<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=761998377238353&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
toggle mobile navigation
Put your financial donation to work in your community.

Good to Know Newsletter

Good to Know Newsletter

Electronics Recycling Q&A with Goodwill

Posted by Guest on May 7, 2024 9:54:20 AM


Goodwill’s Retail Store & Donation Centers are an integral part of how we repurpose, rethink, and reuse donated items to change the lives of those around us through our job training and placement programs. Many of today’s donors generously contribute electronic devices to support our mission: Connecting people to work. Preparing people for life.  

At our Racine Center for Work & Training, our ecommerce team includes a group of employees who specialize in working with electronics donations. This team ensures that donated items, such as computers, laptops, and mobile phones are in good working condition, usable, and that all personally identifiable information has been erased to protect the identities of our generous donors. But what about when a computer doesn’t work properly, a phone can’t be unlocked, or the technology is just too old to be useful? If an electronic donation can’t be sold, our ecommerce team becomes a e-cycling team, ensuring that electronic items are recycled and preventing e-waste from entering our landfills.

FAQs about e-cycle at Goodwill   

What is electronic waste?

Electronic waste includes electronic devices, materials, or parts of a device that are no longer useful or have been discarded. It can include a variety of items that you would expect, like computers, tablets, cell phones, mice, keyboards and printers. But it also includes things like gaming systems, cameras, old VHS recorders, DVDs, radios, and other consumer electronics, past and present.

Goodwill E-cycle

What is the real environmental impact of electronics not being recycled properly?

The lifecycle of electronics is becoming shorter and shorter, which means the amount of e-waste is growing rapidly. Recycling electronics incorrectly can have long term effects on water quality, soil contamination, and air pollution. 

When electronic waste ends up in landfills, toxic materials drain into the surrounding soil. These toxins travel into the groundwater, affecting the condition of soil and vegetation, along with the nearby bodies of water such as streams, rivers, and lakes. These harmful metals and contaminants are dangerous to the health of both land and aquatic animals. 

We all know it’s important to recycle things like bottles and cans, but e-cycling is just as critical to keep technology out of landfills for the health of people and of the planet.

Goodwill E-cycle

Where does the electronic waste that Goodwill receives come from?

We take electronics that are donated through our Goodwill Store & Donation Centers for recycling and refurbishment. We refurbish, resell, or recycle everything from computers and hard drives, mice and other accessories, phones and tablets, and some things you may not think about, like gaming systems, digital cameras or DVD and VHS players. The type and size of equipment may vary, but the secure recycling process is the same for all materials.

Is there something that a person should do when recycling electronic waste? 

It is important to prepare your device for donation. Taking the following steps will ensure your technology donation is ready to support our mission.   

  • How to donate your computer or laptop to Goodwill
    When you are ready to dispose of your old computer, we advise you to delete any data and files on your computer. When we receive your old laptop or computer, we will use a device called a Destroyinator (Yes, that’s really what it’s called!) to run a program called KillDisk. This program erases all files and overwrites all the drive space on the device so that data recovery of any information on your donated computer is impossible. We take protection of your personal data very seriously.
  • How to donate your cell phone to Goodwill
    If you plan to donate a cell phone, please remove all files and passwords from the phone. Be sure to disconnect your device from any online services used to back up your device, such as iCloud. Finally, be sure your device is not locked and no longer requires a password to access it. Any phone that is password protected must be recycled because we are not able to open the device and reset it back to factory settings to protect your identity. 

Goodwill E-cycle

Go back to the main page

Mission Support Center
Tel: (414) 847-4200

James O. Wright Center forWork & Training
Tel: (414) 353-6400

Metropolitan Chicago -
Tel: (312) 994-1440