Ten Tips for Donating a Computer (TechSoup)

As more companies, organizations, and individuals find reasons to upgrade their computer equipment, the problem of disposing of old equipment grows.

There are three reasons why finding the appropriate way to discard old computer equipment is important:

According to the U.S. EPA, nearly 250 million computers will become obsolete in the next five years. In 2001, only 11 percent of personal computers retired in the U.S. were recycled.

Each computer dumped in a landfill is a missed opportunity to provide Information Age tools to people across the digital divide.

Out-of-date computer systems can be more of a burden than a blessing to schools and nonprofits, as it can cost them up to $400 to bring a pre-Pentium computer up to today’s standards. Donate computers to a recycler or refurbisher, rather than directly to these other groups.

  1. Determine if your old computer can be reused.
  2. Recycle old and broken PC equipment.
  3. Contact the refurbisher or recycler before donating.
  4. Remember the accessories.
  5. If possible, keep the operating system intact.
  6. Provide the original media and documentation.
  7. If you clean your computer of personal information yourself, it’s best to use some disk cleaning software to delete your Internet browser’s cache, cookies, history, your e-mail contacts and messages, your documents, your recycle or trash folder, and non-transferable software.
  8. Follow PC delivery instructions.
  9. Keep a list of what you donated for your records.
  10. Plan for future donations.