At some point, all computers become obsolete. The situation with printers isn’t much different. Printers have a finite life and aren’t supported indefinitely. What can be done with old printers and computers? There must be something better than throwing them in the trash. Here are a few ideas to consider.
1. Donate it: Many local schools, daycares, charities, and churches would like to have your old computer or printer. The local school computer lab might like to have it for parts. It’s possible to get a tax write-off, too. Perhaps a friend would like it. There are also international organizations that take donations of computers and some even attempt to rebuild them for underprivileged children. See PC United and Computers for a Cause to read about two of these organizations.
2. Experiment with it. If you’ve ever been interested in an alternative operating system, like Linux, your old computer might be the perfect testing ground. You might want to take your old computer apart and learn about how it works. There might be something interesting inside of that old printer, too. If you’re interested in computer electronics this is a good opportunity to study them a bit. What do you have to lose?
3. Sell them. They might only be worth a few dollars, but something is better than nothing. Try ebay or craigslist. Someone is likely to want your old stuff, for the right price.
4. There are buy-back programs for printers. Hewlett-Packard will buy back printers from any manufacturer. Staples will recycle Dell printers for free and others for a small fee. From time to time, they offer rebate incentives toward a new printer purchase.
5. Dedicate it to a single task. You might want to use that computer only for word processing, or multiplayer gaming, or as a multi-media station. You might want to use it to play older games that only run on DOS on Windows 98. Maybe you do graphics work part-time. It can be handy to have a dedicated computer.
6. Create a home network. An old computer isn’t the best server, but for a small home network, it can be entirely usable. It’s good experience, and the whole family can benefit.
7. Use it as the ‘family’ computer or printer. It can be nice to have a light-duty computer that’s used in front of the TV for simple gaming or Internet surfing. You probably don’t want your 5-year old on your brand new laptop anyway.
8. Use it for parts. If you like to build computers, the old computer can be used for parts. Maybe you only want the case and power supply. Or perhaps the hard drive is relatively new, and you’d like to salvage it. Printer parts are bit more challenging to salvage, but it can be done.
9. Recycle it. Almost every community has a recycling center that takes computers. You can do a Google Search for “computer recycling” and probably get some good results. These organizations will make sure nothing is wasted on the computer or laptop. This might be the best option for the environment.
If another person/organization will be getting your computer, be sure to remove all traces of personal programs/data before it leaves your possession. There is feature in Windows 8 called ‘Remove Everything’ and will remove everything from the hard drive and install a fresh copy of Windows. Other versions of Windows will require other means. If you are not very computer saavy you might need to contact your local computer repair shop and ask if they do secure data destruction before you release your old machine to another person or organization. You don’t want your personal data in the wrong hands. For more information on computer repair in Louisville, KY or related articles you can visit our blog called PC News.