Dell’s computer recycling program diverted more than 150 million pounds of e-waste from landfills around the world during the 2011 fiscal year. This is an increase of 16 percent from 2010, and puts Dell on target to easily meet its goal of recycling 1 billion pounds of e-waste by 2014.

One way Dell makes it easy for consumers to recycle old electronics is through the Dell Reconnect program. (Dell is one of MNN's sponsors.) Dell has partnered with Goodwill Industries to allow consumers to drop off old computers for safe recycling. The computers can be any brand and in any condition and Goodwill will accept it at one of the more than 2,200 stores nationwide.

Safely disposing of your old electronics is important. When electronic waste sits in landfills, it can leach heavy metals and other toxins, which can ultimately end up in groundwater. This is a problem in the United States and globally.

For years, unscrupulous third-party e-waste recyclers would ship the waste to developing nations for processing. Unfortunately this processing often meant that a pile of electronics was dumped on the ground and left for the locals to sift through. This had negative impacts on the environment and on the health of local residents.

In 2009, Dell banned the export of non-working electronics to developing nations. Dell was the first major computer manufacturer to take this step, and its decision paved the way for other electronics companies to support the practice.

Collecting laptops, desktops, monitors, printers and scanners diverts toxic e-waste from landfills and helps create new jobs. Goodwill hires individuals who aren’t easily employable. The Dell Reconnect program has helped create 250 new jobs since the program’s launch.

“Dell’s recycling program and record in the industry is second to none,” said Mike Watson, director of Dell’s Take Back program. (Take a look at their recycling numbers in the chart below.) “As we strive to reach our 1 billion pound target by 2014, we’re focused on educating people and creating awareness on the benefits of computer recycling and how Dell makes it easy to do so.”

If you have old computer equipment sitting around, locate your local Goodwill store and arrange to drop it off soon.

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