Old computers? Recycle them with Goodwill

Technology has been changing so quickly that we find ourselves with piles of older electronics that we do not use. What to do with those electronics? Goodwill has the answer, donate them to be recycled.

In 2016 Goodwill recycled 545,552 pounds of computer and electronics.

Goodwill will accept your residential computers, printers and monitors without charge, regardless of age or condition. Just drop off at any of Goodwill’s convenient donation centers.

What does Goodwill do with your used computer equipment? 

Through our partnership with the Dell Reconnect Computer Recycling Program, Goodwill will accept your residential intact computers, printers and monitors without charge, regardless of age or condition. See our Recycling FAQ tab for more information about Dell Reconnect.

Goodwill’s highly trained staff will safely disassemble the CPUs and sort the various components for responsible recycling, thus eliminating the environmental risk of landfill disposal.

What about security?

We take the privacy of our donors very seriously, and we take great care and concern for all items that may possibly contain customer data. To begin the process, we do ask that people do their best to delete any sensitive information they may have on their computers before donating. Once the computers are in our hands, we undergo a four-step process as follows:

Phase One: Our technicians determine which desktop and laptop computers are viable for refurbishing and which ones are to be decommissioned and used for parts. The units are powered on and checked for defects. Hard Drives and memory are bench-tested for quality.

Phase Two: We secure all systems and hard drives determined to be reusable, as well as any materials that will be sent out for recycling, in a locked area that only the manager and techs have access to until they are processed.

Phase Three: We apply a rigorous three-pass Department of Defense-standard data wiping process to all drives determined to be usable.

Phase Four: We select random hard drives from every wiping session and verify they have no retrievable data on them. Also, every month Dell Reconnect sends an independent auditor to verify that the data on the hard drives has been erased and no personal data remains, and that all our process conforms and exceeds their high standards. Goodwill has passed this audit every month since we started with the program.

Goodwill takes pride in being able to partner with Dell Reconnect to keep electronics out of landfills and do our part in being green.

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Weekend Messy Mayhem Challenge

Need to clean your house and don’t have a lot of time?

Take our weekend challenge!

I was talking to my grandma on the way to the office today. She told me she’s planning on cleaning up her apartment to get rid of the clutter. My grandma is a very busy lady who is high in demand, so she really only has time to clean on the dreamstimelarge_35951162weekends. If you are a busy person but need to de-clutter your house, take the Goodwill Weekend Messy Mayhem Challenge! Because you only have two days and three nights, commit to cleaning out a few parts of your place each day. When Sunday night rolls around, you’ll have a clean home and a truckload of items to donate to Goodwill.

Friday Night

Main Floor Madness: Kitchen & Living Room

Your main floor is the area where all of your guests go when they come over. After dinner, begin going through your kitchen cabinets and put all the things you haven’t used in the past two months into a box. Get rid of duplicates and clean up your counter space. Get rid of any old silverware or table settings that haven’t been used since Christmas of 1985.

donate-middle-age-group-dreamstime_xxl_31667687When you finish in the kitchen, move onto your living room. Start by the television and get rid of any VHS tapes you still have laying around and any CDs that you no longer listen to – don’t forget about all of the DVDs and Blu-Ray discs you no longer watch. Once you finish your entertainment area, head over to the bookshelf and take a look to see which books have collected the most dust. If your old kids’ books and cheesy romance novels haven’t been touched since 1995, it’s safe to put them in the Goodwill donation box to make room for some new reads.



Hidden Chaos: Crammed closets, Alarming Attic, and Gloomy Garage

If you haven’t worn it in the past year, you probably don’t need it and won’t miss it when it’s gone. Clean out your closets. Shoes, hats, blouses, pants, skirts; you name it, Goodwill would love to take it off of your hands! Once your closets have less clutter, make a pact to follow dreamstimemaximum_5080693The Goodwill Closet Golden Rule: one in, one out. Every time you buy something new, get rid of something you already own.

After your closets are decluttered and looking spiffy, work your way to the attic and garage. Find old holiday décor that hasn’t been seen since you were a child? Donate it. Piles of things you forget you owed and haven’t used in years, donate them!


Sunday Fun Day: Office and bedrooms

We saved the best and easiest rooms for last. When you look around your bedroom, do you see trinkets and other odd objects you haven’t touched or used in years?  I know I do! Start by clearing out all your old toys that another child could enjoy. Get rid of any jewelry or trinkets that no longer serve any use to you. Last, but not least, work your way to the office. No one wants to work in a messy space. This weekend cleanup is the perfect time to San_Antonio_17846make sure your office is clean, starting the month organized. You have probably updated your computer, laptop, or tablet, so why hang on to the two old computers in the closet? Why keep old office supplies when you are always buying the newest edition and throwing the old ones into a box? Update your file cabinet; give up your old outdated computer equipment (working and non-working), and donate it all to Goodwill. We’ll wipe your equipment clean and recycle it in a safe way.


Well folks, you made it through the Weekend Messy Mayhem Challenge! Hooray! That wasn’t too bad, was it? Look at how clean your house is. Doesn’t it feel great? You should also feel great by knowing that all of your no longer needed items are going to be reused or recycled at your local Goodwill, where they will empower Eastern Nebraskans and Western Iowans and transform their lives. It’s now time to say goodbye to your donations and bring them over to Goodwill; we’ll take care of the rest.


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Dispelling the ‘One Person Can’t Make a Difference’ Myth

Public awareness about the value of recycling is at an all-time high, but currently fewer than 35 percent of households and 10 percent of businesses in the United States recycle, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Sometimes the enormity of a problem, such as massive amounts of waste headed to our landfills, keeps people from taking small steps that could add up to make a big positive change. It’s the “one person can’t make a difference” myth.

November 15 is America Recycles Day, an initiative of Keep America Beautiful. This national commemoration is the perfect opportunity to raise public awareness while encouraging action, because every person can make a difference.

Goodwill Omaha is a proud supporter of America Recycles Day. Environmental sustainability has been central to Goodwill’s mission since its founding 111 years ago. Goodwill’s donation-resale model extends the life of usable clothing and other goods, and earns revenue for Goodwill job training programs, employment placement services and other important social services that benefitted more than 6.7 million people last year alone. In the process, thousands of tons of waste are diverted from landfills.

Goodwill offers this advice for America Recycles Day in hopes that occasional recyclers will become regular recyclers.

1. Make it simple.

2. Make it meaningful.

This model works successfully for Goodwill’s donated goods retail business. We provide easy-to-access donation drop-off points in convenient locations. We demonstrate how donations make a positive impact on the donor and the community: Donations are sold in stores. Store revenues fund job training and career services. People get jobs. Families grow stronger. Communities thrive.

The model can work for recycling as well. Breaking down your efforts into simple steps can help. To start, choose to recycle one item — whether it’s newspaper, aluminum or glass — for six months. After that time period, start recycling a second item that you use regularly until it becomes a habit. You can continue to add to your recycling efforts as they become part of your daily life.

Then, understand that your actions have impact. For example, recycling one aluminum product can save enough energy to allow you to listen to a full music album on an iPod. Recycling 100 cans can light a room for two weeks.

Whether you donate regularly to Goodwill or just recycle your aluminum cans, you help dispel the myth that small acts aren’t important. On America Recycles Day, it’s appropriate to celebrate all the ways we collectively and individually protect the planet.

Click here to see our additional recycling efforts.

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Baled clothing: 506,173 lbs.
Shoes: 19,225 lbs.
Stuffed toys: 351 lbs.
Books: 11,065 lbs.
Purses and belts: 0 lbs.
Cell phones: 0 lbs.
2015 YTD total: 536,814 lbs.


Printers: 12,204 lbs.
CRT monitors: 6,049 lbs.
Keyboards: 2,152 lbs.
Plastic: 563 lbs.
Power: 1,134 lbs.
CPUs: 7,304 lbs.
LCD monitors & laptops: 4,089 lbs.
Wire: 793 lbs.
Misc.: 2,689 lbs.
Batteries: 1,432 lbs.
Motherboards: 0 lbs.
Media: 117 lbs.
Toner / Ink: 71 lbs.
2015 YTD total: 38,597 lbs.


Cardboard: 29,575 lbs.
Mixed paper: 1,825 lbs.
Plastic: 2,435 lbs.
Aluminum breakage: 1,968 lbs.
Low-grade wire: 2,964 lbs.
Aluminum cans: 44 lbs.
#2 copper wire: 0 lbs.
2014 YTD total: 38,811 lbs.

Grand Total=
614,222 lbs.

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Another green year

green-bannerEnvironmental awareness has long been a priority of Goodwill, whether it’s the green building practices we teach in YouthBuild, the environmental friendliness of our store construction, or simply the act of keeping goods out of landfills by way of donating and reselling. But we took it to another level last year.

In 2012, energy conservation specifically was a big part of Goodwill Industries International’s (GII) agenda – so much that GII established a movement-wide friendly competition to see which agency could best improve the energy efficiency of their buildings. Facilities Manager Ross Tremaine said the agency began replacing the lighting at all of its stores in the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) area last spring.

“We changed out all of the lights to more energy-efficient bulbs,” he said. “That was in conjunction with rebates that OPPD is offering in an effort to help businesses go green; we are taking full advantage.”

Tremaine said that the light output of the new bulbs is equivalent, if not better, while using less power – creating both energy and financial savings. The contest results will be in sometime in mid-2013, but even if we don’t win, we’re making a difference.

There’s been a noticeable change in some of our back rooms as well. When we opened our 78th & Dodge retail store in November 2011, the space we moved into wasn’t large enough to accommodate a trash compactor — a fixture in the back room at all of our retail stores. The plan was to have a truck come by several times a day to pick up the store’s trash and take it down to the Retail Operations Center, where it could be compacted and sent away.

But that didn’t end up happening. The 78th & Dodge retail team were so cautious about what they discarded — while being more mindful of what could be recycled — that those multiple daily trash pickups turned into just single pickups — less than half of what was expected. And once they set that example, our retail operations department asked itself if it could replicate this success elsewhere.

This hole once housed the Benson Park store's trash compactor.

This hole once housed the Benson Park store’s trash compactor.

The answer was such a resounding “Yes” that in July 2012, our Benson Park Plaza store’s compactor was removed completely.

In 2011, the Benson Park Plaza store was averaging two trash pickups per month. But in 2012, the store manager and staff were doing such a great job monitoring their trash that they averaged fewer than one per month.

Goodwill employees have been so effective at ensuring the efficient sorting of all of our donations — whether those donations are going to the sales floor, to the WearHouse, to GoodBytes or separated for recycling — that our trash compactors are seeing only a fraction of the use that they once were. The retail department’s trash bill in 2012 was less than half of what it was in 2011. It’s also great for the environment, as we send less and less to landfills even as our operations continue to grow. And it’s great for our donors, who can be assured that their donations are being put to their best use.

As a result of the hard work at all of our locations, our recycling numbers across the agency continue to climb. In 2012, we recycled more than 5.9 million pounds of clothing, more than 390,000 pounds of shoes, more than 987,000 pounds of computers and computer components, more than 295,000 pounds of cardboard, more than 20,000 pounds of paper and more than 10,000 pounds of plastic.

It’s just another way our retail department demonstrates its commitment to the agency and the environment.

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