Recycle Computers and Other Old Stuff

We usually talk about recycling in the traditional way: separate your paper and plastic and into two blue recycle bins.  There are a lot of things that you can’t put out at the curb and have them recycled.  This is not going to be a how-to article but a discussion a different type of recycling where items that can be found in your household you no longer want or need can be donated to people who need them.  There are organizations who will recycle computers, re-sell clothing and many other items too.  Also keep in mind that items donated to to organizations like Goodwill Industries and The Salvation Army may be eligible for deductions on your tax return, as well as helping others less fortunate. The following are some examples of things you can recycle (computers!) for reuse when your goal is to reduce.

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Recycle Computers

Mrs. SPF and I recently upgraded our computers.  Mrs. SPF was using my old desk top that was 8 years old and I replaced a 5 year old laptop.   Both machines need to be cleaned up to optimize their performance.  I won’t do this task but I will reformat the hard drive to erase our personal information.  After that is done we plan to head to reBOOT which is a not for profit that provides affordable technology to those who need it.  This organization will recycle computers and get them into the hands of people who need them most.

Give Away Cleaning Products

A few years ago Mrs. SPF decided that we had to stop using cleaning products that are toxic to the environment and to ourselves.  We decided to purge our house of these types of cleaners in exchange for making our own cleaning products and using green cleaners.  So we said goodbye to the cleaners and bleach but we made sure we didn’t just flush them down the drain.  Our local Humane Society is always in need of donations of cleaning products, cat and dog food, and blankets and towels.  So we boxed up the cleaning products and donated them to one of our favourite charities.

Donate Glasses

Every couple of years our work provides us a certain amount of money to get our eyes checked by an optometrist and then purchase new glasses which we both require to see properly.  Toward the end of the two year period our glasses are usually a bit dinged up but still usable.  Most companies that sell eyeglasses: Hakim, Lenscrafters, and Pearl Vision have a facility to help donate your glasses to third world countries via programs like Third World Eye Care Society Canada.  We don’t need the glasses anymore, especially after our prescription changes

Get Rid of Unused Clothing

There was a deicluttering rule I heard once that if you haven’t worn a piece of clothing in the last year you should rid yourself of it.  Of late I’ve realized I have a lot of clothes – much of which I don’t wear too often.  Some of this clothing is really nice but I just don’t have the opportunity to wear it more than once a year.  Mrs. SPF and I both work to give away clothing we no longer need but is of quality.  We approach our friends and family first to see if they could use the clothing and if they don’t want or need it we like to give it to the Liver Foundation who then sells the clothing to used clothing sales stores.  They pick it up from your porch which is convenient.  We also have big red bins located in the city where the clothing goes to the Salvation Army – another worthy cause.

Do you have ways to recycle things for re-use without a need to process materials? What did you do when you needed to recycle computers in the past?  Regardless if you need to recycle computers or dispose of old eye wear there are opportunities to merge the recycle and reuse items that you no longer need.

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15 thoughts on “Recycle Computers and Other Old Stuff

  1. Lots of good advice here. We too donate our old computers, in our case to an organization that fixes them up and sends them to developing countries for reuse there.

    Another thing to donate is old bicycles. Here in Montréal we have a great organisation called Cyclo Nord-Sud that takes old bicycles and distributes them to people in developing countries. It’s a very successful and effective operation. One of my old bikes is living a new life in Cuba and another is on its way to Haiti.

    1. Hi brad!

      Mrs. SPF used to run the Nord Sud chapter via Trent University in Peterborough! I was going to add this activity to this post but simply ran out of waking hours. Thanks for mentioning it.

  2. I’ve sent old computers for recycling too. My husband was surprised at first to hear that you weren’t supposed to throw them out. The options for that have increased over time, as more people are realizing there are better ways to dispose of old computers than pretending it’s okay for them to end up in the landfill.

    We do great on children’s clothes around here. Lots of handmedowns that then get handed down to the next kid in line. Saves a lot of money and my youngest in particular has a wardrobe I’d never give her new.

    1. Hi Stephanie!

      So excited to explore your site! We’re soon-to-be parents and the content on your site – well, right on theme for us!

      Thanks for the comment. We prefer the re-use of PCs over the recycling. When they are recycled, unfortunately, from what i’ve learned, they are shipped to 3rd world countries (so energy burned) and stripped of every precious metal (a good thing) by people who are vastly underpaid for their work (bad thing) and the rest of the waste is dumped in those countries (bad thing).

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  7. For most of the more common items, there now tend to be established recycling centers and practices to draw from.

    And when you have items that you’re not sure what to do with, that you know would have some value to others, the use of Kijiji or Craig’s list or something similar can get people coming to your door to take stuff away. You don’t have to take any money and those that respond are obviously looking for what you’re offering.

    Another option anyway

  8. Hi!

    I love this post! I believe that recycling will preserve our environment. With the calamaties that are happening around us, it is important that we are conscious with what we are doing. Thank you for posting this!

    Summer Davis
    Webmaster, Art Prints
    Japanese Prints

  9. Great to learn that some items donated can lead to tax deduction. We may be convinced in a wrong way that the old clothes we don’t need are not useful and can’t be put to use again or the machines that we use. There are people who know how to put old things into use. Instead of throwing away an old computer after placing it with a new one, give it as a donation, maybe to an orphanage where children who are orphans can use it to learn about computer programs and by so they become computer literate.

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