What to Do with Old Computers?

Dusty Old Desktop Computer

When it comes to old computers, many people are unsure of what to do with them. Some may simply throw them away, but this can harm the environment. Others may keep them stored away, taking up valuable space in their homes. In this article, I will provide some suggestions on what to do with your old computers.

One option is to donate your old computer to a non-profit organization. Many charities and schools are in need of computers, and your donation could make a big difference. Another option is recycling your old computer. There are many companies that specialize in computer recycling and will properly dispose of your computer in an environmentally friendly way. If you have the time, you could simply sell your old computer. While it may not be worth much, you could still make some money and give your computer a second life with someone who needs it.

Reasons to Recycle Old Computers

There are many reasons to recycle old computers instead of giving it away.

Environmental Impact

As someone who cares about the environment, I believe that recycling old computers is the responsible thing to do. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Electronic waste is a growing problem – According to the United Nations, electronic waste is the fastest-growing waste stream in the world. By recycling your old computer, you can help to reduce the amount of electronic waste that ends up in landfills.

  • Computers contain hazardous materials – Computers contain a variety of hazardous materials, including lead, mercury, and cadmium. If these materials are not disposed of properly, they can harm the environment and pose a risk to human health.

  • Recycling conserves natural resources – When you recycle your old computer, the materials can be reused to make new products. This helps to conserve natural resources and reduces the need to mine or extract new raw materials.

  • Recycling reduces energy consumption – It takes a lot of energy to manufacture new products from raw materials. By recycling your old computer, you can help to reduce the amount of energy needed to produce new products.

Overall, recycling old computers is an easy and effective way to reduce your environmental impact and help to protect the planet.

How to Recycle Old Computers

If you have an old computer that you no longer use, it’s important to dispose of it properly. Here are a few ways to recycle your old computer:

Donate to Schools or Nonprofits

One way to recycle your old computer is to donate it to a school or nonprofit organization. Many schools and nonprofits are in need of computers, and your old ones could be put to good use. Before donating, make sure to erase all personal data from the computer and check with the organization to see if they have any specific requirements.

Sell or Trade In

Another option is to sell or trade in your old computer. Many electronics retailers offer trade-in programs, and there are also websites where you can sell your old computer. Before selling or trading in, make sure to erase all personal data from the computer and check the value of your computer to ensure you’re getting a fair price.

Recycling Centers

If your computer is beyond repair or cannot be donated or sold, the last option is to recycle it. Many cities have recycling centers that accept electronics, including computers. Check with your local recycling center to see if they accept computers and what their requirements are for recycling.

Remember, it’s important to properly dispose of your old computer to protect the environment and prevent identity theft. By donating, selling, or recycling your old computer, you can help reduce electronic waste and ensure that your personal data is secure.

Repurposing Old Computers

If you have an old computer that you no longer use, consider giving it a new life by repurposing it. Here are a couple of ideas that might inspire you.

Home Server

One great way to repurpose an old computer is to turn it into a home server. A home server can be used for a variety of purposes, such as:

  • Storing and sharing files with other devices on your network

  • Running a media server to stream music and movies to your TV or other devices

  • Hosting a website or blog

  • Running a game server for multiplayer games

To turn your old computer into a home server, you will need to install server software, such as FreeNAS or Ubuntu Server. You may also need to upgrade the hardware, such as adding more RAM or storage space, depending on your needs.

Backup Drive

Another way to repurpose an old computer is to turn it into a backup drive. This is a great way to keep your important files and documents safe and secure.

To turn your old computer into a backup drive, you will need to install backup software, such as CrashPlan or Backblaze. You may also need to add more storage space to the computer, depending on how much data you need to back up.

Overall, repurposing an old computer can be a fun and rewarding project. Not only will it give your old computer a new purpose, but it can also save you money and help reduce electronic waste.

Dealing with Data Before Disposal

It is always best to back up the data and then wipe the data.

Data Backup

Before disposing of an old computer, it is important to ensure that all important data is backed up. This can be done by transferring files to an external hard drive, cloud storage, or by burning data onto a CD or DVD.

When backing up data, it is important to ensure that all files are transferred and that they can be accessed from the new device. It is also a good idea to label the backup device with the date and contents of the backup to make it easier to find later.

Data Wiping

Once all important data has been backed up, it is important to wipe the hard drive of the old computer. This will prevent any personal or sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands.

There are a few ways to wipe a hard drive, including using software designed for this purpose, formatting the drive, or physically destroying the drive. It is important to choose a method that is appropriate for the level of sensitivity of the information on the drive.

If using software to wipe the drive, it is important to ensure that it is reputable and that it meets industry standards for data wiping. It is also important to follow the instructions carefully to ensure that all data is properly erased.

Overall, ensuring that all data is backed up and wiped from an old computer is an important step in the disposal process. By taking these precautions, you can help protect your personal information and prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.


I’ve covered several ways to repurpose or dispose of used computers. By following these tips, you can both reduce clutter in your home and do your part to protect the environment. First, consider donating your old computer to a local charity or school. This is a great way to give back to your community and help those in need. You can sell your old computer online or at a garage sale.

If your old computer is no longer functional, don’t just throw it away. Take it to a local electronics recycling center. These centers will safely dispose of your used computer. And finally, if you’re feeling creative, consider repurposing your old computer into something new such as a media center or a home automation center.

Remember, disposing of old computers can have a big impact on the environment. By following these tips, you can do your part to reduce waste and protect our planet.

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