Reuse and Recycling of Computers, Model Programs

Program Operations

Expanding Computer Access:  Model Programs


Refurbishing is accepting donated items and restoring them to working order. Some programs specialize in the refurbishing of computers. This mission comes with the special challenges inherent with digital technology and software rights managements. Many articles elsewhere in this module offer specific guidance in dealing with those issues. At the program levels, there are a number of programs that may prove helpful as partners or as operational models.

Recycling is the responsible end-of-life disposal of unusable components. Refurbishers need to work with responsible recyclers.

National Programs

National Cristina Foundation  

The National Cristina Foundation (NCF) was founded in 1984. It matches donated computers with needs in schools, charities and public agencies in the United States and Canada and other countries around the world. The program focuses on providing computers to students at risk, people with disabilities and the economically disadvantaged. Redistribution is accomplished through partner programs, not directly to individuals from NCF. Programs may apply to become partners at the NCF web site.

PC Rebuilders & Recyclers

PCRR refurbishes donated computers and distributes them through schools and nonprofit organizations throughout the nation. Applications are available on the web site.

TechSoup Stock

TechSoup Stock offers nonprofit organizations quality refurbished computers formerly used by large corporations at discounted prices. These are machines that are typically phased out after two to three years of use and are in very good condition. Each one is loaded with a new operating system and comes with a 90-day swap warranty. In addition, TechSoup offers local refurbishers a major source of technical information.

State and Regional Programs (some examples)

Cincinnati Computer Cooperative

This area refurbisher distributes computers through schools and nonprofit organizations. It focuses on providing computers for students, seniors and low-income families.


Computer Recycling Center

CRC is a full-scale refurbishment and recycling program serving northern and central California through schools and local agencies. CRC offers state-licensed and certified vocational training programs in computer refurbishment.


Computers for Classrooms, Inc.

Chico, California

This program began in 1991 as a volunteer organization within the school system. It has since expanded its mission beyond refurbishing computers for classrooms to providing them to families. The site includes a guide to managing a refurbishing program.

Reboot ATRC

Tucker, Georgia

Reboot is an Assistive Technology Resource Center managed by the Georgia Tools for Life Program. It refurbishes donated computers for people with disabilities, and customizes new computers for special needs. Since 1997, Reboot has provided thousands of computers and other assistive technology devices to users.

Other Resources

National Computer Recycling Coalition

This is a nonprofit advocacy group for responsible recycling.

Tech Corps 

The Tech Corps program focuses on recruiting technology volunteers to provide teacher training and technical support within local schools and school districts. The Tech Corps model for extending access to digital technology has been successful for over 10 years.  


Please note that by selecting an Internet link you will be directed to an external site, and the Pass It on Center does not control the content of the site.



This work is supported under a five-year cooperative agreement # H235V060016 awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, and is administered by the Pass It On Center of the Georgia Department of Labor – Tools for Life.  However, the contents of this publication do not necessarily represent the policy or opinions of the Department of Education, or the Georgia Department of Labor, and you should not assume endorsements of this document by the Federal government or the Georgia Department of Labor.



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Other Information

Title: Reuse and Recycling of Computers, Model Programs
Module: Program Operations
Author: Trish Redmon
Audience: Implementer
Sub Title: Selected models and resources for refurbishing
Organization Source: Pass It On Center
Last Reviewed: 10-25-2009 5:47 PM