The cost of a new computer — even a decent used one — is out of the financial reach of many individuals and non-profit organizations. Next time you upgrade, why not pass on your old one to a worthy cause instead of letting it sit around collecting dust?

Keep in mind that most places that accept donated computers have some standards about what they’ll take. If your computer is really old or just not working, you may have to take it to the hazardous waste center in your community.

Before exploring the links below, why not contact your local public schools to see if they’ll take your old equipment? They are often very grateful for such donations.

California, Cerritos: Komputers 4 R Kids accepts donations of all kinds of electronics, including computers, and offers the computers to local kids along with repair classes. Nice!

California, Chico: Computers for Kids

Oregon, Portland: Free Geek

NationalNational Cristina Foundation – they take Macs, too. You can search for a non-profit near you that needs computers. They list all the technical specs as well as their on-site repair capability.

Not everywhere that takes computers takes Macs. But these places do:

California, BreaKomputers 4 Kids

Super old Macs: Really old Macs (Mac SEs, 128s, etc.) can be turned into MacQuariums — yes, it’s just what it sounds like. Find out how to make one here, or here.

Super old PCs:

You can donate them to your local vintage computer festivals/museums.

If your computer is beyond the donating stage, you must at least take it somewhere to be disposed of properly. Computers contain all kinds of nasty hazardous chemicals and whatnot. You can go direct to the manufacturer:

Apple recycling program

Dell Recycling Program 

Hewlett Packard Product Recycling

One last thing: if you really want to help out, don’t upgrade until you have to. And when you do upgrade, buy used! Hundreds of millions of computers are already in landfills, and even when you turn in your computer for “recycling” there’s no guarantee the toxic metals — including mercury — in your outmoded machine will be handled correctly. Check out Electronics Take Back for all the ugly details.

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