Best Ways to Get Rid of an Old Computer

Getting rid of an old or used computer is becoming common these days. Technology is progressing at such a rate that the traditional desktop computer is becoming obsolete after no more than 2 years. As a computer enthusiast, I am constantly upgrading one computer component after another and I often find my room littered with old computer parts, wondering to myself “what do I do with all this?” Well, I decided enough was enough and I found my options for getting rid of an old computer or recycling old computer parts. There are some options for the detritus.

Sure, your computer is old, and all of the computer companies are quick to remind you of that. But, there are some steps you should take before giving that over-sized paperweight (desktop or laptop) the old heave-ho:

Disposal of Computer Waste

It is illegal in several states to simply throw computer parts, or old computers, in the trash. The average color CRT monitor has about 4 pounds of lead in it (which makes sense considering the weight of those things). The rest of the computer is a buffet of heavy metals that can cause liver damage, kidney failure, cancer, and a host of different diseases that affect not only human beings but wildlife as well.

It is the duty of us techies, geeks, and nerds to properly recycle or dispose of our old computer parts.

Before Getting Rid of That Old PC

Padlocks on a cdBackup your data and wipe your old hard drive clean.Data protection is a big deal, and if you don’t wipe your hard drive correctly it is possible that the next person to use your computer could have access to valuable information like credit card numbers and bank accounts. Social Security numbers and tax information is increasingly found due to programs like TurboTax on the computer too. Wipe it! If you need help with this step, you can check out programs like the Altertech Hard Drive Eraser from Amazon.

Old computer cablesSome old computer parts can be salvaged. Take your computer to a certified professional before throwing it in the garbage, because some of the technology in your computer (like your hard drive and memory) might still be useable in your new computer.

Peroxide, q-tips, and cleaning suppliesClean your old computer before you get rid of it. Dust that sucker off, wipe the monitor, and clean your keyboard and mouse. Rubbing alcohol is the preferred cleaning solvent because it evaporates quickly without harming any sensitive equipment. Make sure it’s unplugged while you do this.

dollar bill and coinsGet in-store credit for your old computer. Some local computer stores will offer you in-store credit as an alternative to disposing of, recycling, or selling your computer online. It’s a good idea to visit each privately owned computer retailer/service center to get the best possible offer.

Shipping label on cardboard boxOld computer donations are a great way to get rid of an old computer. There are plenty of organizations that are willing to take your computer off your hands if you don’t feel like taking the time to sell it. Donating your computer is a good idea because it will end up in someone’s hands would not be able to afford such a luxury-and it’s tax deductible.

Recycling an Old Computer

If you absolutely must get rid of your old computer and you don’t want to go the way of computer donation, then recyling your computer is the next alternative. Why recycle your computer? Because computer parts aren’t exactly biodegradable. In other words, burying your old computer in your backyard or throwing it on a bonfire are not viable options. Computer monitors and circuit boards have toxic chemicals inside of them, and it’ll take millions of years to break down the plastics your computer is made of.

So, how do I recycle my old computer? you might ask. That’s a good question. If you bought your old computer from a vendor that still exists, you might want to call their customer service and ask if they provide computer recycling services. Otherwise, there are plenty of computer recycling services online that are willing to recycle your computer for a modest fee.

Best Alternative Uses for Old Computers

Computer Donation:Donating your computer really is the best way to make use of it if no one in your home is going to be using it. Rather than let it sit in your garage gathering dust, donate that computer to a respected charity and get a big tax deduction at the same time!

File Servers are an interesting use for an old computer. If you know what you’re doing, why not turn that old computer into a network server? Most used computers still have enough power to run a simple file server that can be used to share files with other people living in your home or working at a business. A game server hosting your favorite online game is always a possibility, if you don’t want to sell your old computer.

Build a Computer for someone you know (or someone you don’t know) with the parts from your old PC. Not only is building a computer a fun thing to do, but this gives you the perfect opportunity to do that over-the-top overclocking you’ve always wanted to do to that old AMD or Intel processor. In fact, a good heatsink is something like this Cooler Master unit from Amazon.

Sure, you might have to go in on a couple of cheap new parts (like a decent heatsink), but if it stays stable the future recipient of your frankenputer will be that much more impressed with your PC building skills.