How to recycle a computer

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How to recycle a computer

Why computer recycling matters

What’s the solution?

Where can you recycle old computers?

Take a trip to a recycling center

The following sites can help you find where you can recycle old computers, monitors and other hardware:

  • Earth911: This free and convenient online directory lists thousands of donation sites and recycling centers across North America that accept a full range of electronics including desktops, laptops, tablets, phones, and printers. Search by city, state, and zip code and Earth911 will show you where you can send or drop off e-waste.
  • Check with local retailers: Many retail stores that sell electronics like Best Buy provide customers with ways to recycle their older electronics.

Donate your goods

Here are some better alternatives to simply throwing away your old tech:

  • World Computer Exchange: This organization donates computers, funds, and time to a range of global nonprofits, supporting schools and libraries in need. The World Computer Exchange aims to help those in developing countries improve tech literacy, education, and overall Internet savvy. You can donate computers to a chapter near you or mail in your donation.
  • TechSoup: A nonprofit organization offering free and affordable software, computers, and other equipment to tax-exempt nonprofits, TechSoup does a lot of work with larger businesses. Individuals can donate equipment, too. Donated computers are repaired and then sent to aid organizations and nonprofits around the world.
  • Computers with Causes: This organization repairs, refurbishes, and prepares donated computers for families and educational organizations in need across the U.S. In addition to accepting computers, they will take used printers, gaming consoles, tablets, and business servers.

Security comes first

Recycling printers and IT assets


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How to recycle a computer

When it comes to recycling laptops, even one makes a big difference — recycling one million laptops saves enough energy to power 3,500 U.S. homes for an entire year, according to the EPA. Plus, the inside of your computer contains valuable metals like gold, silver and platinum that can be recovered and reused. The easiest way to make sure your computer is properly recycled is to take it to a local retailer with a computer recycling program. To find one near you, check out our Recycling Locator at the bottom of this page. Before recycling your computer, here are a few preparation steps:

  1. Remove all data from your computer to prevent identity theft. You may want to back up important files on an external hard drive.
  2. Unplug the computer peripherals (keyboard, speakers, etc.) from your desktop or laptop. You can likely recycle these parts as well using the same company where you take the machine, but consider reusing them or donating them since they won’t need a software upgrade to work on a new computer.
  3. For a laptop, flip it over and see if you can remove the battery. Many laptops use lithium-ion batteries, which require special transportation for recycling, so this is especially important if using a manufacturer mail-back program.

Frequent Computer Recycling Questions

Can I recycle computers in my curbside recycling program?

It’s highly unlikely that your curbside recycling program accepts computers, even if it collects “scrap metal.” Computers are bulky and made up of multiple materials, so you’ll definitely want to check before putting them in the recycling bin. If your area offers bulky waste recycling, computers may be accepted, but it’s a good idea to verify that they’ll be responsibly recycled.

What are the computer recycling certifications I should be asking about?

The two most common computer recycling certifications for North American recyclers are the Basel Action Network’s (BAN) e-Stewards and Sustainable Electronics Recycling International’s (SERI) R2 Standard. BAN has been certifying recyclers since 2006 to ensure that no electronics are exported overseas. R2 (originally R2 Solutions) has been around since 2008, and focuses more on certifying the recycling process and data destruction. There are hundreds of computer recyclers that aren’t e-Stewards or R2 certified, but if you’re wanting to recycle with one of these certified companies, you can find a directory of them at and

Do any retailers offer computer recycling?

Yes. Staples has been recycling computers since 2007, and Best Buy followed suit in 2008. Both stores accept desktops and laptops, as well as components like keyboards, mice and speakers. They don’t accept software, though.

What should I do before recycling computers?

You definitely want to remove any personal data from your computers before recycling. For laptops, you should also remove the battery (if it can be removed) prior to recycling because there are special transportation requirements for lithium-ion batteries. The recycler may need to use a separate process to recycle these.

Should I try to upgrade my computer instead of recycle?

Upgrading or repairing your technology is definitely an eco-friendly option, but it’s not always available. If you have a PC running Windows Vista (or earlier), you will have a difficult time upgrading to the newer software, and your old software is no longer supported. This means you either need to recycle the old computer, or visit a computer repair business and ask for your motherboard to be upgraded so you can run the newest software. It’s usually cheaper to buy a new computer and recycle the old one.

Is throwing away my computer against the law?

As of 2017, 25 (or half) of U.S. states require you to recycle some forms of electronics. Of those, 17 have banned them from landfills. While in many cases the laws cover only computer monitors (including laptops), the good news is that every time a new law is passed, recycling becomes that much easier for residents in that state. You’ll likely find your city or county offers computer recycling events at least once a year (usually around Earth Day on April 22).

What should I do if I have a large number of computers to recycle?

When you have one computer to recycle, a retailer or mail-back program may be most ideal. But if you have numerous machines, you should ask your office if it can plan a recycling drive. You can call an e-waste recycler to send a truck, promote the event to your neighboring businesses, and recycle all sorts of electronics at once. In many cases, the recycler will pick up your electronics at no charge if enough people participate.

Will the computer manufacturer offer a take-back recycling program?

Most computer manufacturers are now offering take-back recycling, either by partnering with retailers like Best Buy, Goodwill or Staples, or through a mail-in program. You’ll want to search your manufacturer’s website for details on its specific program. None of the retailers mentioned above exclude certain brands of computers, though.

Dec. 4 2020, Updated 1:27 p.m. ET

Keeping up with technological advancement can be something of an expensive and time-consuming process, and it’s not just about making sure to have the latest technology, either. There’s also the added headache of trying to get rid of your old devices. Computers are difficult enough to dispose of, without having to worry about someone grabbing them out of the trash and having access to all your sensitive, saved data. You also don’t always have to throw computers away at all! Like so many things, computers can be recycled, and we can tell you exactly how to wipe a computer before recycling it.

How to recycle a computer

How to wipe a computer before recycling it

Before you wipe anything, you should make sure to save any important data on a backup drive. External hard drives, USB jump drives, or even cloud storage will work, but you can always port it over to your new computer too. Thankfully, most modern computers make this fairly easy — it’s a lot of cutting and pasting, or sliding files into folders.

To wipe the computer, you need to delete all the data that remains on the hard drive. This is not as simple as dragging all files to the recycle bin and deleting cookies, however, as several data recovery programs exist that can retrieve deleted data. Many can be found here.

The first step in this process is to manually delete files from the system. Shredding programs like File Shredder can overwrite the files and clean up the drive. It is recommended that files are shredded and overwritten several times to make them harder to retrieve. Data can be found on several drives within the machine, so each drive must be prepared in a different way.

Once you have completed the sometimes lengthy process of moving, deleting, and shredding your files, the next step is to format the computer. This means you restore the computer to factory settings. The process for doing this is different for a Windows PC, a Mac, and a Chromebook, of course, but all have fairly easy steps, even if you’re a novice.

How to recycle a computer

How to wipe a Windows PC:

According to Consumer Reports, it’s important to back up your files and save the serial numbers for Office Suite and other software using an app like ProduKey. These are essential for reinstalling the applications on a new PC.

As far as formatting the system, all Windows versions have different procedures, but Windows 10 is a good place to start. Simply go to the Start Menu and click on Settings. Navigate to Update & Security, and look for the recovery menu. From there you just select Reset this PC and follow the instructions from there. It may ask you to erase data either “quickly” or “thoroughly” — we suggest taking the time to do the latter.

How to wipe a Chromebook:

Chromebooks are a lot easier than laptops because many of the files and apps you’re already using have their data stored on the cloud, on Google Drive. Getting the Chromebook to factory reset involves clicking on your account photo and opening the Settings menu. Scroll down to the Advanced section and look for the Powerwash section and icon. The process prompts a restart, during which all your personal information will be erased in its entirety.

How to wipe a Mac:

Wiping a Mac is honestly a lot less complicated than you might believe. Though, you may need to save all keychains, passwords, account keys, and what have you to a flash drive before wiping. This will also keep track of random WiFi passwords and online retailers you’ve used for years. Restart your computer and as soon as startup begins, by holding down Shift + Option + Command + R until the Apple logo appears. This combination of keys will reinstall the operating system that came with your Mac.

by Lydia Keith | Nov 1, 2020

Computers have become an essential part of life today. No matter what niche you work in, there is a high chance you interact with computers and own one as well. At the same time, everyone knows the technology advancements every passing day, offering improved features by the minute.

So what happens when you want to get rid of a computer? The first option that comes into mind is just throwing it away. While this may seem like an easy way out, there are many environmental and monetary consequences attached to it.

You may be surprised to hear that the concept of recycling applies to computers as well! Instead of throwing away a used computer, you can now recycle it and save the environment while making some easy money at the same time.

The protocols of recycling computers may differ from business to business, but the fundamental process of recycling a computer stays the same.

4 Step Computer Recycling Process

Step 1: Computer Evaluation

In any recycling process, the first step is to evaluate the condition of the material inside a computer. A computer consists of hundreds of tiny electrical components, and it is highly likely that if a new one replaces the improper working component, the computer will be up and running.

On the other hand, if all the components of a computer are exhausted, it is approved for recycling. In such cases, data is completely removed from the computers.

Step 2: Removing Hazardous Material

When making a computer, many different kinds of metals and chemical liquids are used. The whole process of computer recycling is kept safe by removing all hazardous materials in the beginning. Some metallic contents such as silver and lead used inside the computer are reusable.

By disassembling the computer piece by piece, the maximum number of components is extracted safely.

Step 3: Material Sorting

This step is very straight forward. After disassembling everything, the materials are sorted out. For example, all the plastic contents are placed together. Lead contents are piled up together, and so on.

Step 4: Shredding

There are giant machines present in several different industrial areas that perform the shredding process. Shredding of each material is performed as per the rules and regulations of that region.

Computer Recycling Business

Over the last decade, computer recycling business has flourished because electronic gadgets are disposed-off on a regular basis. There are many options out there for people when looking for a computer recycling business.

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

This is an official web-portal which serves as a digital phonebook for all the computer recycling business located in the Minnesota region. All of these are registered with the state implying that they follow all the rules and regulations of safe computer recycling.

Contact any of the vendors on this portal and gain your desired computer recycling services within no time!

Recycling Association of Minnesota

Recycling Association of Minnesota is an organization which is very keen on raising awareness about E-waste recycling. Anyone can find multiple sources on their website about the importance of it and how little by little every recycling step can turn the world into a safer space for everyone. Their efficient team can guide you to either destroy or resell (after a few fixes) the computer as per its condition.

Benefits of Recycling E-waste

There are numerous benefits attached to recycling e-waste. The materials used in hundreds of computers, when combined, can generate power and electricity for thousands of homes. Just this fact alone is sufficient to convince people for recycling e-waste, but the following benefits can be kept in mind when deciding to recycle e-waste.

  • The material such as chemicals and metallic parts, used in the computers is hard to produce. By reusing the material to develop computers, material demand is reduced, thus minimizing their production and eventually lowering the industrial pollution from the environment.
  • By opening different places for recycling a computer, opportunities are provided to the people. Jobs increase in the market that helps the economy of a state.
  • If people give their laptops for recycling or reuse, after a few parts replacement, other people who are unable to afford new and latest computers get access to computers.

What can be made from electronic waste?

Once different material from the electronic waste is collected and separated, there are hundreds of places where it can be reused. Some of the most amazing examples of electronic wastes are discussed below:


Trust me, it is quite shocking to find that jewelry is made from electronic waste. But it is no myth and holds a lot of truth to it! Electronic devices are made of silver and gold and in some cases even platinum. By extracting it from the devices, beautiful jewelry ornaments are created.


There is a lot of plastic present in every computer. After collecting and refining it, a lot of chairs, desks, and even swings are created from the same plastic.


There are many circuits in a computer. Each circuit is connected by one wire or another. By separately collecting each of the copper, zinc, and other metal wirings, new wires are created which are then reused in electric wiring of a house.

Other Electronic Gadgets

Plastic is used in almost every electronic gadget out there. Plastic which comes from different computers is easily applied on different corners of television sets, fans, air conditioners, and many more.

Final Verdict

Recycling a computer is not only important but is also mandatory. If a computer is dumped without any care, thousands of its components go to waste despite having a lot of long-lasting potential in them! Through recycling e-waste pollution can be controlled which is one of the most worrisome phenomena on Earth today. As a responsible person, e-waste must be recycled so that Earth is preserved for the coming generations.

Recycling Services

We offer recycling solutions for a broad range of electronic and computer-related products.

How to recycle a computer

With Apple and other computer giants releasing new technology every year and devices quickly becoming obsolete, consumers and businesses are needing to purchase newer and newer tech more often. But what do we do with our outdated technology? Oftentimes, they sit in our junk drawers or take up space in our closet or landfills, but there’s a better way of getting rid of old computers. Here’s how to recycle a computer.

Whether they’re laptops or desktops, something that many of us use every day are computers.

After a few years, our computers tend to slow down, making it difficult to be quick and efficient, especially if we’re using them for work.

So when it’s time for a new computer the questions arise, “How do you throw away a computer? How do you recycle a computer?” With the need for recycling growing, it’s time to think about how to recycle old devices.

Figuring out how to throw away a computer may be difficult and frustrating, but figuring out how to recycle a computer may be even more daunting. This is especially true if you’re a business owner and have hundreds or thousands of computers.

But with an experienced electronics recycling firm like Great Lakes Electronics , computer recycling and disposal is a breeze.

It doesn’t matter if you’re recycling one computer or thousands, you no longer have to wonder how to properly dispose of a computer because we do it all for you. With our data sanitation services , we scrub your computer to clear all of your personal information so that it stays secure.

Personal Computer Disposal

How to recycle a computer

If you have a computer, whether it’s a desktop or laptop, or any computer-related items such as circuit boards, accessories, and charging cords, Great Lakes Electronics recycles and disposes of it all for you.

Through a careful demanufacturing process, we take your old computer and break it down into its various components. Anything containing data or other sensitive information is destroyed and all of the reusable components are recycled. We disassemble electronics into component parts for reuse or metal recovery. With our zero-landfill policy, nothing gets thrown away.

One of the more nerve-wracking aspects of computer disposal is ensuring that you’ve deleted all of your personal information, especially if you’ve had your computer for a long time. Over the years we tend to save our passwords, banking, and debit card information, logins, and more on our computers and it’s important that it all gets deleted in order to protect that information.

At Great Lakes Electronics, we protect your computer data in accordance with top industry standards, such as medical industry standards . That includes the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act , passed by Congress to set privacy rules for individual health information.

With data sanitation, we ensure data security and eliminate the risk of data theft, so all you need to worry about is where you’re going to buy your new computer.

Business Computer Disposal

How to recycle a computer

It can be hard to figure out how to dispose of computers, especially if, as an office manager, you have a lot of them. Don’t let those old electronics sit in storage collecting dust, bring them to Great Lakes Electronics.

With our Asset Management service , it’s even possible for your business to regain some of your initial investment and put some money towards your new equipment.

  • Computers
  • Laptops
  • Servers
  • Network equipment
  • Phones

Bring them to us and we’ll recycle them in an environmentally friendly way and scrub all of the data from the computer hard drives.

If you have no way of bringing your devices to us, we will send our fully insured team of removal specialists directly to you.

We will bring all the tools needed to palletize, remove, and transport your equipment; we also provide a nationwide pickup service, so if your organization has branches, we can accommodate them and pick up their devices as well.

Once your equipment arrives at one of our facilities, it will be inventoried, and all company identification and/or sensitive information will be removed and destroyed with our data security and destruction service . We offer multiple levels of data sanitization and destruction from DOD level wiping to physical destruction.

We also issue Certificates of Recycling and Data Destruction so you can be sure your information is gone for good.

Computer Recycling

Whether you have one computer or thousands that are out of date and are currently taking up space and collecting dust, contact Great Lakes Electronics today.

If your company wants to extract some value from your old equipment, ask us about our hardware Asset Management service which provides you with the opportunity to offset the cost of new office electronics by recycling those that are no longer in use.

We dispose of your computer in an environmentally friendly way because we care about the environment. We help you reduce your carbon footprint and give you the peace of mind that every part of your waste is being disposed of or reused responsibly.

And that’s how to recycle a computer.

To find out more contact us or call us at 888-392-7831 .

Have you ever wondered what happens to your computer when it’s recycled?

Tossing your old computer in the trash may help to reduce clutter, but can be problematic for a number of reasons, such as filling up landfills and risking data breaches. This doesn’t mean you have to use your computer as a super-sized paperweight, though. You are right if you think your old computer isn’t worth much, but the magic of recycling is that when you combine hundreds of components that are not worth much on their own, you can create something valuable enough to live a second or even third life.

You may already know that recycling is the best (and most responsible) way to dispose of your old computer equipment. What you may not know is how it works and the interesting uses for the materials that come from recycling your old computer.

Nearly every part of your computer can be recycled, including glass, plastic, metal, and circuit board components. For example, your computer’s circuit board contains silver and copper, and the microprocessor is laced with gold. This isn’t just to make your circuit board look pretty. These metals are good at conducting electrical signals, and also happen to be in relatively short supply world-wide. When computers are recycled, these metals are sent to a plant to be extracted, processed and refined, and then used again in new applications.

The amount of metal in a single computer is tiny, paper-thin, difficult to extract, and not of much value. But if you are able to recycle hundreds or thousands of computers at a time, and set up an efficient and safe process for automating the extraction of these metals, then it starts to make sense economically to combine and reuse these metals.

What Actually Happens to Your Old Computer When it’s Recycled

First, the outer casings are taken off, and the cables are unplugged. Microprocessors are removed. Just like they sound, microprocessors are very small, but don’t let their size fool you. They are actually the easiest computer part to recycle since the only metal contained in them is (a very small amount of) gold. A mix of hydrochloric acid and nitric acid is used to separate the gold from the ceramics. Hundreds at a time are dissolved in a large barrel. What remains is pure gold dust. The extracted gold is then melted into gold bullion. Pretty cool, huh?

How to recycle a computer

Other parts of the computer’s interior are harder to recycle since they contain a mix of metals, but the effort is still well worthwhile when you have hundreds of computers. The metal parts are stripped down and put into a furnace. They are melted into a liquid mix of gold, silver and copper, which is poured out, cooled, pressed, and then sliced into plates. Each plate is placed into a bath and given a positive charge. The plates are then exposed to a negatively-charged copper plate to attract the copper particles, which loosen from the mixed metal plate, leaving just silver and gold.

What Can Be Done with the Metals in Your Computer?

In the next step, the plate is run through another bath where a steel plate attracts the silver forming it into crystals. After the second bath, the plate contains nothing but gold. Gold plates can be melted down and shaped into different forms that have a variety of uses. For example, they can be pinched into smaller plates that will become dental crowns. What once carried information around a computer’s memory will shortly find a home in someone’s mouth.

Gold plates can also be used to make “gold salt”, which adds a little “seasoning” in the computer manufacturing process. Seriously, though, gold salt really is used in the manufacturing of computers. To create gold salt crystals from gold plates, they have to use cyanide, which is highly poisonous. The engineer makes sure that the container is sealed very tightly during the process. This salt may not be so good for fish and chips, but it is excellent for computer chips. A bucket of gold salt has a value of almost $60,000. The number of computers needed to make one bucket of gold salt, though, probably numbers in the thousands.

Other uses for gold plates include gold rods treated in the furnace. They’re compressed and twisted into a coil, which is then transformed into fine wire used in computer’s circuitry.

Another industry that has a huge demand for gold is the space industry. Satellites and vehicles such as the space shuttle use gold in their engines. Everyone knows gold is a precious metal, but who would have thought that it would have so many industrial uses?

Reusing reclaimed gold and other precious metals means there is less mining that has to be done. Recycling is also less costly than mining, therefore having a positive effect on the economy, as well the environment.

Companies that replace computers frequently – such as hospitals, universities, and insurance companies – have an even greater responsibility than individuals to ensure their computers are recycled appropriately. For this reason, many environmentally-conscience companies develop long-term relationships with trustworthy recycling companies that can responsibly manage large-volume drop-offs on a regular basis.

Companies that deal with confidential or proprietary data need to be especially careful to choose a recycling partner that can assure their data is kept secure, and then completely wiped from existence during the recycling process, while also ensuring all the reusable parts of their computers are put to optimal use.

Mayer Alloys Corporation is an R2 compliant provider in partnership with OmniSource Electronic Recycling, an R2 Certified Recycler. Mayer will provide you with peace of mind that you are disposing of your organization’s electronic waste safely and responsibly. All electronic waste is recycled in an R2 Certified facility. All hard drives are destroyed and Certificates of Destruction in compliance with Department of Defense (DoD) security standards are provided. For more information about electronic recycling check out our Ultimate Guide To Corporate Electronic Recycling.

It’s time to ditch the old laptop. You need more power, hate the wretched battery life, or just want to take advantage of all the features of the newest operating system. Don’t trash it. That old laptop might be worth a few bucks. At the very least, it should be properly recycled. Caution: even if you plan on just recycling your old laptop, make sure to effectively wipe clean all your data. This is explained below.

I was tasked with getting rid of two reasonably capable laptops, though now starting to show their age: the Dell XPS 13 (non-touch version), sporting the capable but soon-to-be-replaced Windows 8.1, and the original MacBook Air. For both, the process was surprisingly easy — provided you follow a few simple steps.

Back Up

Cloud services are so prevalent these days that the process of backing up our files onto a physical hard drive now seems unnecessary. Wrong. It’s always a good idea to have a physical backup. You’re in luck. Backup drives are incredibly affordable these days, and most are plug-and-play. A 2TB Western Digital My Passport Ultra is just $85 on Amazon. Or, you can get a 1TB Toshiba drive from Best Buy for under $50. Just plug them into your laptop’s USB port and move your files.

Before you get rid of that old laptop, backup all your files.


This is the step that everyone seems to forget. Don’t. iTunes, Adobe Creative Suite and others place limits on how many devices you can run their service on. Make sure to de-authorize any services that place a limit on the number of computers your license supports.

For example, Adobe products typically allow for their software to be installed on two computers — home and office. To de-activate, open the program, click on Help > Deactivate > Deactivate Permanently.

iTunes is just as easy. Open up the application, click on Account > Deauthorize This Computer. Done.

Clean and Restore

You may be tempted to simply drag all your old files and folders into trash. Resist the temptation. Wipe that disk clean. Both the Windows 8.1 and Mac OS X include utilities that let you delete your files and restore the machine to its original state.

To Reset a Mac

As Apple notes, this will erase your hard drive and reinstall a copy of OS X, so do have a backup of your files.

1. Make sure the machine is plugged in and you are connected to the Internet.

2. Restart the Mac.

3. Hold down Command + R as it boots.

4. Select “Reinstall Mac OS X” from the menu that pops up.

To Reset a Windows 8.1 Laptop

If you have a laptop running Windows 7, the process of deleting files and restoring the machine to its original state can be tricky. Worse, it may vary slightly from vendor to vendor. Dell has a handy guide. If this is too intimidating, at the very least, make sure you use a utility of application that erases all your data. If you have Windows 8.1, as I do, the process is very straightforward.

1. Swipe down from the right edge of your touchpad to reveal Settings.

2. Click Change PC Settings.

3. Click Update And Recovery at the bottom of the list.

4. Click Recovery. You aren’t really trying to recover anything. Ignore Microsoft’s poor word choice. This reveals the “Remove everything and reinstall Windows” on the right side of the page.

5. Click Get Started because you want to remove everything.

6. Click Next when prompted to Reset Your PC.

7. Select “Just remove my files” if you plan to give the computer to someone you trust because that process is much faster. If you’re going to sell or recycle it, click “Fully clean the drive,” which takes a lot longer.

According to Microsoft, this process deletes all your files and settings. However, if you want to wipe your hard drive data to government standards, you might want to try Active KillDisk, and Softpedia DP Wipe. Both are free. For the Mac, Paragon’s Disk Wiper is free, and also in compliance with government erasure standards.

With your machine back to its original state, you can now list it on eBay or Craigslist. If those don’t suit you, there are several other options.

Amazon’s trade-in site is great for selling unwanted iPads, if you’re okay with receiving an Amazon gift card as payment. However, for most laptops it’s not a great option. While Amazon does offer meager sums for select Chromebooks, MacBooks and ThinkPads, most laptops are not eligible for trade-in.

Like Amazon, Apple has a trade-in program, even for select non-Apple laptops. They also only pay out in gift cards. Apple’s program is run by an affiliate site, PowerOn. I started with the Dell XPS 13. To check your laptop’s value, follow these steps.

1. Select Notebook.

2. Select Windows/PC.

3. Select the processor type. My Dell had an Intel Core i3 2.0-GHz processor.

4. Is it working or non-working?

The result? Only $20.

Seeking a better deal, I tried Dell’s Trade up Program. They sent me to a Microsoft site.

Microsoft asks if your device is a phone, laptop or tablet. I specified a Dell XPS that powers up and with the screen in good condition. Finally, I got my quote — a paltry $20. I think I’d rather just recycle it.


Recycle your old laptop. Don’t trash it. According to the EPA “recycling 1 million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 U.S. homes in a year.” Plus, discarded electronics harm the land, water and air. Recycling is simple. Microsoft maintains a list of local recycling facilities for drop-off. In addition, most Best Buys accept laptops for recycling.

A final reminder: Even if you recycle your laptop, be sure to clean your hard drive.

Donate Your Working or Non-Working Computer Equipment

Goodwill SCWI is proud to partner with the Dell Reconnect to responsibly recycle electronics any that cannot be resold through our stores.

What you can donate:

Any brand of working or non-working computer equipment and just about any item that can be connected to a computer, such as:

  • Monitors *If the glass is broken, please place the monitor in a cardboard box lined with a large plastic garbage bag, seal the box and clearly label it with “broken monitor” and the date
  • Computers (desktop or laptop) *See “Hard Drives” below
  • Hard drives (external or internal) *Please back up any valuable information and erase sensitive data from the hard drive before dropping it off
  • Keyboards (wired or wireless)
  • Mice (wired or wireless)
  • Printers (laser or inkjet)
  • Ink and toner cartridges (full or empty)
  • Speakers (with or without cables)
  • Cords and cables (including power cords and USB cables)
  • Scanners *If the glass is broken, please place the scanner in a cardboard box lined with a large plastic garbage bag, seal the box and clearly label it with “broken scanner” and the date
  • Software *Please include the license key

How you can donate:

Just drop your equipment off at any of our attended donation centers.

Are donations tax deductible?

Yes! If you itemize your tax deductions, you can deduct the value of your donated computer equipment. Goodwill Industries International offers a Valuation Guide to assist you in this process. For detailed information, please consult your accountant, attorney or an IRS office.