We’ve all got some tech hiding at the back of a cupboard or in a box stashed under the house, in a roof space or under a bed. It usually falls in the “not needed but too good to throw away” catgegory. But what can you do with that technology? Instead of resorting to lobbing into landfill there are lots of options.
Many tech companies have recycle and and trade-in programs. For example, Lenovo’s program (you’ll need to select Australia from the list of countries) is quite straightforward. Just send an email and they’ll arrange free collection. They also offer a free battery recycling program.
HP advocates using a service called TechCollect. It’s a free, not for profit national recycling service for computers, computer accessories and TVs which was established in response to the Federal Government’s National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme (NTCRS).
Dell accepts any computer hardware under their program. They have separate contact details for home and business users with free collections for business customers that are within 40km of the centre of a capital city. Consumers have to pay $36 for collection.
Apple has trade in and recycle programs for many of their products. For example, if you are looking to upgrade your iPhone or iPad, you can get up to $250 back. However, you’ll probably make more if you seek old gear on the open secondhand market.
Officeworks has their BringITBack program, which recycles computer components as well as working with Planet Ark for printer cartridge recycling and Mobile Muster for disposing of old phones.
Sell it off
Chances are you tech has some value. Even an old PC or monitor is worth a few bucks. The trick is finding someone who wants it. So, what are your avenues?
If you only have a small number of devices to dispose of then online auction sites like eBay and Gumtree are worth a look. I’ve also had some success with selling stuff on Facebook Marketplace but I also get a lot of people wasting my time, making ludicrously low offers for stuff.
Even if you have a few items, there are applications you can download that will let you create multiple listings with descriptions and images and automatically post the auction so you can optimise the start and end time of the auction to maximise your chances of success.
If you have a larger number of items then perhaps someone like Grays Online might be a better bet. They specialise in selling larger batches of equipment.
Donate to charity
There are lots of places that will accept donations of older working computers.
Computerbank in Melbourne accepts donations of computers. They refurbish and then sell them at very low prices to low income individuals, students and community groups. Donated computers are tested, hard drives wiped (using DBAN), open source software (Ubuntu Linux) is installed and volunteers and small team of casual staff recycle obsolete parts.
If you’re looking for a place to donate your old computers, or perhaps other office equipment and furniture, you could take a look at Give Now. Although it looks like a fundraising service, they do have a register of places that will accept electrical equipment including computers.
When I was the IT manager of a large independent school, we had about 150 older computers, monitors and servers we no longer required. We asked around the local community and discovered a school that was struggling to get adequate resources. They were in an area where many of their students came from refugee centres.
We donated enough gear to fit out a couple of classrooms and set up a basic data centre.
Ask around the office and your personal and professional network. A worthy cause might only be a short conversation away.
Plan for disposal when you buy
Many businesses are focussed on the initial purchase of their technology but you should also plan for disposal. Many leasing companies will take back end-of-lease great at the end of the finance period. That recovery of gear can help keep finance fees down as the financer can add to their revenues when they seek the old gear.
And it takes the pain of dealing with older gear away and provides a system for ensuring you keep your hardware up to date.