Why General Electric Wants Your Old Computers

Learn why General Electric has a really good reason for wanting to take all of your old computers off your hands.

By Crystal Murdock | Published

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The United States generates over 6.92 million tons of e-waste or forty-six pounds per person every year and of that e-waste, only an estimated 15% was recycled in some fashion. With each new generation of electronic devices, the previous version becomes quickly outdated and ends up going unrecycled and sadly, either take up space in a closet or even worse, tossed out in the trash and ends up in the local landfills.  General Electric is trying to offset these numbers by encouraging people to bring their old, outdated electronics to them so they can rehab and donate them to those in need, like nonprofit organizations and schools. 

According to Times Union, Volunteers at the nonprofit group, General Electric Computer Rehab of Schenectady have found that collecting people’s old or broken computers can be a great opportunity to help someone in need. In return, the donor of the computer will qualify for a tax deduction on the donation. The nonprofit volunteers at General Electric have been turning one person’s junk into another’s awesome gift for years. The General Electric tech-savvy volunteers clean up the computers, wipe out the drives give them a new memory card, and then install the most recent Microsoft Windows software, making the computers ready to use. The only cost associated with the refurbished computers for the new owners is the ten-dollar licensing fee for the use of the Microsoft software. The labor provided by the General Electric volunteers is at no cost and of course, the donation of the refurbished computer equipment is free of charge. 

The nonprofit volunteer group, composed mostly of General Electric retirees was refurbishing and donating over 800 computers annually prior to the COVID pandemic. The pandemic social distancing restrictions and city-wide lockdowns forced the General Electric volunteers to take an 8-month hiatus away from the refurbished computer program due to not having access to the General Electric shop. Now that restrictions have lessened the General Electic volunteers were able to refurbish and donate an estimated 550 computers last year and are working hard to reach their goal of 700 refurbished computers this year. 

E-waste isn’t always easy and convenient to recycle. Local City and State Governments often set up e-waste collection donation sites a few times a year, but that means that people have to store unwanted electronic items in the meantime. There are several electronic stores that will accept electronics for recycling at no cost, including Best Buy and Staples. Major name brand electronics companies will accept their own products for recycling, including Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, and Dell. However, General Electric is doing there part to make the donation process as easy as possible in order to refurbish and donate the much-needed computer equipment. General Electric is currently specifically in need of computer laptops in any shape or condition for the growing demands.  E-waste doesn’t have to mean game over thanks to the volunteers at General Electic Elfun Computer Rehab of Schenectady program.