Guest written by Julian Mills
It’s the new year! Did you make a resolution to clear out the clutter and get rid of that computer from 10 years ago that’s just taking up space in your closet? Before you decide to take it to the dump, here are a few options to actually *recycle* that old computer!
Computer electronics recycling is one of the most important things you can do in order to help the environment. You may not realize it, but electronic waste (e-waste) is the fastest-growing type of industrial garbage on Earth. It has been estimated that millions of tons of e-waste are created every year, and this is expected to rise as technology advances.
However, recycling computer electronics is not always an easy task. You have to consider where you will drop it off, how much time you are willing to invest in the process, and whether or not your electronics contain any personal information that should be removed before recycling them.
If this sounds like something right up your alley, here are five places you can reach out for computer electronics recycling:
1) Public Recycling Centers
Many recycling centers will accept almost any kind of electronic equipment as long as they can find someone to reuse or refurbish the item and make a profit from doing so. These places typically offer pick-up services for those who cannot drop off their own personal e-waste but charge fees depending on what you want to be recycled.Some recycling centers offer free pick-up services if your items are discarded in the appropriate manner (which typically means without any cords or batteries still attached). Others may charge a fee to come and take care of it for you but will do so with no questions asked about where, when, how, or who brought them there! Keep this fact in mind because some places will refuse certain types of electronic equipment depending on its condition which is why it’s always best to call ahead before heading out the door.
2) Private Recyclers
If you don’t find a public recycling center in your area, you can always check locally for a private recycler that’s willing to buy or take your computer electronics for recycling. These places tend to have different policies about what they will and won’t be interested in purchasing. Therefore, always call ahead before stopping by! In addition, most of them do require proof of purchase. Therefore, make sure you have receipts ready before visiting them.
3) Retail Store Programs
Some of the biggest electronic retail stores such as Best Buy and Staples have programs in place to recycle old electronics. Here at Goodwill of Colorado, we offer our Dell Reconnect Program. They typically accept almost anything with a cord or battery, including items like printers and cell phones. They also offer recycling services for car batteries, CFL light bulbs (energy-efficient fluorescent lights), rechargeable batteries, mobile devices like laptops and tablets.What makes these programs great is that they are free and relatively easy to use.If you bring your items into one of these stores, a representative will usually be on hand to help you with the process. They may ask for some information from the devices themselves such as make or model number which allows them to ensure they can recycle it properly. In addition, most retail store programs do not require any paperwork, identification cards, or proof of purchase in order to drop off an item. However, keep in mind that these types of programs typically have limits on what they accept so researching beforehand is always a good idea if there’s something specific you want to be recycled.To find out what they will take in your area, you can contact the store nearest to you or visit their website. Many of these stores have dedicated staff members who are ready to answer all of your questions about recycling computer electronics. Just be sure to bring any old electronic gadgets that might contain sensitive information with you when dropping it off at one of their locations so that this information can be properly destroyed before being sent away for reuse or disposal.
4) Community Drop Off Centers
These centers are usually found in cities and towns across the country that either pay others to do it (such as Goodwill) or provide free space where people can take their own personal wires and broken equipment (like libraries). Either way, these places typically ask for volunteers who would like to help out with the process which is always great if you want something to do.
Thanks to a longstanding collaboration with their friends at Dell™, Goodwill of Colorado has a safe, easy and environmentally responsible way to recycle residential computer equipment through the Dell Reconnect program!
Supporting this program is safe and easy. Simply take your unwanted computer and components—any brand, in any condition—to your local Goodwill of Colorado Donation Center. Your tax-deductible donation will help Coloradans achieve independence and help the environment! Fun Fact: Goodwill of Colorado has diverted more than 400 tons of e-waste from local landfills because of this program!
Even though these places don’t pay or reimburse you for your items, they are perfect if you want to recycle computer electronics without spending any money and time yourself. And since it usually does not require identification cards or proof of purchase, community drop-off centers make things easy for those looking for the best ways to recycle their e-waste.
5) Online Recyclers
There are countless places online that allow you to sell your computer electronics for cash without doing any of the work yourself. This is especially convenient if you know what items might be worth some money and want an easier way than trying to recycle them through other programs on your own. Just keep in mind that there will often be fees associated with each purchase which means it’s best if possible to try multiple sites before giving up on getting rid of something! Plus, just like recycling centers, some e-waste buyers ask questions about where, when, how, or who brought their equipment so always double-check first before handing over personal information.
Wherever You Go…
Whether you choose one of these options or another like donating computer electronics directly to someone else, keep in mind that all computer electronics can be refurbished and reused by someone else at little to no cost to you if the right precautions are taken. So before throwing anything into an old desk drawer or just dumping it off at a landfill, take time out of your day to find the best ways for recycling computer electronics in order to save Mother Nature!
About Julian Mills
Night owl, adventurist, and day time content writer. What you need to know about me is that I live and breathe writing. Shoot me a topic, and I’ll write for you. Follow me on Twitter here.