What happens to all those corporate computers that get turfed every three years? Or yesterday’s gadgets that are piled high in your spare closet? If you’re green — and community-minded — there are some good programs for others to re-use your electronics, which reduces landfill waste and helps your neighbor.
Studies have shown that PCs kept longer than three or four years can actually be counterproductive for businesses from a financial standpoint. The extra cost of virus protection and loss of service due to breakdowns can outweigh the financial benefits of not buying a new computer.
And all the shiny new gadgets we buy and love? They often lose our affection within six to 18 months as shinier, newer gadgets are released. The new doodads are faster, smaller, with more storage, better cameras … and we want the latest and greatest.
But that’s not a reason to trash the old-but-good stuff. Or to let it die a slow, dusty, electronic death in a closet. A good alternative to dumping or hoarding is donation.
And there are a lot of options …
One is Reconnect, a partnership between Dell and Goodwill. Reconnect takes just about any kind of computer or gadget, and they’ll re-use what’s appropriate, and recycle what has no useful lifespan left. Contact your local Goodwill to see what they accept, but chances are they’ll take what you have.
For computers that have a good amount of commercial value left, consider eBay Giving Works, which is eBay for charity. You get to sell your old stuff on eBay, giving your gadgets a new home with someone who can use them, and donate the proceeds to charity. eBay allows you to donate between 10-100 percent of the selling price to charity … and will reduce selling fees by exactly the percentage you’re donating to charity.
Freecycle is another option for electronics — or anything you’re looking to de-clutter out of your home. It’s a nonprofit movement for giving unwanted items to people in your own community. Check the search engine to find groups near you who will accept your old gear.
Companies that wish to help others while responsibly replacing older technology would do well to follow the JPMorgan Chase model. JPMorgan has partnered with Good360 to donated refurbished technology to nonprofits and schools, supporting Good360′s mission is to help nonprofits with non-cash donations.
JPMorgan Chase has committed to providing 3,000 PCs over the next year alone, all of which will get new hard drives (good security practice and good for the new owners). And since 2009, the company has redeployed about 75,000 desktops, laptops, monitors, and printers.
That’s good for the environment, and good for those who are not as financially fortunate as others.
Image credit: Lasse Kristensen/ShutterStock