a condition for collection only or for the beneficiary to meet the costs of delivery. As well as computers it is also possible to list other hardware items, such as printers and monitors, but it is not intended for the listing of software.
If you have multiple items to recycle then it is wiser for you to use a specialised collection service, these can be run by private businesses or charities and you should always expect them to collect your equipment for free. They will then either donate them to their chosen charitable cause or refurbish them and sell them at low cost to educational institutes and not-for-profit organisations. When selecting a collection service, you should always look closely at their commitments and operational practices to ensure that your computers are being put to good use. The website itforcharities.co.uk has a great list of reputable collectors from around the UK, some of which collect nationwide, this list can be found here.
Donating Computers - USA
The Computer Recycling Center will pick up any laptop for free, or any collection of 10 or more desktops, before distributing many of them to charities or social enterprises for free. Recycles Org offer a listing service for those who wish to donate, and non-profits who wish to recieve free computers and hardware, although the recipient and the provider must work out shipping themselves - I suggest offering your computers for free pick up to suitable local non-profit organisations.