Old Computers

Do you have an old computer?  Here are a few tips on what you can do to keep it out of the landfill.

I recycle old computers I have, or receive from friends.  Here are some of the opertunities I look into.

Hand it down to your kids.

  • All kids want a computer.  Passing the computer to the kids gives them their own computer for playing gsmes and having fun.  This also helps to keep your computer more stable and secure by reducing the number of users and installed software.  Most fo the older games you can find at rummage sales will still run on these computers.

Hand it up to your parents.

  • Your parents always want to keep in touch with you and your kids.  You can help them by giving them your old computer.  Just set them up with internet access and email.  You can also look into voice and video chat software and services to help reduce your phone bill.

Pass it on to other family and friends.

  • Find out if anyone else in your family, or of any of your friends has a need (as listed above) for a computer.

Donate it to non-profit organizations.

  • Most non-profit organizations have a need for computers.  They use computers to keep track of activities, members, donations, expenses, etc..  These organizations have limited budgets, and in some cases, they may need to sacrifice services to get that computer they need.  These organizations are more than happy to receive computers as donations.  They can also provide a thank you letter that can be used at the end of the year for tax deduction. 
  • Thrift stores, like Goodwill and St. Vincent de Paul, may not be willing to take computer donations because they don't want to be involved with security issues caused by personal information many people leave on their computers.  Check with them before bringing in the computer.

Sell it via the newspaper, rummage sale or online.

  • There are many families that would like to have a computer, but they cannot afford to purchase a new computer.  They scour the newspapers and rummage sales for a good deal.

Recycle it.

  • Ckeck with the local city, village or county clerk's office to see where you can drop off a computer for recycling.  Most of the time, you will have to pay a fee to get rid of a computer via this method.

Other notes:

  • Condition: Any computer you pass off to someone else, or donate, should be complete with the computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and they should be functional. The components listed above are the minimum number of  components needed to use the computer.  This is a must for any of the above except for the computer recyclers.  Add-on components like speakers, printers, scanners, modems, etc... are not always necessary to start with, but they can always be purchased later.
  • Personal data.  Deleting the files on your computer does not erase the information on your hard drive.  Use software like WipeIt to securely erase all data on the hard drive (including the operating system).  Erasing your data, with this method, is the safest way to keep your private information secure from prying eyes.
  • Operating System: If you can find the CD for the operating system that was installed on the computer when you got it, install it.  If you cannot find the CD, look at installing a Linux operating system.  This operating system is free to obtain install and use, and does not require any registration.  Many Linux distributions come with games and office applications already installed.  You forst have to download the CD image, which is anywhere from 150-700MB in size, and burin it to a CD.  If you don't want to wait for a long download, or you don't have a CD burner, you can purchase a CD for a couple of bucks at FrozenTech or LinuxCD.