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Many Happy Returns

If you’re planning to replace your personal computer, this weekend’s sales tax holiday is an inviting time to shop. But what will you do with your old machine?

Thanks to a new partnership between NCSU Libraries and the nonprofit Kramden Institute in Durham, it could find a new home with a student who might otherwise not be able to afford what most of us take for granted—a good computer for school work.

In With the New

North Carolina’s sales tax holiday provides a chance to save on a computer purchase for yourself or your family this weekend. For dramatic effect, it begins a minute after midnight on Friday, Aug. 5, and ends a minute before midnight on Sunday, Aug. 7.

The tax exemption covers computers with a sales price of $3,500 or less. (The monitor, keyboard, mouse or set of speakers is only tax-free if bought as part of a computer package). Computer supplies, such as a flash drive or printer, can be purchased without paying sales tax as along as each item is under $250.

For details about tax-free purchases of computers, textbooks, school supplies, clothing, sports equipment and other items, visit the Department of Revenue site.

Out with the Old

Here’s how to find a home for your former computer and keep any dinosaur equipment you might have out of the landfill.

Through Aug. 12, NCSU Libraries will accept computer donations at the main circulation desk at D.H. Hill Library. Newer computers (under five years old) can be refurbished through the Kramden Institute, a Durham nonprofit dedicated to bridging the digital divide by donating home computers to students who can’t afford them. Kramden also resells donated equipment to support its work and provides safe disposal of unusable equipment with a small donation.

The following items can be reused, resold or recycled.

Equipment Donated to Students

  • PCs less than five years old (800 MHz or higher processor)
  • PC hard drives 20 GB and larger
  • Laptops 800 MHz or higher
  • PCMCIA wireless cards for laptops
  • LCD monitors
  • USB flash (thumb) drives 64 MB or higher
  • PC memory 256 MB and higher
  • CDRW or DVD drives

Equipment/Supplies for Resale

  • Routers, switches, or hubs (particularly gigabit switches)
  • Apple computers in working order, less than 3 years old
  • New printer cartridges or laser printer toner in original boxes

Recycling for Older Equipment

Most nonprofits won’t accept donations of used computers and peripherals, and as of July 1, it’s illegal to throw away dinosaur equipment, with its heavy metals. To provide safe disposal, Kramden will also accept the following items accompanied by a donation of at least $10 per item.

  • PCs more than five years old
  • Printers
  • Scanners
  • CRT monitors


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