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What's the Best Way to Recycle Old Tech in the US? 255

Posted by Zonk
from the reuse-for-reduction dept.
Tim Danhamn writes ", a green-focused Web site, has put up an article about the best way to recycle your old tech, including local recycling centers and reusing old technology in other ways. I'm about to upgrade to a new PC and I have a lot of old radios, MP3 players and other electronic goods lying around the house. The article though is mostly about solutions in the UK, so I want to know - what is the best way to recycle old tech in the US?"
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What's the Best Way to Recycle Old Tech in the US?

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  • by Chas (5144) on Friday November 16, 2007 @03:39PM (#21382679) Homepage Journal
    Was going to say "put Linux on it and repurpose", but you're talking about actual junk equipment that can't be salvaged in that way.
    • Re:Damn (Score:4, Interesting)

      by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday November 16, 2007 @03:46PM (#21382805) Homepage Journal
      Realistically....I generally pile it all up with the rest of the trash for the garbage men to pick up. But, I leave it on top, in plain sight. Usually by morning...someone has come along and grabbed most of what is good...and the rest...goes in the garbage truck.

      I don't think I've ever had a monitor or computer make it through the night without a 'dumpster' diver type grabbing it for themselves....

      • Re:Damn (Score:5, Funny)

        by veganboyjosh (896761) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:34PM (#21383393)
        Somewhat on topic...

        Some friends of mine worked in a retail store, and had an old dot matrix printer that still worked, but they were done with. They put it out by the dumpster with a "free" sign on it. It sat by the dumpster for weeks, until one of them went out and put a "$10, inquire inside" sign on it, and it walked off within the hour.
        • Re:Damn (Score:5, Funny)

          by Critical Facilities (850111) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:21PM (#21383931) Homepage
          OK, admittedly off topic, but in a very similar vein and for your amusement:

          Years ago, I was doing some HVAC work at an apartment community. This complex was made up of many buildings with several townhomes in each, all side by side. The electric meters for each townhome were grouped together on the back porch of one of the townhomes in each building. The particular condensing unit we were working on happened to be on the back porch where all the power meters were. While we were fixing it, the lady who lived in the house came out and asked us:

          "Is there any way to make that meter run slower? My "light bill" is too high."

          At this point, the other guy working with me (a real wise ass from NY) doesn't even skip a beat and says very matter of factly:

          "Oh yeah, just put a brick on top of the meter"

          Now it's all I can do to keep from laughing in her face at this point, but somehow I manage. She seems satisfied and goes back inside.

          About a week later, I go back to the same unit to check it out and make sure it's still working fine and EVERY SINGLE METER had a brick on top of it. I bet I laughed for an hour.
      • Re:Damn (Score:4, Insightful)

        by StarvingSE (875139) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:42PM (#21383499)
        You do realize that the reason you're supposed to recycle your electronics properly is to keep heavy metals out of the environment. You mention that dumpster divers take most of the stuff, but anything they don't take ends up in the landfill. I'm not trying to harp on you, but if you throw out old electronics this way out of laziness, you should know the consequences on the environment.
    • by jeffmeden (135043) on Friday November 16, 2007 @03:53PM (#21382877) Homepage Journal
      This is a nice sentiment but not everyone needs *another* linux server hanging around sucking up power. If you need more than one linux machine for personal use (aside from your desktop of choice), you are doing it wrong.
      • by Ngarrang (1023425) on Friday November 16, 2007 @03:59PM (#21382953) Journal

        This is a nice sentiment but not everyone needs *another* linux server hanging around sucking up power. If you need more than one linux machine for personal use (aside from your desktop of choice), you are doing it wrong.
        I dunno. SETI@Home and Folding@Home run better if they are the only app running.
      • Re:Damn (Score:2, Interesting)

        by CSMatt (1175471) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:11PM (#21383129)
        So having several MythTV boxen is suddenly a bad idea?
      • by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday November 16, 2007 @06:32PM (#21384673) Homepage Journal
        "This is a nice sentiment but not everyone needs *another* linux server hanging around sucking up power. If you need more than one linux machine for personal use (aside from your desktop of choice), you are doing it wrong."

        Hmm...lessee...I got a sunfire 280R the other day, and the T3 array for it...not sure what to do with it yet..but, may make it a database/web thing for a project I'm playing with. I have a sun ultra2 with linux on it...that is my dedicated email server....I've got a Dell 6300....dedicated webserver....a Mythtv box (dell pc), and a couple of other assorted ones, file server pcs...older laptops, one in kitchen, others in different rooms for instant access, etc.

        All of them run 24/7....I recycle older hardware, but, I do use and run them...I have a couple MAME boxes running arcade boxes...but, I don't keep those on all the time.

        Anyway, just saying, that it isn't uncommon for people to have multiple computers on all the time....I've got friends with kids and just everyone having a separate personal computer adds up quickly. Not as uncommon as it was a few short years ago. And, with unlimited net need really to shut them off.

    • by PhxBlue (562201) on Friday November 16, 2007 @03:57PM (#21382941) Homepage Journal
      So, Windows then?
  • I know, I know! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by east coast (590680) on Friday November 16, 2007 @03:39PM (#21382683)
    what is the best way to recycle old tech in the US?


    Seriously, what better way to not trash something by getting what life (or parts) are left in it?

    People get some good money for hardly working/not working tech on EBay just for parts alone. And hell, you may have no use for that old P350 but someone else on there just might. Why not let them have it for a few bucks+shipping?
    • list of resources (Score:3, Informative)

      by Presto Vivace (882157) <> on Friday November 16, 2007 @03:54PM (#21382903) Homepage Journal
      Fairfax County, Virginia [] maintains a list of recyclers.
    • Re:I know, I know! (Score:5, Informative)

      by LordSnooty (853791) on Friday November 16, 2007 @03:55PM (#21382913)
      Good idea, but is it cost-effective if you only have a few items to sell? Can I be certain that I won't end up paying listing fees and failing to get rid of the equipment? Not to mention the hassle arranging shipping for bulky items. No doubt a million people will post this but a good solution which gets the equipment to people in the local area is Freecycle [].
      • by porcupine8 (816071) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:09PM (#21383091) Journal
        A couple years ago I tried to get rid of a 166mhz Dell running Redhat 6.5 (it couldn't take anything newer than that) on Freecycle. Couldn't give the thing away, and this was in a college town. The local thrift stores wouldn't take anything more than 5 years old, either. Luckily, my school started a computer recycling program so I was finally able to give it them.
        • Re:I know, I know! (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Tore S B (711705) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:24PM (#21383279) Homepage
          Speaking as a computer history freak - Pentium 166s are not old enough to be fun, and they're too old to be useful.

          They're outdone by embedded chips in washing machines. No, really.
          • Re:I know, I know! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by vux984 (928602) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:39PM (#21383459)
            Actually, they are right smack dab in the sweet spot for classic PC gaming, which are notoriously difficult to get running under windows or in emulation programs because they heavily direct access to video hardware, dos interupts, and required as much of that 640kb main memory as you could possibly give it [I recall having autoexec/config setups that dropped support for the CDrom, and used an 8kb mouse driver to run a particular game that actually came on CD. I had to do a full install of the game from CD, and then run the game without CD support in order to have enough RAM. These games were also pretty cpu clock sensitive.

            I keep series of early PCs around for precisely this reason. Getting games like XCOM, Masters of Orion II, Might and Magic IV, Star Control II, Echelon, Privateer I/II, Wing Commander I/II/III, etc, etc can excruciatingly hard to get going without sound issues, with the proper framerate, with multiplayer (null modem) support etc...

            I can be almost impossible unless running on real hardware from the era.

            A P166 would make a good platform for late dos era games, and early win95 games.
            • by Nimey (114278) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:30PM (#21384031) Homepage Journal
              OTOH if you've got a fast modern PC and DOSBox, your old DOS games will run quite well.

              For reference, I've got a C2D E6300, 2 GB of RAM, and a GeForce 7900 GS. With DOSBox 0.72 under Windows XP, I can run Duke Nukem 3D at 320x200 between 50 and 70 FPS, and 640x480 at 30-50 FPS (obtained via FRAPS).
              • by vux984 (928602) on Friday November 16, 2007 @06:30PM (#21384649)
                OTOH if you've got a fast modern PC and DOSBox, your old DOS games will run quite well.

                Some of them will. A pile of them won't, or will run with 'issues'. And throwing more hardware at the problem doesn't help.

                DOSBox still presents all kinds of glitches ranging from minor to unplayable. Some games work flawlessly, like Doom and Duke Nukem 3D... but then games like Mechwarrior II, or Destruction Derby 2 are practically unplayable, while games from the Wing Commander series all seem to require tweaking dosbox settings left and right to get the joystick and sound responding right...

                For me, dropping a few bucks on some 'vintage' hardware resulted in a better overall experience than any and all of the emulators and virtualization products I've tried. I like the convenience of DosBox like products and use them with games that work well with them, but nothing beats real hardware on those old games, especially the picky ones or the ones dosbox has gotten around to sorting out the issues with.
      • Re:I know, I know! (Score:5, Informative)

        by keithjr (1091829) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:11PM (#21383123)
        If Ebay isn't cost effective for you, then you can always try Craigslist [], if a subnet exists for your area. It's free to post ads, and you get the benefit of dealing locally. I've sold or given away hardware this way before to ensure it doesn't wind up in a landfill. Your contact info is anonymous (until you reply to responses). It's good to be able to make the exchange face-to-face rather than over email only. Of course, the usual "Don't be Stupid" rules apply to scams and jerks, etc. I highly recommend it.
    • Re:I know, I know! (Score:3, Informative)

      by bensafrickingenius (828123) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:02PM (#21382985)
      "Seriously, what better way..."

      Here's a better way: []. They use the stuff to train at-risk youth in the tech trades. Drop-offs are free, pickups have a small fee ($150 for a semi-load -- they even palletize for you!). I send about 3 semis worth to them each year. The link is to a place in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They might be able to help you find a similar program in your area.
    • by Roadkills-R-Us (122219) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:06PM (#21383059) Homepage
      ...and maybe even usenet. And whatever similar sources you like.

      The best recycling is always as close to original use as possible. Free stuff gets picked up pretty fast from craigslist in my experience (used to work for usenet, but the spammers and jerks ran everyone off). You can always put stiplations on it, which aren't binding, but at least encourage people.

      I recently got rid of over 6 linear feet of technical books I no longer need this way, and several old computers. A geek picked the books up, and will sell or donate the ones he doesn't need (it was an all or nothing pickup). The computers went to a guy who reuses all the good parts to put together computers for himself, friends, whoever. I didn't even ask if he charges; I just needed them gone and he'll use them as much as possible.
    • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:04PM (#21383741)
      Craig's List is a good alternative to EBay.

    • Re:I know, I know! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lord sibn (649162) on Friday November 16, 2007 @08:39PM (#21385835)
      You can count on anything you sell on eBay finding its way to a landfill.

      Your desire to recycle tech is not passed on to your buyer, who is merely looking for cheap stuff.

      That is not recycling.

      There has to be SOMETHING better than eBay for this.
  • by nebaz (453974) on Friday November 16, 2007 @03:42PM (#21382725)
    Scarily enough, even "recyclers" may not be doing the right thing here. I've enclosed an interesting link from the NPR series "Consumed" which talks about how
    the US sends vast electronic garbage to China, and how some of the materials may be finding their way back here, in a not-so good way.

    link []
    • by TallMatt (818744) on Friday November 16, 2007 @03:47PM (#21382815)
      Most recyclers will take circuit boards (PCB's) and give you decent money for them. They melt them down to get all the copper out. Copper is not cheap.
    • by untorqued (957628) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:00PM (#21383689)

      The Electronics Takeback Coalition [] runs a computer takeback campaign and maintains a list of electronics recyclers [] who they have deemed "responsible" based on a pledge the listed recyclers have signed onto. The pledge includes no exporting, no sending to prisons (where labor safety standards are often nonexistent or unenforced), and not sending it to landfills or incinerators.

      Here in San Francisco, I regularly bring recycling to Computer Recycling Center [] dropoffs. They even do pickups if you have at least 10 items to recycle at once.

    • by snowblind (175857) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:10PM (#21383801)
      I was in Tokyo this summer and met a woman from Hong Kong who was giving a presentation at the university on how polluted areas of China are getting because of all the computer trash. The United States and Japan are the two worst offenders of this.

      China's idea of "recycling" is having lower income people burn the old parts in open drums to reclaim the metals. This process dumps tons of burned plastic residue, PCB's and metals such as mercury all over the local landscape. There are areas of China that are becoming almost inhabitable. Birth defects are increasing. The study she did went so far as to measure the significant increase in these chemicals in breast milk.

      For most of these chemicals they were tracking, the only places in the world that higher concentrations in the environment were in areas of Taiwan where a lot of this is manufactured.

      From a financial perspective US companies that are moving manufacturing to China are not really saving any money on the manufacturing costs. (My wife worked in the finance department for a major power tool manufacturer and others have shared similar stories) Where they are saving money is in not having to provide all the controls and filters that the EPA is requiring at their facilities. The Chinese government has been willing to sell the future health of the country in the name of economic progress. And American companies are all too willing to oblige.
  • "Freecycle" (Score:5, Informative)

    by flaming error (1041742) on Friday November 16, 2007 @03:42PM (#21382731) Journal
    One great way is just to give it away to anyone who wants it. Try this link to Freecycle [], where there's a list of groups for areas within the US and around the world.
    • Re:"Freecycle" (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16, 2007 @03:54PM (#21382901)
      Freecycle is unbelievable.

      Every time we have listed something, I said to myself "there is no way anyone wants that crap." And every time we immediately get multiple takers.

      We listed the plants in a flowerbed we were going to pave over and within a couple of days someone came to our house, dug them out and carted them off.
  • by kawabago (551139) on Friday November 16, 2007 @03:44PM (#21382757)
    Send it to the UK
  • Freegeek! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16, 2007 @03:44PM (#21382763)
    Freegeek [], in Portland, Oregon, is the best recycling option around. They recycle old monitors and equipment in an environmentally safe way. They use functional equipment to train people to work on hardware and install open source operating systems. Volunteers earn a refurbished system after volunteering 24 hours of time.
    • Re:Freegeek! (Score:3, Informative)

      by pluther (647209) <> on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:24PM (#21383961) Homepage
      Second the vote for Freegeek in Portland.

      A little further south, in Eugene, Oregon Geeks Without Borders [] does a similar thing, with a more international focus.

      And, for actual junk, Nextstep Recycling and Computer Re-Use [] in Eugene will take almost anything, though they charge a fee for monitors, as just about everybody does.

      Disclaimer: I helped found Geeks Without Borders, and currently sit on the board. I also helped with the startup of MacRenewal, the predecessor organization to Nextstep Recycling.

    • by SydShamino (547793) on Friday November 16, 2007 @06:15PM (#21384501)
      Here in Austin, Goodwill has a computer center that resells donated equipment. But, also, they've partnered with Dell to offer recycling of all computer electronics as well. So there's no need to separate the good from the bad. Give it all to the local Goodwill, and they'll put people to work learning how to test hardware and either bin it for safe recycling or put it up for resale and reuse.

      I've taken the time to tape a "Good" or "Bad" sticker to the top of my electronics as I retire them, just because there are some things (like a motherboard with a north bridge that liked to lock up during 3d video rendering) that no tech is going to find, and I don't want that reused.
  • Nooooooooo! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16, 2007 @03:44PM (#21382773)
    As much as I like recycling. There are collectors for EVERYTHING. Please do a minimum search, even on eBay to see if someone would like to buy your "junk" before you consider sending it to get recycled. I collect old DEC computers (PDP & VAX) and I've seen too many good old "classic" computers get recycled that lots of people would probably enjoy tinkering with. Old radios are probably the same. One mans junk is another mans collectable

  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Friday November 16, 2007 @03:50PM (#21382837)

    DVD / DVD rw drives are still useful in new systems.

    Your old floppy drive will still work in your new system.

    Older HD can go in to ext cases or be used as a temp / swap disk in new system as well.

    Old mac G4 and G5 parts sell good on ebay like the cpus with HS, MB as well the PSU's and cases also DDR 1 ram is still used in many systems older but still in use systems.

    High end sounds that a 1-2 years old are still better then todays on board sound.

    Other pci cards that you used in the past likely will still work in your new system.

    You use also reuse a old case and the fans from it in a new system as well.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16, 2007 @03:53PM (#21382875)
    " what is the best way to recycle old tech in the US?""

    Give it to a pack rat. They'll pile it up with their other...treasures. Soon you'll read about the guy who couldn't get out of his house because the doors and windows were blocked.
  • Working computer (Score:2, Informative)

    by kanwisch (202654) on Friday November 16, 2007 @03:55PM (#21382915)
    Donating it to a non-profit organization is a possibility. The one I volunteer for is very picky since we have funds to have up-to-date materials but many do not. Further, some have the volunteers to reimage them as basic web browsers for less fortunate families who receive them as handouts. Of course, it has to be working.

    This idea falls into the "Local Charity Shops". The main targets are probably either very large churches, private schools, and maybe very small churches. Heck, even the local Animal Shelter might be able to use an extra system. And then you could write-off some nominal sum on your taxes too.
  • What I do (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lxy (80823) on Friday November 16, 2007 @03:56PM (#21382935) Journal
    I have a process for getting rid of old crap. The nice thing is I usually break even (or so).

    Step 1: Find a local hamfest. Hamfests are held all around the country. Keep an eye out for the bigger ones. There's one in my town once a year, and it's one of the bigger ones around. I nab a table for $10, load it up with old crap, and try to sell it cheap. Minus the cost of the table and gas, I usually make a hundred here. Don't get excited yet. You'll need that money.

    Step 2: Find a local recycling program. It just so happens that the county I live in has a recycling facility, and since their focus is not making money as much as it is proper disposal, they're the cheaper option. What I don't sell at hamfest gets taken there. Usually I ring up a good size bill, so financed by option 1 is a good thing.

    Step 3: Find food. With the $20 or so left over after all expenses are paid, go eat. Now you just emptied the basement, did so responsibly, and got pizza out of the deal.
  • by EaglemanBSA (950534) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:00PM (#21382973)
    It would be a much more effective quesiton if it was less general than "old tech". What, specifically, are you looking to recycle?
  • by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:04PM (#21383019)
    Our organization uses Intercon Recycling [] We've recycled several tons (metric) of IT equipment with them.

    Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with them. We choose them solely because they guaranteed in writing that all of the IT waste would be processed in the US (not shipping to China) and that none of the IT waste would hit the landfill waste stream (everything is smelted down and recycled).

  • ... Just bury it all, by far the easiest way. If you shrink wrap it, you can always dig it up later if you need it...
  • by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:06PM (#21383055)
    I would say, donate them to charitable causes, give them to people who do not have them, garage sales, or sell to used computer stores, ebay, etc, people who dont have computers etc. Linux is great for older computers since it can still be run with older window managers and such that run well on older hardware. It is terrible to allow perfectly good computers that work fine except they are not the latest and greatest to end up in landfills. There ought to be a law against throwing away useable old electronics and such, both to keep them out of land fills for environmental purposes and for them to be used by others who might gain benefit from them.
  • Targets (Score:5, Funny)

    by kaoshin (110328) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:07PM (#21383061)
    Many old technological devices can be recycled into targets for practicing small arms fire.
  • by FranTaylor (164577) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:07PM (#21383063)
    People are talking about collectors for working stuff, but I have a rather remarkable pile of old Western Digital and DeathStar hard drives, all dead as doornails. All my Seagate drives are all still working, even the really old 1 Gb SCSI drives, so I learned my lesson there. I also have dead monitors, burned-out power supplies, etc. Nobody wants this crap! It's not good for anything!
  • by Junior Samples (550792) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:08PM (#21383081)
    The technology we bury in today's land fills will become buried treasure to archaeologists 1000 or 5000 years for now.

    Just imaging discovering technology that is 5000 years old, especially if there is a world wide cataclysm and the technology is lost.
  • by Solandri (704621) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:09PM (#21383099)
    If you're a member, Costco now has a recycling program [] through Greensight. Shipping is free at the moment, and newer items may qualify for a trade-in value (paid via a Costco CashBack card).

    Freecycle [] has already been mentioned elsewhere.

    • by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:09PM (#21383787)
      I was curious about the program, so I checked the website out. Also, below is a response to a question from their customer service team: to me

      Dear *my name removed*,

      I'll be happy to answer your question. We do not send any of our equipment to China or any other country for processing. Some product is recycled within the USA in an environmentally friendly manner, other items that have some value are disassembled (at our facility) down to their component parts for use in the repair and service industry. It may be possible that a customer who purchases one or more of the resulting components for some type of repair operation may be in any country, but we do not send anything outside of the US for recycling/reprocessing. I hope this information has been helpful.

      *customer service rep name removed*
      The CostcoTrade-In and Recycle Program Team

  • Just throw it away (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Wise Dragon (71071) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:31PM (#21383339) Homepage
    Just throw it away, i.e. put it a properly sealed landfill. Someday someone will come along with a Plasma Gasification rig (google it) and distill it into its component materials safely and efficiently. Recycling is just a waste of time and money, whether its your time and money or someone else's.
  • Staples (Score:3, Informative)

    by manniwood (531020) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:36PM (#21383425)
    Staples stores accept big stuff, like computers, for $10, and small stuff, like batteries and cell phones, for free. I've done this for a few months now. Check on the website.
  • One word: (Score:3, Funny)

    by csoto (220540) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:36PM (#21383427)

  • by Bryansix (761547) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:38PM (#21383449) Homepage
    when we had old things laying around (tech or otherwise) that didn't function anymore we would have a "physics project". Simply put this involves taking said object to a tall building or bridge and launching the object off of it while we observed the effect physics had on the object. It was quite scientific and was responsible for a vast majority of my learning in College. The other factor in my learning was filling beer bottles up with water to just the right point where if you slap your hand on it the bottom would fall out.
  • Donate your stuff. (Score:3, Informative)

    by urcreepyneighbor (1171755) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:39PM (#21383461)

    Donate your stuff.

    Also, check out your city's or county's website. They may have local programs for recycling old hardware.

    Oh, yeah, you could also donate all your stuff to me.... :)

    • Most of the places that take old computers require them to be 3-5 years old (or newer) with valid Windows licenses. That precludes Macs and systems that don't have a valid windows license. For instance, I had a Dell PowerEdge server I bought used for $50. I couldn't recycle it even though it was a 550 mhz xeon with 512MB RAM, 40 GB of storage (2 scsi disks), a cdrom and ati rage card. Granted by today's standards it was slow, but BSD and Linux ran great on it. It could have worked as a surfing machine for someone. Likewise, I have my mothers old Celeron 700mhz HP that I fixed up. It can run XP, but she doesn't have the restore CD for Windows ME. It can run Linux or BSD fine. The unit doesn't have enough RAM for me to use it for testing software so it just sits there.

      I haven't been able to give machines away and most places charge to recycle. I don't want to pay $20 to get rid of my junk. It didn't sell on ebay either.
  • by Mycroft_514 (701676) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:45PM (#21383533) Journal
    Whenever I have an older computer, I have pushed it down the stack. My computer goes to my wife and so on down until the bottom level pops out. That computer is usually given to the public school system. And I get a nice tax write off.
  • Sculptures (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Paul_Hindt (1129979) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:50PM (#21383579) Homepage
    Some people take old electronics and make sculptures out of it. This lady [] makes moving animals out of old electronics junk. If I also recall there was a guy back in the early 2000's that made a life-size dinosaur sculpture out of old electronics gear...I couldn't find a link to it though, I think I saw it in Wired Mag. Apparently the point of the dinosaur was to represent how much electronics junk the average American consumed in their lifetime. I am sure there are plenty of other examples of such a thing.
  • Donate to a charity (Score:3, Informative)

    by azav (469988) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:51PM (#21383585) Homepage Journal
    I started a charity for this purpose.

    If you have old equipment that you'd like to donate to a charity, we'll put linux on it (if it's a PC) and ship it to poor kids in a developing nation.

    If you're interested, feel free to email me at zavPublic (at) mac (dot) com

    The link below is our first shipment. []

    - Zav
  • by Animats (122034) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:56PM (#21383643) Homepage

    Wierd Stuff Warehouse in Mountain View, CA offers free electronics recycling. If it works, they'll put it up for sale; if not, they'll scrap it properly.

    Good place to get CRT monitors cheap, if you want one.

  • by Notquitecajun (1073646) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:56PM (#21383647)
    I have a Dell flat-panel monitor that's dead (screen doesn't work)...died 2-3 months after warranty expired. What can I do with it?
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:03PM (#21383717) Homepage Journal
    I like to put prepaid SIMs into old GSM phones I don't use, and leave them in the car and at home as backups or for visitors. But most SIMs still expire after a while, which seems like a scam to me (since the telcos don't refund their cost). CDMA phones do no good.

    But I wish they could all be unlocked to use a low-power accesspoint in my home. The Bluetooth ones would be good as remote controls, if a Java or native applet could harness them.
  • by CleverDan (728966) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:19PM (#21383907)
    Whatever you do, don't just donate it to a school or non-profit charity, like we hear so often. Our need for a Pentium 2 or older P3, or an old G3 or G4 Mac isn't as great as you may think it is.

    Yes, there are some places where any bit of hardware would be welcome, but the greater majority of NPOs need decent (read 2-4 year old) PCs, not the dinosaur in the basement. We need to access many of those blasted Flash-based sites, and old hardware just won't cut it like it anymore.

    If possible, donate to a third-party refurbisher like this []. Read through this [] for ideas on what NPOs really need. If you do want to donate an old beast that "runs Linux just fine", I encourage you to donate your time to teach and keep the machine up, too. It's hard to break the MS Charity Licensing habit, but it can be done with your help.

    Please do the responsible thing, and don't donate your old tech to avoid paying to have it recycled. We barely have money to buy new parts and equipment, we don't have enough to pay for recycling the old stuff so you don't have to.

    IDWAANPO: I do work at a non-profit.

  • by nightsweat (604367) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:39PM (#21384115)
    Post it on Digg?
  • by kenh (9056) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:40PM (#21384125) Homepage Journal
    I just found ouot about this program [] started over the summer by Dell & Goodwill in selected areas around the US - apparently, they strip down and sell off basic parts (plastic pellets, copper, etc.) as reclaimed commodities. I'm going to give it a try this week end (I want to get a car in the garage this winter ;^)


  • FreeGeek (Score:3, Informative)

    by steveha (103154) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:59PM (#21384339) Homepage
    If you live within a reasonable drive of FreeGeek, you could always drop off your old computer junk. If your computer is working and at least a Pentium II or a PowerPC Mac, they will install free software on it and give it to someone who can use it; otherwise they will responsibly recycle it. The headquarters is in Portland, OR but there are branches elsewhere. []

    Is there a FreeGeek branch near you? []

    Guidelines for what they will take []

    What they do with the stuff you give them []

  • by monopole (44023) on Friday November 16, 2007 @06:08PM (#21384433)
    Those old electronics units are full of lead! By now China is probably running out of lead to paint children's toys with! The scary part is that it's almost true. []
  • by SallyShears (451561) on Friday November 16, 2007 @10:13PM (#21386541) Homepage Journal
    I took a three old laptop batteries to my local Radio Shack where they advertise free recycling for your old rechargeable batteries.

    The guy behind the counter said, "That's fine, but if you really care about recycling, just know that if you leave them here, they'll go into the trash. I've never seen the battery recycle bin go anywhere else." I was astounded. I thanked him for his honesty and kept the batteries.

    What's your experience with free recycling of batteries and the like at Radio Shack or other retailers?

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -- Wernher von Braun