Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

When Is It Time to Trash Old Tech?

NASA deliberately crashed a $4 billion spaceship into Saturn.

It was inevitable, the space agency said, because the craft was out of fuel and had completed its mission years ago. Plus, it could have contaminated one of Saturn's moons if it crashed there.

So goes the rationale and our tax dollars at work, but it gives pause for earthbound lawyers to ask themselves: when should you trash your old tech? This article is not about upgrading; it's about saving.

Never Trash Cash

If you've ever stooped to pick up a penny, then you honored Benjamin Franklin's phrase: "A penny saved is a penny earned." The same could be said for an old computer.

Apple sold its first computer for $666 in 1976; the same model sold for $905,000 at a New York auction in 2014. Not every computer will become collectible, but it will always be worth something.

Amazon, Best Buy, and other retailers offer trade-in value for old electronics when you are ready to upgrade. Typically, you get a gift card that you can use for any store purchase.

Other websites, like eBay, buy old electronics -- even if they don't work. In other words, you may not want to trash your old tech when you can sell it.

Computers for Charity

Or, if you have a computer that is less than five years old, you may want to give it to someone else. Charities, schools, and other organizations want those old computers.

Usually, a computer's lifespan is about eight years. Refurbishers can often freshen them up, or extract useable parts, and further extend their lives.

Older or broken computers can be recycled, which is better than merely trashing them. It is also more responsible to the environment, including places like Saturn's moons.

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