If you plan on throwing any old computer technology out in the trash, you should consider donating it to a worthy cause. This will help you get more mileage from your purchase, and you can feel good knowing that it is being put to good use somewhere else, not just rotting in some dump.
From recycling ink cartridges to upgrading your own tech, there are many different organizations that are willing to take laptop donations and either recycle them or put them to work in places like low-income schools in third-world countries.
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Where to Donate Old Laptops
The World Computer Exchange
The World Computer Exchange is partnered with a whopping 945 groups worldwide, from Africa to Asia and even the Middle East.
This organization will only take working computers but are not fussy about how up-to-date they are. They also take other types of office technology like monitors or printers.
Head over to their website, and you can arrange an easy collection from their nearest branch to you and know that your donation could be someone worse off than yourself.
Computers With Causes
Computers with Causes allow for offices to donate old computers in a completely tax-deductible manner. The computers are then refurbished and given to families in need around the United States, usually for a child who cannot afford a computer in college or at home.
Tech Soup is another non-profit organization. They work with other charities around the world, supplying electronics and tech to other charities in need. They allow for donations of 50 computers or more via their refurb program. If you are looking to donate less than this, you should look at the others listed in this article.
Earth 911 is a free directory for finding donation sites and recycling plants that you can take your old computers, TVs, printers, or monitors. They also have a wide range of other recycling initiatives that you can search through.
Their site allows you to find local groups by entering your zip code.
This initiative is a non-profit group but does not offer tax receipts for donations. The Freecycle Network has a free online platform that allows people to offer their old items for free collection online.
You can list anything on Freecycle, from sofas to cars, fridges to desktop computers. It is a great way to recycle your old goods.
Goodwill collects any old technology that you have lying around and then repairs or refurbishes them before selling it. The program allows for large-scale donations of tech goods from offices and even picks up empty printer cartridges.
Related: Should You Buy A Refurbished Laptop?
You might have to find a local branch for small donations, but for larger donations, they will arrange for a collection from your location.
How Do I Wipe My Old Laptop for Donations?
If you are planning on donating a used laptop, you will need and want to wipe all of the data from it before sending it on. This is the only way you can ensure your security. If you do not do this, hackers could get into your information if the laptop falls into the wrong hands. These are the steps you should follow in order to wipe your laptop of all data.
The first step is to make a backup of any files that you want to keep. This can be anything like your digitally stored photos to important business documents. To do this, simply plug in a USB drive or portable SSD and copy all of the files you want onto the device. You could also use an online backup if you have cloud storage.
Next, you need to head to the start menu and find your settings tab. From this tab, head to Security and click on the recovery button.
Once you have clicked on the recovery button, you should be able to restore your computer back to its factory default settings.
It will ask you if you want to keep your files and clean the drive, but you need to click on the option that says "just remove my files."
Once you click to accept, your computer will begin purging itself of all your data. This may take a few hours, but when you come back, your computer should be completely erased of any data you have put on it since you bought it.
Related: Repairing Vs Replacing A Laptop
Wiping a Mac
If you are donating an Apple Mac, then you will use a different process.
Hold the command button down and the R key at the same time. This will open the Disk Utility menu. From here, you need to look for the Erase tab. When you click on this, your Mac will begin a purge.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Does Best Buy take old laptops?
Yes, Best Buy offers a free recycling service for old technology, broken or working.
Do laptop refurbishers accept donations?
You will have to get in touch with the specific company, sometimes refurbishers accept laptop donations, and sometimes they won't. It will depend upon their criteria and how busy they are.
Are laptop donations tax-deductible?
Certain non-profit organizations will allow you to donate laptops to charity for a tax deduction. This will depend upon their criteria, so the best thing to do is get in touch with your local organization and ask the question. Often you will get a tax receipt with your donation.
Donating your old technology is a great way to help the environment, as well as individuals who could really benefit from technology. Education is becoming more and more reliant on computers and technology, and those that cannot afford it are at a disadvantage.
By donating old or new laptops, you will be helping them with their education, so you should feel good about a job well done.
Andrew White is the founder of TechGearoid, a leading technology review & information website that is designed to help consumers make better decisions when it comes to their IT purchases. As a specialist tech writer (nerd) with over 10 years of experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern technology & the newest market innovations. When he isn’t providing value for his readers, he’s usually drinking coffee or at the beach. Andrew lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and family.