Westminster IT company recycles computers for charity

Instead of spending more than $3,000 on pizza over the past three years, Westminster-based NoWorriesIT has put that money toward another use.

NoWorriesIT is in the midst of its sixth Recycling Computers for Charity drive, which collects used computers to be recycled with the proceeds then matched by NoWorriesIT and donated to a local charity.

Since 2011, NoWorriesIT has donated $3,207 through the drive to local organizations, including the Arc of Carroll County and Neighbors in Need Year Round, a program of the Human Services Program of Carroll County.

The drive started out as a $250 donation instead of a small pizza party for employees.

"It just started here with us and then we started to find other businesses who wanted to partner with us," NoWorriesIT marketing manager Jean Burgess said.

The company has partnered with five county businesses, which serve as drop-off sites, and All-Shred in Frederick, which will shred the hard drives free of charge this year.

NoWorriesIT, which was formed 15 years ago and has been located in the Westminster Air Park since 2008, started the computer drive when old computers were taking up space in the office.

The event has turned into a biannual drive, once in the fall and once in the winter, and earned NoWorriesIT the Maryland Recycling Network Award of Extraordinary Achievement in 2013.

This fall, NoWorriesIT had its most successful drive in its biannual campaign, collecting 160 computers and donating more than $1,400 to Neighbors in Need Year Round.

"I'm hoping that this one is going to be equally as successful for the Arc," Burgess said.

The networking and computer services company collects non-working computer desktops, laptops, or cables through the program and recycle the items at Decker's.

These items are mostly valuable for the metals, cable copper, and metal board located inside, Burgess said.

They will not accept monitors, keyboards or printers, she said.

Most of the computers come from individuals, but some businesses that might be upgrading their operating systems participate as well, according to Burgess.

While the drive is a useful way for residents to dispose of unwanted computers, Burgess said their goal is also to educate the public about data security and keeping computers out of the landfill.

In years past, NoWorriesIT would erase a computer's hard drive seven times and drill a hole through it, but this year, the company is partnering with All-Shred to dispose of the hard drives.

Sharon Smith, Director of Development for the Arc, said fundraisers like the recycling drive by NoWorriesIT are "vitally important" for the Arc to continue its variety of services for clients.

"I think it's a great program," she said. "We're glad to be a part of it."

Smith said the funds will go into the organization's general fund to be used for a variety of services.

What started out as a spur-of-the-moment idea has turned into something substantial.

"I hope that other tech companies would do something like this," Burgess said. "We have a nice process down after several years and would certainly be willing to share it."

Donations can be made at the following locations:

• NoWorriesIT office: 57 Aileron Court, Suite 14, Westminster

• Cartridge World: 330 140 Village Road, Westminster

• Carroll County Screen Printing: 1 Broad Street, Taneytown

• Edward Jones: 4231 North Woods Trail, Suite C, Hampstead

• S.B. Technology Resource in Mount Airy, to drop off at this location, call 410-608-5299

For more information, contact NoWorriesIT at 410-751-7650.

The drive runs from Jan. 20 through Feb. 14.

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