If you’re like most people, you’re probably on your 3rd or 4th computer. Most people have old electronics whether monitors, CPUs, telephones, televisions and the like sitting in the corners of your house or apartment or in the basement collecting dust. Despite the age and uselessness of old equipment, there seems to be a general reluctance to just toss obsolete tech in the garbage. In the back of your mind, you think about the money spent purchasing those old gadgets as well as the altruistic thought that someone else could use it.
Sales of personal computers numbered over 400 million in 2011 and sales of smartphones were even greater at 488 million according to industry sources. So there’s a lot of older equipment out there. But you really can’t just throw passé tech toys out with the regular trash. Computer hardware contains hazardous materials like lead, nickel and mercury that require special handling to protect the environment. Computer hard drives contain a treasure trove of personal information which needs to be removed to safeguard your identity before disposing of them. To safely dispose of old technology, you must either donate it or recycle it. You can also make a little money from selling them.
Donate your old computer if it is less than five years old and in working condition. Contact schools and non-profit organizations in your areas to find out if they accept computer donations. When donating, backup the hard drive to retain your personal data and then erase the hard drive. You can install a program that will erase your hard drive deleting files, internet history, cookies and the like. Find free hard drive erasing software online. You can also just physically remove the hard drive if so inclined and you’ve got a few tech skills. However, if donating, it’s nice to include any original software and documentation you may still have on the unit.
You can donate old televisions and telephones to non-profits like The Goodwill and Salvation Army. Check with your local non-profit to see what they will and will not accept for electronic donations.
If you don’t want the tax write-off from making a donation of your old electronics, then just recycle it. There is an Electronics Recycling Directory
that lists authorized local facilities for technology recycling. Also, a number of large electronic retailers such as Best Buy will take your old computers, televisions and the like and safely dispose of them. Check out this video of how an old computer is recycled.
You can also sell your old electronics. Companies like Gazelle
will buy your old electronics for cash. Gazelle accepts products like Blu-Ray Players, calculators, camcorders, camera lenses, cell phones, desktops, digital cameras, e-readers, external hard drives, gaming consoles, GPS devices, home audio, laptops, LCD monitors, movies, MP3 Players, PDAs, projectors, satellite radios, streaming media, and video games. Gazelle give you an estimated price to buy your old electronic item, sends ship packaging and then sends you a check. These used electronics end up on Ebay or Amazon and are resold. If truly unusable, they are sent to a U.S. recycling center for disposal.
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