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Finding a Home for Old Computers
Sunday 2 January 2005, 9:13 pm
Keywords: Computer Topics
, News Articles
By Mike Musgrove
If getting rid of clutter happens to be one of your New Year's resolutions, nothing will clear up a few cubic feet of space like getting an old computer, monitor or printer out the door.
In most cases, selling that antique hardware won't be an option -- computers lose their value faster than almost any other manufactured product in history. Just tossing them in the trash isn't a good idea either: Most computing gear contains such toxic components as lead, mercury and cadmium.
The simplest choice is one of the computer-recycling programs that many PC vendors run. Gateway (
), Hewlett-Packard (
) and Dell (
) all accept defunct computers regardless of brand. Just pay a processing fee (usually $15 to $35) and pack up the old equipment. A shipper will show up at your door a few days later to whisk it away.
Equipment taken in through such recycling programs will be shipped to facilities built for breaking computers back down to their basic elements. Plastic, glass, steel, aluminum, copper, gold and silver can be recovered and reused; the toxic leftovers will be safely disposed of.
Yet another disposal option for obsolete or deceased hardware is the electronics-recycling events that many local jurisdictions stage once or twice a year. Consult your city or county's Web site for details on any such programs.
Two local computer-user groups, the Capital PC User Group and Washington Apple Pi, have run their own recycling operations for many years, sending aged equipment to needy schools, charities and students.
Some charities don't accept computer donations at all, since they have found that they've gotten stuck with the bill for disposing of computer equipment that can't be put to any use. The local Salvation Army (
), however, will accept old equipment of any vintage, which it will either sell in its thrift stores or use in after-school computer labs.