Think globally, act locally
If you prefer to keep your donations close to home, it's pretty easy to find community groups that will take your old tech. You can donate working PCs to a nearby nonprofit organization or school. Although the machine may be too anemic to handle today's hottest 3D games, it probably has enough power to help a senior citizen get on the Internet or to assist a student with learning word processing.
Bulky CRT monitors are often discarded even though they still work, making them an ideal donation for schools and nonprofit groups.
, however. A too-old or nonworking PC can be a burden rather than a benefit, so contact the organization first. Note that many groups have minimum specs for PCs (Pentium II or later, for instance). Share the Technology
will help you find nonprofit organizations and schools in your area that can use technology products. Search the database to find a local group that needs hardware or add your equipment to the list. TechSoup
also provides helpful recycling how-tos.
If you can, donate some of your time along with the hardware: Many schools and organizations don't have a tech-savvy staff that can set up an old computer. An hour or two of your time to hook up that machine can only rack up karma points. CompuMentor's TechSoup
lists such options. Finally, to dispose of unusable dead items, check with local government agencies' Web sites for low-cost or free curbside-pickup options, drop-off centers, and periodic recycling events.