How can I recycle my computer at a free Computer Recycling Center?

Here’s how to put your old computer to good use and keep your computer out of a landfill by donating your computer to a computer recycling center. Your old computer may have little value to you, but it could be a great “Beginner’s computer” for someone else.

My friend Karen S. wrote, “A friend is moving out of state, and has some old, old, old equipment. Is there any use for an old computer? Also has a scanner, and printer (old). I don’t know much about them. What is the best way to dispose of this old computer equipment? And how do you wipe off the hard drive, before doing such a thing?

Can I sell my old computer?

You probably know that a computer loses value every day – and new computers are getting cheaper every day. You may be able to sell your old computer, but there are a few reasons why it may not be worth your time to sell your used computer.

If your used computer is more than a couple years old then your processor speed and hard drive storage may be disappointing to a prospective computer buyer who is evaluating buying a used computer versus buying a new computer.  Average computer buyers are wary of inheriting anyone else’s used computer problems.


You’ll have a greater chance of selling your used computer if you have the skill and resources to wipe your computer hard drive clean and reinstall the original operating system. This means also reinstalling the computer model-specific drivers, and restore the original programs that came with the computer.  As you can see, getting a used computer ready for sale isn’t usually easy or quick.  You can also wipe your computer hard drive and advertise it for sale with “no operating system installed,” but you’ll get a much lower sale price (sometimes, very little) for your computer when there is no operating system installed.

If you don’t have the skills to prepare your old computer for sale, or if you don’t want to spend the time to sell it, then you may want to consider donating your computer to a non-profit or charitable organization for a tax deduction .  These organizations don’t mind if your computer’s hard drive is removed or cleared because they have experts and volunteers that can mix and match donated and new software and parts to make your old recycled computer usable again.

How do I find a free Computer Recycling Center?

You can find nearby Computer Recycling Centers using Google or your favorite Internet search site. Use the search term, “Computer Recycling Center” (in quotes) followed by the name of your closest large city (following the quote). For example, use the search term below to search for Computer Recycling Centers near Chicago:

“Computer Recycling Centers” Chicago

You may also want to try the search with both your city and state, For example:

“Computer Recycling Centers” Chicago IL

If you would like to donate your old computer to a tax exempt or similar non-profit organization (and receive a receipt for a tax deduction), add the words “501c3” or “non-profit” to your search query. For example:

“Computer Recycling Centers” Chicago 501c3

Whenever you dispose of an old computer, you’ll want to perform a “Secure Erase” on your hard drive before your old computer is used by anyone else. I wrote how to wipe off the hard drive in this article . If you don’t feel confident in your ability to erase the hard drive, you may want to have a friend neighborhood techie open your old computer’s case and physically remove the hard drive before you get rid of the computer.

Your old computer may not have much value to you or the people you know, but your old computer could be of great value to folks who can’t afford a new computer. Old computers can be of great use to nonprofit organizations and community centers to to teach students word processing, spreadsheet programs, and basic Internet use. Computer Recycling centers will also dispose of unusable computers and computer parts in the most ecologically friendly way (usually parts will also be recycled.  They won’t just throw them in a landfill).     The tax deduction, ecologically correct disposal, and personal gratification may make a Computer Recycling Center your best choice for recycling your old computer.

Author: Chuck Eglinton

1 thought on “How can I recycle my computer at a free Computer Recycling Center?

  1. We at Free Geek Chicago accept COMPUTER DONATIONS.

    We reuse everything we can and get it back out into the community. We environmentally recycle all unusable parts.

    We’re at 3411 W. Diversey Chicago. Our hours are Fridays 10am – 3pm & Sundays 11am – 5pm.

    Full information is at —

    We’re 501-C-3 and give you a tax deductible receipt. We ask a $10 recycling fee for CRT monitor & printer donations.

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