This season, many people will unwrap beautifully packaged presents to find the newest gadgets within: durable desktops, lightning-fast laptops, phones that would’ve been considered something out of The Jetsons TV show just a decade ago.

If you’re one of those lucky gift recipients, what will you do with your old, but still-usable, tech toys that have just been replaced? If your instinct is to throw those old gadgets in a drawer and forget about them, you’re not alone — but you could do a whole lot more good this holiday season by donating them for reuse or recycling them instead!

One great way to do that is through the Dell Reconnect recycle program, located at more than 2,000 Goodwill sites throughout the United States. Through Dell Reconnect, you can drop off any brand of computer equipment, in any condition, and know that it will either be responsibly recycled or refurbished and given a new life. Best of all, when you donate those old electronics, you’re helping Goodwill give back to your community, providing job opportunities to individuals with disabilities and offering great used computer electronics at affordable prices to families in need.

Take Goodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina, for instance, which participates in the Dell Reconnect program. “We have technicians that look at donations and test everything,” says Fred Brown, environmental services and ComputerWorks manager for Goodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina. “Anything that is sellable, we sell back.” From those profits, 94 cents of every dollar goes back into the community, to help the homeless, assist people who’ve had fires in their homes get back on their feet, and train workers for new jobs, to name a few examples.

Brown estimates that those shopping for computers in their ComputerWorks store save an average of $300 to $400. That amount could be the difference between someone being able to afford a computer and not having one at all. Additional discounts are available for senior citizens, members of the military and regular customers who’ve collected points through previous purchases.

Donate your old computer, and you could help someone else receive quite the holiday gift. Photo: Shutterstock
Donate your old computer, and you could help someone else receive quite the holiday gift. Photo: Shutterstock

Affordable computers are important, as access to a computer at home makes it possible to stay in touch with family from afar, telecommute from home, and take online classes. At-home computers can provide an advantage for a child, in particular, making it easier to complete homework and develop the technology skills that are becoming increasingly necessary in today’s world. Research has shown that those with a computer at home perform better in the classroom.

The ComputerWorks in North Charleston, S.C., offers about 15 desktops and a handful of laptops in the store at any one time. For those who know how to program a computer, “barebones” models without operating systems are sold for less than $100. Spare parts are also available, all for very low prices.

“If someone donates their old computer and it’s salvageable, we rebuild it and put those computers out for resale,” Brown says. “We keep prices affordable, and shoppers are getting a rebuilt computer almost new.”

So now that you’ve got that shiny new toy that’s made your formerly trusty computer obsolete, find a participating Goodwill location near you at and donate today — it won’t cost you anything, and you could help make a local community member’s holiday season a whole lot brighter.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock

Editor’s Note: Earth911 partners with many industries, manufacturers and organizations to support its Recycling Directory, the largest in the nation, which is provided to consumers at no cost. Dell Reconnect is one of these partners.

By Haley Shapley

Haley Shapley is based in Seattle, where recycling is just as cool as Macklemore, walking in the rain without an umbrella, and eating locally sourced food. She writes for a wide range of publications, covering everything from sustainability to fitness to travel. Read more of her work here.