Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mixed feelings Dells partnership with Goodwill

If you haven't heard, Goodwill and Dell recently teamed up in a new computer recycling initiative. "The program’s goal is two-fold: divert nearly one million pounds of used computers and computer equipment from area landfills over the next year; and provide consumer education on the importance of environmentally-responsible computer disposal. Reconnect also can help create job opportunities for individuals with disabilities and other employment barriers."
This is right up my alley right. Yes and um...not so much. I'm happy to see large corporations getting on the bandwagon with e-cycling initiatives and I'm glad to see that some of the proceeds will go to help handicapped children. My daughter is handicapped and though we've never utilized goodwill's services, its nice to know they are there. But the question I have to ask is, WHAT HAPPENS TO THE COMPUTERS? I emailed the reconnect program rep and asked just that. Will they come back into our community as refurbished systems to help families and charities? The answer is no.

In fact Dell is taking these systems, at least the ones that are Dells and refurbishing them for profit. Profits a good thing, but not when its taking computers form people that need them. That is why at Computers for Charity we never, never sell a computer to anyone., We give them away for free. We provide the free training as needed to individuals and organizations to help them to get the most out of the computers we provide.

Dell is also taking the equipment that is not refurbished (which will be a lot!) and recycling it. Recycling in this sense means SHREDDING PERFECTLY GOOD COMPUTERS for the metal. The only sin these computers committed was not being a Dell. We have an inside joke at our shop when a new computer comes in. I look at it and say "Don't be Windows!". But we care not if it's a Dell or a Compaq or a Gateway. Computers can be refurbished for reuse no matter what the brand name. Reuse consumes 20% less energy than Recycling. That's why we only send equipment to be recycled as a last resort. We are not in this for a profit. Were in it to do the most good for the environment and for the people we help too!

The Dell representative told me that they can only work with Goodwill in this initiative and there was no way a local organization such as ours could benefit from this program. The refurbished systems still go form $450.00 and up still placing them out of the price range of a small non profit or a disadvantaged family (I know I can't afford that type of expenditure personally, especially not in this economy).As a supporter of Goodwill industries and a supporter of Dells initiative as a whole I see this as a positive trend. As a charitable computer refurbisher I fear the downside will be less computers available to local families and organizations who desperately need them.

My recommendation to those who want to see their outgoing equipment be put to good use would be to first check for a local non-profit charitable refurbisher to see if they will take your donation. There are plenty of them around in the big cities like Computers For Communities and Free Geek to name a few. Locally in Bowling Green, Ohio Computers for Charity is the only 100% charitable organization that is providing computer systems to people in need for free. We hope to be able to serve all of Wood County as the word gets out that we are taking computer donations for charitable purposes.

You can contact us at or visit our website to see if we can take your donation. If we cannot take your donation Id be happy to recommend taking it to Goodwill as this is another environmentally safe and charitable way to dispose of your unused equipment.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive