To stay up-to-date with new technologies, people buy new computers every 3 to 4 years. The pandemic forced millions of people around the world to buy new computers. The preliminary result from the International Data Corp shows computer sales exceeded 302 million in 2020, a 13% increase from 2019.
But what happens to your old computers? Do you have one (or more) lying around, taking up storage space, collecting dust somewhere? If you want to get rid of it, what is the best way? Let’s explore the different ways to responsibly dispose of your old computer and help declutter your home.
Some Facts About Waste
It all adds up to this - Do Not Throw any kind of computer in the trash. It will end up in landfills or get incinerated which is very harmful for living beings and the planet. So, what can you do?
Computers in working condition can be donated, usually if they are less than 5 years old (sometimes more, sometimes less, so always check first). Even if it needs an upgrade, your old computer can be put to use.
Where to Donate
You can find the nearest donation centers at DonateGoodstuff.org.
Donation centers like PCs for People and Tech Dump repair and refurbish old computers and distribute them to neighbors who need them, along with providing other helpful services. What they can't re-use, they responsibly recycle.
These organizations hold NAID AAA and R2 certificates, which certifies them in data destruction and electronic recycling; helping protect you and the environment. You can visit their website to understand their services.
Before you Donate
Make sure to delete your personal data, following these steps:
Following these steps will make sure your personal data can’t be used by anyone else.
If you’re not ready to part ways with your old computer, there are good reasons to refurbish. It is less expensive to upgrade a computer than buy a new one. Just as importantly, there are environmental reasons to make your old computer new again. Manufacturing a new computer emits 227 to 270 kilograms (or 500 to 594 pounds) of carbon dioxide. Extending the lifespan by updating your old computer, will help the initial environmental cost incurred.
You can choose to update your computer yourself or take it to a local repair store to get minor things fixed or updated. You can then either use it yourself or put it on Facebook market, eBay, Craigslist or other online platforms to sell or donate. Make sure to backup and delete any personal data before you do.
There are actually some innovative ideas for repurposing that you might not have thought of. Here are some very useful alternatives.
Convert your old computer to a smart home security. Instead of connecting the cameras to the cloud, connect it to your locally hosted computer. The benefits are two-fold - You save on monthly subscription fees and also reduce privacy concerns related to cloud-based home security.
Use your old computer in unexpected areas for entertainment. Place it in the kitchen, garden, garage or even bathroom. Set it up to have online access to help find recipes, music tracks or podcasts. Now, you can have fun while doing your chores. Plus, because it is old, you don’t have to worry about it breaking.
If you are certain that your computer is broken and is beyond repair, then it should be safely disposed of by taking it to the nearest recycling drop-off location in your area. Websites like earth911, call2recycle and greenergadgets helps you to find your nearest recycling location. These certified recycling companies will be able to sustainably dispose of the unusable computer, keeping our environment clean.
It may not be the first option you think of with electronics, but with a dash of creativity, you can also find new ways to use your old computer.
Create a keychain, penholder, clock using keyboard keys, a necklace using small computer parts, clipboard made of circuit boards…the possibilities are endless. Need some inspiration? Explore pinterst or spiceworks for more ideas.
Make a responsible decision
The next time you are decluttering and looking to dispose of an old computer, make sure to do so in a responsible and sustainable way. Your effort to keep computers out of landfills impacts the environment and the planet and helps to conserve resources and natural materials. Read more about the The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and their work with manufacturers and retailers to recycle electronics.
Author: Shreena Tuladhar
Shreena always wanted to give back to the community and believes writing to inform is one of the ways.
Donate Good Stuff exists to help you find the best home for your donation items and we recognize it's just part of the challenge of having too much stuff. How do you declutter what you have, reduce the amount of stuff you bring into your home, and continue to move toward sustainable and environmentally kind living? We can help with that, too. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or subscribe to our newsletter for regular tips and creative ideas for managing your stuff, reducing waste, sustainable living, and being part of a connected community.
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