Ways to dispose of old computers
Question : Is there a proper way to dispose of an old computer or to recycle
some of its materials?
Answer : The average computer system contains a variety of recyclable
material, including glass, metal and plastic, and some of it can be reused.
But computers and other electronic equipment can also contain toxic chemicals
like lead, mercury and cadmium that can damage the environment if dumped in a
Reusing, recycling and returning old computers are three options that are
more environmentally friendly than putting a PC out with the trash. If the
machine still works but is too slow or outdated for your needs, you might
consider donating it to a charitable organization for reuse. The National
Cristina Foundation, for example, finds new homes for old computer equipment
throughout its nationwide network of schools, public agencies and nonprofit
organizations. You can learn how to donate at www.cristina.org.
Another nonprofit organization, Share the Technology (sharetechnology.org),
has a database of listings for people wishing to donate used equipment, as
well as a page of Web links devoted to recycling resources. Be sure to erase
any personal information from the old machine before you donate it.
If your old computer is dead or dying, returning it to the manufacturer or
a qualified company to salvage the recyclable materials and dispose of the
rest is another option. Many computer companies have their own environmental
policies and recycling services posted on their websites.
Some of these companies include Dell Computer (www.dell.com/recycling),
Apple Computer (www.apple.com/environment/recycling) and Hewlett-Packard
(www.hp.com/environment). The National Recycling Coalition lists recycling
programs by state at www.nrc-recycle.org/resources/electronics/policy.htm,
although there are a few dead links on the page.