Free Geek is committed to keeping Oregon green. We collect over 1 million pounds of e-waste per year, which is processed, resold or recycled according to the highest environmental, safety and security standards. From a corporation making a tax-deductible donation of used desktop monitors to an individual recycling an out-of-date cell phone, Free Geek turns nearly every type of electronic equipment, in any condition, into an opportunity.
Step one: Donation
Free Geek takes in technology donations of all sizes from businesses and individuals. Anyone can donate at our Free Geek location during our donation hours or by appointment, your donation can be mailed, or you can request a pickup. Free Geek relies on these donations to continue our work toward providing devices to our community. To find out more about this process, click here.
Step two: Data Security
To protect our technology donors’ privacy, data on all devices donated is wiped clean to the highest industry standards or physically destroyed onsite. Computer hard drives that meet our reuse specifications are wiped clean in our hard drive sanitation banks using random data to overwrite the entire drive and rendering the data unrecoverable. The drive is then overwritten again, and finally, batch checked for quality control.
Step three: Break Down & Sort Parts
After the data is fully wiped clean, the devices are moved to our warehouse. Devices are broken down into parts. Then these parts are processed by staff in our warehouse, where approximately 30% of it is moved to our reuse department to turn into usable technology and 70% is moved to the next stage of recycling.
Recycling next steps:
Items that Free Geek can’t reuse, refurbish, or send to one of our carefully selected reuse partners are passed on to our recycling department. It’s there that staff disassemble devices into recyclable components such as steel, plastic, and insulated copper wire. Other items, such as gold bearing circuit boards and monitors, are shipped to recycling partners, which we verify are handling the materials in an environmentally-responsible manner.
Step four: Computer Rebuild
The 30% of waste we are able to reuse and refurbish next goes to one of our multiple rebuild departments: laptops, desktops, Macland, and other devices. These devices are worked on 7 days a week by our incredibly reliable build staff. An individual device can take anywhere from 45 minutes - 2 hours to build without any critical errors.
Step five: Devices to Those in Need
Our technology goes to one of two places: Our programming, or our online store. Our programming currently includes Plug Into Portland, Affordable Tech Program, and Grants- all in which varying groups can secure a device from Free Geek for free or an affordable cost. The technology sold at low prices online through our eBay store helps with proceeds to directly support our educational and outreach programs.