When people get a new computer, often their old computer ends up going to the landfill. That’s a shame because there are a lot of options out there which will keep the computer out of the landfill and bring it new life. This, in turn, can put a few extra dollars back in your pocket by way of sale or with a tax deduction. Even when you don’t get any money in return, you’re doing the right thing by giving your PC new life rather than place it in a landfill.
There are a large number of charities in both the US and Europe that are interested in your old computer. While most of them aren’t interested in computers older than 5 years old, most charities are very interested in computers that are less than 5 years old. There are a number of them that take these computers, refurbish them and give them to charities or other organizations that are in need of them:
Give Your Computer To Charity: While you won’t get any money for donating your computer to charity, if the charity is a registered charity, you will be able to claim a tax deduction for your donation. You need to consult with each charity to see if you will qualify for this tax deduction when making a donation to them.
Another Byte is a service project aimed at area businesses, residents, schools, and nonprofit organizations interested in recycling and reusing computers. The website serves as a regional and nationwide exchange board directly connecting those wishing to dispose of computers and nonprofit organizations that are in need of them. The service is free and simple to use, making it easy to keep good technology out of the waste stream by putting it back into productivity.
Share the Technology is a free public-service database to help computer equipment donors connect with nonprofit organizations and individuals with disabilities seeking donations. It’s been in operation since 1996.
World Computer Exchange is an international educational nonprofit focused on helping the world’s poorest youth to bridge the disturbing global divides in information, technology and understanding. They give new life to your donated computers by helping poor youth in Africa, Asia, and Latin America gain access to the Internet. There is also a Canadian division that now has charitable status.
National Cristina Foundation is a computer technology and solutions organization to give people with disabilities, students at risk and economically disadvantaged persons the opportunity, through training, to lead more independent and productive lives. In addition to computers, they also accept software and peripherals.
Computers for Youth is a program with the mission to close the learning gap between low-income children and their more affluent peers by improving the home learning environment. They only accept donations of 50 or more computers at a time from businesses.
Literacy 4 Kids: is a San Francisco Bay Area program to help place computers in high schools. It provides donated computers, hardware, and software directly to the youth and uses donated money entirely to purchase computer-related items needed by the youths. No member, including the Board of Directors, is allowed to take any salary.
Youth For Technology: (PDF Format) helps young people achieve goals through technology. It’s a non-profit organization registered as a charity in the United States and in Nigeria. Their specific needs change, but are currently in need of 3 laptop computers.
DonateAPC (United Kingdom) is a service for individuals and organisations to donate computer hardware (computers, printers, etc) to UK charities, not-for-profit organisations and educational establishments.
Computers for Charities (United Kingdom) is a registered charity that offers IT support to charities and volunteer organizations. They refurbish some computer hardware for reuse at these institutions.
Other Options Rather Than The Landfill
Inner City School: If you have an older computer that still works, but isn’t a version that charities will accept, consider donating it to an inner city school. Due to extremely limited budgets, inner city schools will usually accept any computer as long as it is in working condition and it would of course be a hugely valuable tool for any school that could get it. You would need to contact schools in your area directly.
Craig’s List: This free service is an excellent place to dispose of a computer. There are plenty of people who would love to have an older computer that is still in working condition and it should be not problem finding someone to take it if it is offered for free. If you have a newer computer, you can probably sell it for a bit.
Freecycle is another community where it is relatively easy to get rid of any computer hardware or software.
eBay: Even if your computer is rather old, you may find someone willing to pay for it on eBay. Many people have older computers themselves and can use the parts for their own computer. If it is a newer version, it should sell rather easily in this platform.
Leave It Outside: If you live in a large city, all you may have to do is leave it outside with a “Free” sign on it. In many places your computer will be claimed by someone within a couple of hours without the hassle of having to arrange meeting times or other logistics.
Recycle Your Computer: There are a wide variety of companies that recycle computers. While this keeps them out of landfills, there is usually a cost associated with disposing your computer this way.
Keep these other alternatives in mind before simply dumping your old computer into a landfill. Not only will using one of the above methods make the planet a bit greener, in many cases the computer you no longer need will become a valuable asset to someone else who will greatly appreciate the opportunity to use it.