With technology changing as quickly as it does today, many computers from just a year or two ago have already become obsolete. When you finally decide it's time to ditch that old desktop and giant monitor for a sleek new laptop (or even just a newer, nicer desktop), you're faced with the task of discarding your old computer. While the easiest thing to do might be to put your old computer out on the curb for the garbage man, that's not environmentally friendly (or legal in many locations!) and most garbage services won't take discarded equipment anymore for just that reason.
When it comes to recycling your computer you have a few different options that should not require too much effort on your part. Here are some options:
- Send your computer back to a manufacturer for computer equipment recycling. If you have recently purchased a new computer, you may be able to send your old computer back to a manufacturer. Many computer manufacturers, including Apple, HP and Dell, offer programs that allow you to mail your old computer to them for free, which they will then recycle, if you have recently purchased one of their products. Being able to recycle old computers directly through the manufacturer is one of the easiest ways, especially if they foot the bill for shipping.
Even if you have not recently purchased a computer, you may still be able to send your old computer back to a manufacturer. However, it could cost you some money. For example, Dell offers a program that allows you to send them your computer after selecting a $10 or $20 computer recycling kit. HP requests that you provide them with information about your computer, your location, etc. and will then send you a quote. Some manufacturers may require you to pay for shipping and handling, but the fees are typically reasonable.
- Take your old computers to a nearby recycling center. Chances are that there is a computer recycling center or program in your area. Visit the Consumer Education Initiative to find computer recycling centers near you. These recycling centers will typically take more than just computers too, so if you have any other electronics that you'd like to get rid of, check to see if you can recycle them at your computer recycling center as well.
- Donate your computer to a charity. The ultimate way to recycle your computer or used PC, if it's still working, is to donate it to a local charity or school. Then you know that through recycling old computers, someone will be re-using your computers, instead of just its parts and/or materials. Donating your working computer can make a big difference in someone's life.
The National Cristina Foundation, for example, maintains a list of non-profit groups, schools and public agencies throughout the US that are in need of used computer equipment. NCF donates the used computers it receives to "organizations [that] train people with disabilities, students at risk and economically disadvantaged persons to lead more independent and productive lives."
Here is list of other charities that accept donations of used computers that are still in good, working condition: UsedComputer.com.
When you recycle computers, you are showing that you are environmentally responsible. Although recycling computers is not as easy as putting chucking it in the bin, you can feel proud that you were able to put your computer recycling good deeds to use, particularly if you are donating a used computer to someone who otherwise would not own one.