What does Penn do with its old computers?

Dear Benny,
I am a Penn employee and my department recently received new Mac computers, which I love, especially the much larger screen. My old computer, which was also a Mac, was a little aged as far as technology goes, but it was far from ancient and still worked pretty well, especially compared to the computer I use at home. This is the second or third time I have received a new computer since I started working at Penn, and I was wondering, what does Penn do with all the old computers when employees get new ones?
—Loving My New Super Mac

Dear Mr. Mac,
Thank you for reading. We recently received new Macs in our office as well. I agree; they are fantastic (and much faster). We posed your question to Jaron J. Rhodes, director of communications at the Division of Information Systems & Computing (ISC), Penn’s central IT organization. He says ISC’s normal desktop and laptop computer replacement cycle is between three and four years, depending on the utilization. He says ISC manages about 2,000 of the 20,000 University-owned desktop and laptop computers, and the division replaces about 25 percent per year. There are more than 20 schools and centers around Penn, many of which have their own IT staff.

“About 25 percent of the desktop and laptop computers we manage are Macs,” Rhodes says. The remaining 75 percent or so are personal computers.

When employees receive new computers, Rhodes says ISC has several different options. Some computers are upgraded and/or cost-effectively redeployed, some are donated, and some are recycled with environmentally friendly companies.

One of the companies that computers have been donated to is Elemental, Inc., a computer recycling center in Philadelphia devoted to the recycling of e-waste.

“In any case, the information contained on the hard drives is carefully removed or destroyed,” Rhodes says.


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