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We desperately need to minimize the amount of electronics that become e-waste if we want to minimize the harm it does to our planet. 

Luckily, we have an ever-growing cohort of individuals and organizations that are donating more and more technology to us every year!

Unfortunately, plenty of these well-intentioned donations aren’t able to be refurbished and distributed for one small reason: incorrect packaging.

We want to empower potential technology donors with the information they need to make the biggest impact possible with their electronics donations!

Below, we’ll cover: the general dos and don’ts of packaging electronics; how to palletize electronics for donations; how to package large electronics in Gaylord boxes; and how to package peripheral technology in Gaylord boxes. 

So, let’s get into it!

Best Practices for Packing Electronics Donations 

Right off the bat, let’s cover some good rules of thumb to follow when you donate technology to nonprofits.

Do…

  • Send power cords and other relevant plugs, being sure to label which cords/plugs go with which pieces of equipment 

This ensures that we have the ability to test your devices for usability without having to purchase additional equipment ourselves

  • Take out any removable electronic components from your devices

Remove detachable components from your devices like USB drives to minimize the risk of something getting jammed or lodged during transit or processing 

  • Be overly cautious about over- or under-packing your boxes 

Tightly pack your gaylords with lightweight packing material so nothing moves around inside during transit; however, don’t pack the box so full that it bulges or overflows

Don’t…

  • Pack fragile items in ways that make them susceptible to damage 

The last thing we want is for valuable technology to get damaged, so please don’t do things like pack monitors with screens facing each other or leave TVs attached to stands

  • Pack lots of different sizes of electronics in the same layer of a box 

Try to comfortably pack similarly-sized items together on each layer of your gaylord to minimize the potential for damage caused by different-sized items scraping against one another 

  • Pack different  types of electronics on the same pallet 

For simplicity’s sake, try to pack all monitors together, all computer towers together, all hard drives together, etc., without overpacking or overstuffing your gaylord

How to Palletize Large Electronics for Transport 

Now that we’ve covered the dos and don’ts for packaging used electronics, let’s run through a quick overview of how to package large electronic devices for transport. 

The ideal way to package large used electronics for transport is to carefully stack them on top of pallets and bind them with shrink wrap from top to bottom. Large electronic equipment includes items like desktop towers, laptops, monitors, and other multi-function devices. 

To properly palletize your used electronics donation, follow our easy process below:

  1. Place a cardboard insert on the bottom of the pallet

  2. Position each piece of electronic equipment flat on the cardboard insert; make sure to follow our dos and don’ts above to avoid overstuffing your pallet

  3. After you’ve finished positioning your equipment, shrink-wrap this layer and place another cardboard insert on top before starting a new layer

  4. Repeat this process of stacking equipment and cardboard inserts up to a height of five feet

  5. Once you’ve reached a height of five feet, place cardboard stiffeners on the corners of your pallet to boost vertical stability; these stiffeners should sit at least eight inches atop the pallet

  6. After you’ve placed the cardboard stiffeners in the corners, begin shrink-wrapping your combined layers of electronics, starting from the bottom of the pallet

  7. Label your pallet with your organization name, the date it was packaged, the item count and weight, and whether or not there is special equipment inside 

In the event you don’t have enough large electronic equipment to fill up a pallet, or if you’re donating smaller electronics, scroll down to the section on packaging large electronic equipment in gaylord boxes. 

How to Package Large and Small Electronics in Gaylord Boxes

In some cases, donors have a ton of large electronic equipment but not enough to fill up a pallet while, in others, they may have a myriad of smaller electronics they want to get rid of. In either situation, we highly encourage packing the donated electronics in sturdy gaylord boxes. 

To properly package your electronics in gaylord boxes, follow our process below:

  1. Secure a Gaylord box on a pallet

  2. Position each piece of electronic equipment inside of the box, making sure to keep like-sized and similar-shaped items together 
    1. Small, peripheral electronics should be placed in groups and labeled as belonging to a certain, other piece of equipment: chargers of one kind of laptop together, keyboards of one type of PC together, mice together, etc

  3. Encase each layer of donated equipment in secure packing materials like bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and other proper materials to provide cushion

  4. As you complete each layer within the box, place a cardboard insert on top of the finished layer before starting a new layer

  5. Stop packing the Gaylord once you have six inches of space left at the top to avoid overfilling; if your Gaylord is bulging out, unpack the box until it is even on all sides

  6. After you finish packing the Gaylord, tape the box shut and mark which side is up clearly on the outside of the box

  7. Label your Gaylord with your organization name, its packaging date, the number and weight of items inside, and whether or not there is special equipment inside 

Maximize Your Donations’ Impact by Correctly Packaging Technology 

If it feels like this is a lot to take in, don’t worry – it is. However, we’re confident that our donors will be glad they have this information. 

After all: our donors have proven to us time and again they’re willing to go the extra mile to positively impact our planet and its people. 

That’s why we know that, as time goes on, we’ll see more and more beautifully packaged technology come through our doors that’s ready to be refurbished and redistributed to people who need it. 
The sooner we can minimize the amount of usable technology that has to become e-waste due to incorrect packaging, the more individuals we can empower with life-changing technology.

Lo Terry

About Lo Terry