There’s one thing that seems to get left out of the picture when companies advertise back-to-school specials: What are you supposed to do with the stuff you already have? Students need up-to-date computer systems for school projects and research, but families don’t want to collect a basement full of obsolete hard drives and mouse cables.
It can be expensive and challenging to recycle unwanted electronics, as many organizations charge a fee or have limited operating hours. Luckily, Dell offers a solution.
Unlike other companies that charge for recycling old machines, Dell offers five free recycling programs to customers throughout the United States. It’s hard to find a reason not to recycle your old machine given the ease of the various options. Customers choose anything from dropping a machine off at a participating Goodwill (which accepts any brand of computer equipment free of charge) to printing their own shipping labels from home, arranging a pickup for the old system.
As an added incentive, customers who recycle their old machines at a Dell store can receive a gift card for the fair market value of the old computer or electronics being traded. If Dell is unable to resell the items, the machines are responsibly recycled. This promise from Dell comes in response to the practice of exporting “e-waste” to developing countries under the guise of recycling the electronics as charity fundraisers.
Dell took a very significant step in banning this practice, which often have workers dismantling electronics by “smashing or burning, exposing people to mercury, lead and other toxic chemicals.” The article estimates that as much as 50% of the electronics gathered by other recycling programs are farmed out in this manner. In publishing a clear policy against these exports, Dell ensures all of its contractors and partners avoid the international transportation of such toxic waste materials.
Instead, Dell has created more than 250 green jobs domestically, already diverting more than 484 million pounds of e-waste from landfills. The Goodwill partnership, called the Reconnect Program, works to repurpose all parts of the old electronics, from raw materials and casings to metal and glass that can be recycled. As an added bonus, the income from recycled computer equipment supports Goodwill’s job training programs for displaced workers and people who have disabilities or employment challenges.
Additional recycling options include computer drop-off at any Staples store or use the National Cristina Foundation (which matches used computers with educational programs), earning a 10% off coupon toward software.