Information and Technology

Responsibly Recycle Your Personal Computer

Story posted January 26, 1970

So, you've got a nice new computer, and aren't sure what to do with the old computer. You're tired of tripping over it, but don't want it to end up in the landfill, either.

There is an incredibly convenient, local, and free solution: Reconnect. Reconnect is a joint partnership that was formed in 2004 between Dell Computer and Goodwill industries. Why Dell and Goodwill? Dell already has a good reputation for responsible recycling programs, and Goodwill has many convenient drop-off locations. Reconnect has expanded into Maine, and is available in 19 locations in southern and central Maine.

What can be recycled? This is the best part -- almost anything! Reconnect accepts computers (any manufacturer) and most peripherals, including monitors, scanners, keyboards and mice. They'll even take old software if you have the license key (please note: software purchased by Bowdoin College or provided under a Campus Agreement is property of the College and is non-transferrable). Check here for a list of accepted items. Please note: only personal computers should be recycled through Reconnect. All Bowdoin College computers are property of the College. If you have a Bowdoin College computer that is no longer in use, please contact Mike Roux to arrange for pickup of the old computer.

What about my data? It's always a good idea to erase your hard drive before donating or recycling your computer. There are a number of free programs (DBAN is perhaps one of the more popular) that will remove everything from your hard drive. Please be sure to backup anything you'd like to save, and give yourself plenty of time to run the data removal program.

How do I recycle? Enter your zip code to find a list of nearby participating Goodwill stores (the Topsham and Bath locations are participating). Bring in your computer and peripherals.

What happens to my computer? You can feel good that your electronic waste will not be exported to a developing country. All recycling practices are audited by a third-party operation to verify that Dell's strict standards are followed. Your computer may be re-used (either in its entirety or for parts) or recycled for raw materials (glass, plastic, metal, etc).

Americans store an estimated 65 million old desktop computers in their homes.
— United States Environmental Protection Agency