It's great to get the a new computer with the latest bells and whistles, but what do you do with the old stuff? It's a common question. Most families replace their home computers every three to five years. Businesses keep them around only about two years. That makes old computers and other electronic devices the fastest growing segment of what we throw away. Studies show that more than 315 million desktop and laptop computers will become obsolete in the U.S. in the next few years — that's roughly one computer for every American.
Computers commonly contain more than a dozen metals. The good news is that some of those metals — like platinum, silver and gold — can be very valuable when they are recycled. One metric ton of circuit boards and other electronic computer scrap contains more gold than 17 tons of gold ore!
The bad news is that computers also contain high amounts of lead, mercury, cadmium and other metals that can be hazardous. Those 315 million computers we'll be throwing away contain 1.2 billion pounds of lead. Hazardous metal pose a threat to humans, animals and plants, and that makes computer disposal a global health and environmental concern.
In Lincoln, businesses are not allowed to dispose of their computer equipment in the landfill. Information on how businesses can donate or recycle their computers is included on this page.
Households, however, are exempt from these regulations. So what do families do with those old relics? About 25 percent go directly to the landfill. The other 75 percent are stored by their owners because they are perceived to have some value. Many of those are eventually thrown out as well.
Donate or Recycle Unwanted Computers
What should we do with all the computers we don't want anymore?
- Extend the life of your computers by upgrading systems instead of replacing them;
- Donate working electronics to local organizations to save money, save valuable resources, and help others in the community.
- Safely recycle outdated computers and peripherals to promote the safe management of hazardous components and support the recovery and reuse of valuable materials.
Local Recycling & Disposal
Fees and restrictions may apply. Please call before dropping off materials.
- 123 System Solutions
- 17 Gateway Mall • 402-464-5556
- A & J Recycling
- 3250 N. 20th St. • 402-438-3684
- Best Buy
- 6919 "O" St. • 402-473-2099
- Goodwill Locations
- Office Depot Locations
- 3120 Pine Lake Road • 402-437-9115
- Sadoff Iron & Metal Company
- 4400 W. Webster St. • 402-470-2510
- Secure Recyclers
- 1060 N. 33rd St. • 402-805-0065
- Schrock Innovations
- 2801 Pine Lake Rd. • 402-423-9595
- 7701 Cornhusker Hwy. • 402-217-9095
- 4940 "O" St. • 402-467-1118
- Star City Recycling
Accepts scrap metal
National Recycling and Disposal Options
- Some computer manufacturers offer mail-in recycling options for computers — Hewlett Packard, Dell, IBM, Gateway, and Apple provide options for a fee. Check their websites.
- Check out Earth911.org to search by city or state for places to recycle or donate.