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March 23, 2018  |  Login
Getting Rid of Your Computer
By Yvonne Jeffery, Liz Barclay, Michael Grosvenor

If you're thinking about upgrading your computer system, either at home or at work, consider what to do about your old one. The EPA estimates that some 250 million computers will become obsolete in the next five years, which has the potential for a lot of waste. You do have options for reuse and recycling, however: Computers can be donated for reuse by facilities such as schools and charities, or if computers are too old to be useful, they can go to a responsible electronics recycler to break down their components for reuse, recycling, and safe disposal.

Computer refurbishers can upgrade or adapt your unwanted computer so that it can be donated to schools, community centers, and even initiatives in developing countries to enable more people to gain access to the benefits of the information age. To find a computer refurbisher or recycling program in your area, check Earth 911 (; in the Find a Recycling Center box at the top of the home page, enter "Computer" and then your zip code or city and state) or Tech Soup (; click Learning Center, then Hardware, and then Ten Tips for Donating a Computer). Some computer manufacturers have established computer recycling programs, and you can also take computers to Staples stores (, which participate in an electronics recycling program.

Whether you donate your computer for reuse or drop it off for recycling, make sure that you protect the personal information that may be on it. Computer-savvy criminals can access files that you've deleted, so use hard drive disk-cleaning software to properly erase your files. Also make sure that you deal with a reputable refurbisher or recycler with its own disk-cleaning procedures in place as well.



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