Donate and recycle equipment
FreeGeek Chicago responsibly recycles and refurbishes computers and computer-related hardware in any condition. This page covers the equipment we do and do not accept, suggested recycling donations, our data destruction policy, and how to prepare your donation for drop-off.
We reuse any materials we can to build complete computer systems to sell for far below the used "market rate." Reuse is the most environmentally-friendly path for your old hardware. Since reused materials don't need to be processed by recyclers, there is no energy cost to turning the materials into a new usable product. Our computer buyers are diverted from buying newly produced computers, which further reduces the energy cost associated with putting a computer into their hands.
We are given a lot of material that we cannot reuse, most commonly because its age makes it infeasible for use in a modern personal computer or because we have tested it as non-working. Materials that we cannot reuse are sent to a recycler that we have carefully chosen based on their processes. The criteria that we use to consider and approve recyclers are based on those of Freegeek Portland:
Vendors may not ship overseas any material considered hazardous by The Basel Action Network. All processing of these materials must occur in North America or Western Europe.
Vendors may not send to the landfill material that could be recycled. Some material may be landfilled if there is no recycling process available, or if the only alternative would be burning it for fuel, which is less desirable than landfilling.
Vendors may not use prison labor in any part of their process.
Vendors are allowed to ship out of the country only material that is considered a commodity, as in clean steel, plastic, or copper.
Vendors must be open to an audit of their processes, or provide results from a recent audit.
Preference is given to vendors with BAN certification, or vendors who are in the process of being certified.
ATTENTION APPLE IPAD AND IPAD DONORS:
WE NEED YOUR HELP! (CLICK HERE)
If you’re donating an Apple iPhone or iPad, check to see if you’ve linked the device to an Apple iCloud account. If so, delete it from your account before donating it.
If you cannot unlink the device, please leave your name, phone number and email so we can contact Apple to confirm you donated it. Failure to do so will leave the device in a locked state. Only the original owner can remove the Activation Lock; there is no way for us to remove it ourselves*.
*factory resetting the iPad does not remove the Activation Lock
Recycling old computer equipment takes time, money, and energy. Cash donations help FreeGeek cover our recycling fees and cover administrative costs and operational costs. Make a secure cash donation online via PayPal by clicking the donate button.
FreeGeek Chicago is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization. We do not give an estimated value of your donation. If you wish to deduct your donations on your income tax, you must reasonably value it yourself.
Physical Technology Donations
At FreeGeek Chicago We care about your privacy. We use Military Standard Software to wipe all donated storage devices. If we can not securely wipe your device, our team members conduct a thorough process of destruction, disassembly of the digital storage device. However, if you require for your hard drive to be destroyed in your presence, there's a charge of $10 per hard drive.
We accept physical donations during operation hours on Fridays and Sundays only from 11 am to 4:30 pm.
Donation Allowances & Restrictions
Laptops, Desktops, Tablets
Keyboards and Mice
Video Games & Consoles
Peripheral cards and cables
Televisions & CRT monitors
Printers / Scanners
Cameras & Camcorders
Copiers or Fax Machines
VCRs, DVD players, Stereo Equipment
Old software and media
Landline Systems & VoIP equipment
Uninterrupted Power Supplies (UPS)
Microwaves, Hvac, and other appliances
Boxes and packing materials (e.g. Styrofoam)