- 75% of the fossil fuels and energy used by a computer are actually consumed during manufacturing. Extending the computer’s lifespan through reuse means more return on that initial environmental cost.
- Every computer dumped into a landfill represents a missed opportunity to provide technology and tools to individuals and organizations across the digital divide.
- Even if a computer cannot be reused, recycling ensures that valuable raw materials are recovered from used computers and that any waste is disposed of in an environmentally sound fashion.
When deciding whether to donate your used, but still useful equipment, consider these tips:
- Determine if your old computer can be reused. The lifespan of a PC can vary depending on lots of factors, including how often it is used and what it is used for. But I’d say the typical lifespan of current PCs is approximately three to five years. So if your computer is five years old or less, chances are someone else could put it to good use.
- Donate Newer Equipment to a Reburbisher. Instead of donating directly to a school or charity, it is usually a better idea to donate newer equipment to a refurbisher. They can make sure the PC or printer or mobile device runs well and is using legal software. Refurbishers tend to pass on equipment that is ready to use to those who need it - many times at little or no cost.
- Recycle Older or Broken Equipment or Hardware. Most equipment that is older than five years old or that no longer works should be disposed of responsibly. Consider sending your electronic devices to a computer recycler. They salvage useful parts of your equipment before breaking down the rest and can safely remove any hazardous material. Check out Earth911 for a drop-off location in your area, or better yet let Kardon Technology help you recycle your old equipment. Twice a year, in the spring and the fall, Kardon Technology carries used equipment to the Decatur Recycle Center.
- Remember to Include any Accessories. When donating a computer try to include such things as the keyboard, mouse, printer, software, and any documentation that came with your equipment. These can almost always be used by the next owner, plus it’s always nice to have a complete system.
- Clear your Computer of Personal Information and Data. These days it doesn’t take much for someone to recover deleted data from your PC. Putting files in the Trash and emptying the trash can does NOT permanently delete the files. It can still be recovered. The best way to wipe your data from your PC is to use special software such as Disk Book And Nuke or WipeDrive. You can find dozens of similar programs on the web and they all are work pretty much they same way. These programs typically overwrite your whole disk with random data several times and therefore preventing the bad guys from reconstructing your files.
- Maintain a List of What You Donate. With tax season approaching, you are likely eligible for a deduction if you donate equipment to a nonprofit refurbisher or a recycler. You can request a tax receipt from refurbishers and recyclers. You can also determine the fair market value of you equipment by using an online evaluator tool like GadgetValue. This site provides fair market values for desktop computers, laptops, televisions, and even iPods.