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Do you know of a green way to dispose of a laptop? Throw it in the Delaware river?”
[email protected], Green Philly Blog Reader

Well Kevin, although the Delaware may be toxic, it definitely won’t help Philadelphia get greener this year. Actually, disposing a laptop in a river OR landfill are both terrible options – it’s just as outdated as your AOL email address. But here’s some green tips to recycle your laptop:

  • Before you prepare to recycle your laptop, make sure to delete ALL of your personal information – messages, files, clearing the internet browser’s cache, etc. Also, you should probably either have a trusted professional clear the hard drive OR use a disk-cleaning program that overwrites your hard drive, which makes your data unrecoverable.
  • Nonprofit Technology Resources serves low-income people in Philadelphia by recycling used computers, providing hands-on work experience, and assisting community-based organizations in their work.  Contact them at 215-564-6686 or [email protected]
  • The Philadelphia Streets Department holds Hazardous Waste drop-off events, but make sure to check when the next event is.
  • University of Pennsylvania’s CommuiTech donates used computers to in-need fellow Philadelphians – Arrange with them to drop off at their 35th & Sansom location to help your community. (They currently accept PC (Windows, Linux) Desktops with Pentium 4s and 256MB ram (512 preferred); PC (Windows, Linux) Laptops with Core Duo processors; Mac Desktops or Laptops with Intel processors (2006 or after). LCD Monitors (flat panel). Any size monitor is appreciated.)
  • Computer companies offer incentives & responsible recycling efforts. Drop off your Dell computer at Staples or Goodwill, donate to a nonprofit, trade in for something new or have a shipper pick it up at your house.  Apple’s recycling program sends you a prepaid shipping label ($30) for your computer while HP recycles hardware, ink & reusable batteries.
  • Drop off your laptop at the Big Green Earth Store at 934 South St or Liberty Place.  Philly-based Erasemylaptop.com erases information (exceeding DOD standards) and emails you with details about the erase procedures with photos, assuring you that everything went through.  They then recycle your laptop, free of charge! (You can also request a prepaid shipping carton, but save the cardboard by taking it to GBES.)

Hope this helps! Let us know what you choose!

Posted by Julie

2 Responses to Recycle your Laptop – Response to Reader Question

  1. It’s also possible that you can continue reusing the laptop. Usually laptop performance wains after the hard drive starts to fill, or after windows gets corrupted by viruses, trojans, or just operating system inefficiencies. If you upgrade the memory and hard drive and re-install windows the overall effect can transform the performance of a laptop and extend it’s life by a few years.

  2. Nicole G says:

    This is great! I have been wondering what to do with my old dell, maybe I will pay a visit to the BGES!

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