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Does Goodwill Take Computers – Donation Guide

Imagine a moment where you’re standing in front of a pile of old computers, keyboards, and other electronic devices, gathering dust and taking up valuable space in your home or office. You want to get rid of them, but tossing them in the trash doesn’t feel right.

What if there was a way to dispose of these items responsibly while also making a positive impact on your community? This is where Goodwill enters the story. But first, let’s explore why responsible electronics disposal is so crucial.

The Importance of Responsible Electronics Disposal

You might wonder, “Why can’t I just throw away my old computer?” The answer lies in the harm that improper disposal of electronics can cause to our environment.

Studies show that electronic waste, or “e-waste,” contains hazardous materials like lead, mercury, and cadmium, which can leach into our soil and water supply, posing significant health risks. A report from the United Nations states that only 17.4% of e-waste was properly recycled in 2019, underscoring the urgency of this issue.

Introduction to Goodwill and Its Role in Charitable Donations

Goodwill Industries, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving lives through the power of work, provides an excellent solution to this e-waste challenge.

Accepting a wide range of donations, Goodwill resells donated items to fund job training programs and employment services. In the case of electronics, including computers, this not only diverts e-waste from landfills but also provides affordable technology options to those who might not otherwise have access.

Understanding Goodwill’s Acceptance Policy

While Goodwill’s overall mission is consistent, each local Goodwill organization may have slightly different donation guidelines due to regional needs and regulations.

Thus, it’s essential to check with your local Goodwill to ensure they accept the specific type of computer or electronic device you wish to donate.

Factors Affecting Goodwill’s Acceptance of Computer Donations

Some factors may influence whether Goodwill can accept your computer donation. They consider the age, condition, and type of the computer. They also assess whether the device can be sold as is, needs refurbishment, or should be responsibly recycled.

Types of Computers Goodwill Accepts and Doesn’t Accept

Accepts Doesn’t Accept
Desktop Computers (not older than 5 years) Desktop Computers (older than 5 years)
Laptop Computers (not older than 5 years) Laptop Computers (older than 5 years)
Tablets and E-readers (not older than 5 years) Tablets and E-readers (older than 5 years)
Computer Peripherals and Accessories Non-working or damaged accessories

What Types of Computers Does Goodwill Accept?

Goodwill generally accepts a wide variety of computers and related devices, provided they’re in a condition that allows for resale or refurbishment.

  • Desktop Computers – From bulky old models to compact modern ones, Goodwill often accepts desktop computers.
  • Laptop Computers – Laptops, given their popularity and portability, are also commonly accepted by Goodwill.
  • Tablets and E-readers – Tablets and e-readers, such as iPads and Kindles, are also welcomed, provided they’re in working order.
  • Peripherals and Accessories – Goodwill also takes in peripherals like keyboards, mice, and monitors, as well as accessories like cables and chargers.

Guidelines for Donating Computers to Goodwill

Ensuring Your Computer Meets the Minimum Requirements

Before donating, make sure your computer meets Goodwill’s minimum requirements. These usually involve the device being in working condition, or at least repairable.

Checking for Data Security and Privacy Concerns

Privacy is a critical issue when donating computers. Be sure to completely erase all personal data from your device before donation. According to a 2019 study published in the Forensic Science International journal, about 40% of used devices sold on the secondary market still contain personally identifiable information, demonstrating the importance of this step.

Preparing Your Computer for Donation

Before donating, clean your computer thoroughly and remove any personal information. Use a soft cloth to wipe down the exterior, and utilize data wiping software to ensure your personal information is completely removed.

Packaging and Transporting Your Computer Safely

When it’s time to donate, pack your computer carefully to prevent damage. Use bubble wrap or similar materials to protect it during transit. If possible, pack the computer in its original box, which likely has custom foam or cardboard inserts for added protection.

What Goodwill Does with Donated Computers

The Process of Assessing and Refurbishing Donated Computers

Upon receiving your computer, Goodwill’s trained staff assess its condition. If the device is in good shape, it may go directly to the sales floor. If it needs some work, it may be sent to Goodwill’s refurbishing department, where technicians perform repairs and upgrades.

Potential Resale of Refurbished Computers through Goodwill Outlets

Refurbished computers are often sold in Goodwill retail stores or through their online shop. This provides budget-friendly tech options for the community and supports Goodwill’s mission.

Recycling of Unusable or Outdated Computer Components

If a computer can’t be refurbished or sold, Goodwill ensures it’s responsibly recycled. In 2019 alone, Goodwill diverted more than 4 million pounds of e-waste from landfills.

Alternatives to Goodwill for Computer Donations

  • Local Nonprofits and Community Organizations – If Goodwill isn’t an option, consider other local nonprofits. Libraries, schools, and community centers might accept computer donations.
  • Technology Refurbishing and Recycling Programs – Companies like Dell and Apple offer refurbishing and recycling programs, providing another route for your old computer.
  • Online Platforms for Donating or Selling Used Electronics – Online platforms like eBay or Facebook Marketplace allow you to sell or donate your used electronics directly to interested individuals.


When it’s time to get rid of old computers and tablets, remember throwing them in the trash hurts the planet because they have bad stuff inside. But if you give them to Goodwill, they can fix and sell them to help people learn skills for new jobs. Goodwill will take computers if they’re not too old and still work. Before you give your computer, make sure you erase all your private information so nobody else can see it.

Then, Goodwill’s experts will check your computer and if it’s okay, someone else can buy it and use it. If the computer’s too old, Goodwill will recycle it the right way. This is great because it keeps the Earth clean and helps people in your town. Plus, if you give your computer to Goodwill, you might even get a break on your taxes. So, donating is good for you, others, and the Earth!


What to do when donating a computer?

Ensure your computer meets the donation criteria, erase all personal data, clean the device, and pack it safely for transport to the donation center.

What are the benefits of donating computers?

Donating computers helps reduce e-waste, supports charitable activities in your community, and can provide tax benefits.

What are the two reasons for donating old computers?

One, it’s an environmentally responsible way to dispose of electronics. Two, it supports charitable activities, often providing educational resources to those in need.


  • Jen Wheeler

    Jen Wheeler, co-founder of Recycling-Revolution.com, holds degrees from UC Berkeley, Yale, and Stanford. A renowned environmentalist, she's championed sustainable practices at global events and leads EcoBright Solutions, focusing on recycling education and eco-friendly products.

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