Let’s say you’re old portable computer is slowing down a bit, and you’re just about to buy a new one. As a result, you’re probably wondering what to do with old laptops. Even if your old machine doesn’t pack the punch it used to, it’s still an impressive machine and its portable frame makes it adaptable to a variety of different uses. So, you have plenty of options to when it comes to an old laptop. Here are some simple steps to follow:
DON’T THROW IT OUT!
I repeat, don’t throw it out! Sure, this isn’t a really a step to follow, but more of a public service announcement instead. First of all, it’s illegal to trash old electronics in some states, including Illinois. In addition, there are countless ways to use the technology that went into that old machine, so simply throwing out a laptop is a giant waste! To figure out what to do instead, all you have to do is…
Decide: Donate, Reuse, or Recycle?
Since there are so many ways to put an old laptop to good use, you need to decide what to do with your computer before you can move forward. Here are three options to consider:
- Donate – Donating is the best way to help your laptop find a good home, especially if it has a few more years of service left in it. What if your computer isn’t in best working condition? Well, if you don’t have the tech expertise to repurpose your old machine, donating it to an organization that can is a great option. If you live in Chicago, you can use Zealous Good to donate your laptop to a Chicago charity in need. You can also turn to FreeGeek which provides free recycled computers and trainings to the underserved communities. If you don’t live in Chicago, you can find a nearby organization to donate to by looking into Computers with Causes, the National Christina
- Reuse – If your laptop’s time is about up, but you are a technological genius, this article lists ten ways to reuse a laptop. It offers many imaginative ways to give your laptop a second life, from converting it to a digital picture frame to using it as a wireless bridge.
- Recycle – Finally, if your computer is no longer serviceable and too old to reuse, you can recycle it in a variety of ways. The National Center for Electronics Recycling will recycle your old computer for you, and you can also reference the Environmental Protection Agency to find out where to recycle.
Finally, if you’re sending your laptop to a new home, be sure to wipe it down before you do. That refers to both the exterior and the hard drive of the computer. For the sake of the next owner, make sure you clean the screen and keyboard, but more importantly, it’s important that you protect your personal information by clearing your hard drive. This move may also improve the speed of your laptop for its next user. Simply deleting a file won’t truly get rid of it, so instead look into a program that will permanently delete your files for you.
If you’re wondering what to do with old laptops, we hope these resources help you give your machine a second life, potentially by putting it in the hands of someone in need. If you know of additional resources for donating or recycling computers, please mention them in the comments section below!
Kevin Binder is a 2013 summer marketing intern at Zealous Good, an in-kind donations marketplace in Chicago. You can find him on Google+ or find Zealous Good on Facebook or on Twitter at @ZealousGood.