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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Technology changes quickly. That computer that was cutting edge just a few years ago may already be obsolete. It seems like such a waste to just toss it in the trash and add to a landfill. 

License: Creative Commons

There are plenty of other options available, though, including recycling. Rather than just sending the computer to a chop shop that mines it for precious metals and components, consider these three ways to make a difference in the world:

Donate the Computer to an Organization
Resale shops run by groups like the Salvation Army or the Society of St. Vincent de Paul will always accept working computers. However, there are plenty of organizations that might be able to make use of a computer that is only moderately out of date. Libraries, police departments, schools, churches, and homeless shelters may be able to use that older computer. Not only would it be a great way to help out a worthy organization, donating a computer can also be tax deductible.

Auction it on an Online Auction Site and Donate the Proceeds
While it might seem like a computer is finished and of no value, there are many users from around the world that might think there is still a lot of life left in it. Online auction sites like eBay are filled with older tech products that manage to sell for respectable prices.
If there are no organizations nearby that have a need for an old computer, it is still possible to help them out by selling it in an online auction and donating the proceeds. This way, the computer still gets some use by somebody, and a worthy charity benefits from the sale. If eBay or other online auction sites seem to confusing, there is also the option to list the computer on a simpler site like Craigslist.

Contact a Charity that Has a Computer Recycling Program
If organizations nearby don't want the computer and selling it online seems like a hassle, there are a number of charitable organizations that have specific programs to pick up and use or sell old computers. Donation Town is a charity that partners with groups like Habitat for Humanity and The Hope Foundation. They will pick up the old computer and put it to good use or use the proceeds to help out the needy.

Other groups, such as The Make-A-Wish Foundation and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence have specific programs to make use of computer donations. Donation procedures vary, so it is important to contact them to get the necessary information. Choosing a well known charity with a computer recycling program offers a lot of peace of mind that something good is going to come from that old computer.

Whatever decision is made, keep in mind that an old computer is almost never worthless. There are usually components or metals that are valuable to somebody somewhere. Tossing it in the trash wastes an opportunity to support a meaningful organization and potentially improve the local community. Check into the options listed above, and see if there is a way to make a difference from something that might be passed off as 'junk'.

Author Bio:
Jeremy H. Long works as a software developer who turned his love for computers into a career and is a contributing writer at BestComputerScienceSchools.net.

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