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What Should I Do With My Tech Junk? 521

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-got-a-whole-closet-full dept.
Thomas Matysik writes "I'm attempting to de-clutter my house and I've hit a rough patch: the computer room. I've got a bunch of wires, hardware and software that (I think) were useful at one point in time, but these days it doesn't do much more than take up space. Selling it seems like it'd be a huge hassle and it seems really wasteful for me to just pitch all of this stuff in the dumpster. I've considered giving it away to Goodwill, but I'm afraid that's not the right sort of outlet for this stuff. My question: what should I do with all of my tech junk?"
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What Should I Do With My Tech Junk?

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  • by RMH101 (636144) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:07AM (#24566883)
    ...and use the cash to fund more future tech landfill, obviously.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I think one of his points was that selling it, either in real life or online, would be too much of a hassle.

      • by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:30AM (#24567263) Homepage Journal
        I've gone through this, as I'm sure many of us have...with tech and not-tech clutter. You try to give it away, sell it, kid yourself that you'll find "some use" for it some day.

        Short answer is...at some point, you really do have to say fuck it, and throw it in the trash.

        Once I've accepted that, my home suddenly isn't cluttered, has more space and room for me to actually use the stuff I do have that is useful!!

        At some point, it IS worth it to throw it all to the curb, and let the garbagemen take it away.

        At the very least, put the stuff you think might be useful outtside or on top of the cans. Down here in New Orleans...often that stuff will disappear overnight. I've left old monitors and computers and gear out overnight for the trash, and very rarely do I ever see it in the morning still on the pile. If the stuff isn't good enough for the dumpster divers, then off it goes to 'trash land'.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:41AM (#24567429)

          I've found the best way to get junk to disappear overnight is to put a sign on it reading "For sale: $10"

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by oldspewey (1303305)

          throw it all to the curb, and let the garbagemen take it away

          ... and once it is securely buried in a nearby landfill, it will leach toxic metals into your groundwater for centuries.

          Please take whatever steps are necessary to ensure your e-waste is properly recycled ... even if that costs you a few bucks.

        • by magarity (164372) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @10:19AM (#24568043)

          I've left old monitors and computers and gear out overnight for the trash
           
          Computers and misc gear aren't that bad in the big scheme of things, but please, take CRTs to a recycler. Those things are full of nasty heavy metals and chemicals. Even if "everyone does it" they're bad enough that saving yours from the landfill makes a difference.
           
          OK, OK, so the "recycler" will just ship it to China where it will be melted down in the open but that's another rant.

          • by jslarve (1193417) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @10:38AM (#24568405)
            For those who don't know, Goodwill will take your CRTs for recycle. At least the one near me did, not too long ago. Not sure about LCD. And, yes, I actually did tell them that the monitor was not functional. :-)
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by chefmonkey (140671)

            OK, OK, so the "recycler" will just ship it to China where it will be melted down and sold as dog food but that's another rant.

            There. Fixed that for ya.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by couchslug (175151)

            "OK, OK, so the "recycler" will just ship it to China where it will be melted down in the open but that's another rant."

            A common way to "recycle" monitors is to whack them with a sledge, grab the copper, and pitch the rest. I wouldn't expect anything out of "recycling" them other than feeling good about the faint possibility the parts were properly processed.

        • by sm62704 (957197) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @10:48AM (#24568559) Journal

          You try to give it away, sell it, kid yourself that you'll find "some use" for it some day.

          I met a rich old man once (early 1980s) who said the secret to his success was never throw anything away. A friend of his needed some cash when the Great Depression hit, to buy a couple of mules and a wagon. So he bought his friend's old Model-T ford for fifteen bucks, just as a favor. He had no use for it and stored it in his barn.

          Some time in the 1950s someone saw it and paid the guy a hundred thousand dollars for it, which was quite a sum of cash back then. He invested the hundred grand and was a multimillionaire when I met him.

          My main computer went titsup a couple of months ago, so I dragged an old one out of the baseement. Last weekend I finally got around to moving the hard drives from the PC with the bad power supply to the old Dell someone had given me.

          The Dell had only one power cable for a hard drive; there were no spares. Looking through all my computer junk I found an old chip fan that was powered by a jumper cable with a male drive power supply on one end and a female on the other. I cut the double drive supply out of the broken computer, and spliced it to half of the supply for the chip fan.

          Probably saved myself five or ten bucks, certainly it took less time than a trip to Best Buy or Radio Shack.

          If you have room for it, keep it.

          • by penguin_dance (536599) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @11:59AM (#24569839)

            I met a rich old man once (early 1980s) who said the secret to his success was never throw anything away.

            That would have to be one really cherry car to have gotten that much for it in the 50's!

            But for every millionaire that happen to collect the right thing, the old baseball card or rare comic book, I'll bet there are at least 100 old people with newspaper and trash stacked to the ceiling because they can't force themselves to part with any of it.

            I go by the 3 rules of cleaning out junk:

            1. Am I using it now? If yes, then keep.
            2. Is it something sentimental? If yes, then keep (and maybe find a way to display it instead of it sitting in a box gathering dust.)
            3. Is it something that I might find a use for later? THROW IT OUT!

        • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOsPAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @12:36PM (#24570467) Journal

          If the machine runs,ask you local churches if anyone needs a free PC. I just gave away a 366MHz Celeron running dual boot DSL and Win98SE and there is a single mom out there whose kid is doing his homework on it using DSL. I have run into several folks whom I have given computers to over the years and they are still running quite happily,though they have usually passed through a few hands by then. You can also use the Open Office Wizard to take any old machine with DSL or Puppy installed and turn it into a single purpose appliance.

          There is a really nice local church that does a lot of work with migrant workers that is using an old 233MHz with 128Mb of RAM that I got from an office upgrade as a simple database. I took all of twenty minutes running the Open Office Base wizard a few times and now they are using it to keep track of donations of food and money,patron lists,mailing lists,etc. There are a lot of folks out there that could use a running machine,and DSL and Puppy run beautifully on as little as a 200Mhz with 96Mb,so stuff we would consider junk can still be quite useful. As for working parts either Goodwill or Freecycle will work,and I have gotten parts to finish out a donated machine out of Goodwill in the past. I hope this helps,and remember that stuff we consider old crap could be really useful to someone who has almost nothing. But as always this is my 02c,YMMV

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          At the very least, put the stuff you think might be useful outtside or on top of the cans. Down here in New Orleans...often that stuff will disappear overnight. I've left old monitors and computers and gear out overnight for the trash, and very rarely do I ever see it in the morning still on the pile. If the stuff isn't good enough for the dumpster divers, then off it goes to 'trash land'.

          If it weren't for this, I'd never upgrade my stuff. Now that gigabit is out, I finally upgraded my home network to 100-base-T thanks to other people's garbage.

          Besides, that's also how I got my Commodore SX-64

      • Give It Away (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:32AM (#24567293)

        Ive been working on computers since i was 12 (im 21) and 50% of everything i learned has been from computers people gave me.
        I think one of the most beneficiary things you could do is put an add in the paper for some kid to come and take it. Especially if its routers/switches, mobiles devices. You could give someone the chance to learn from equipment that they cant afford to buy (or their parents). I know that myself getting stuff like that helped me get the IT job i have today. And Every chance i get I try to pawn my computer 'junk' off on a kiddy so he has a chance to mess around with different technology. Some of the things I always liked to get:
        - Sparc Stations (non PC platforms are like tech pr0n)
        - routers/switches (anything to connected computers together, token ring? i never got any of that :( )
        -scsi (een if its old, its still the whole point, an old scsi storage unit, or tape drives)
        - laptops, PDAs, (always fun to have)
        - odd systems (486DX with Overdrive(R) technology) Even the old computers are still fun (386 with scsi ?)
        - old servers (especially)

        the plus side to this, is then you dont hav to worry about throwing it away, and you'll be Serving a full portion to a kids appetite for knowledge. Hope this helps

        • Re:Give It Away (Score:5, Informative)

          by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:44AM (#24567475)
          I think that it is a great idea when it comes to Linux adoption. For example, you take the old Pentium II you have and install DSL on it, (because the old Windows that was on it is most likely unusable anyways) and the kid learns Linux. Knowing Linux, he saves money on technology throughout his life and gets a good job as a sysadmin.
          • Re:Give It Away (Score:5, Insightful)

            by wild_quinine (998562) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @10:40AM (#24568453) Homepage

            For example, you take the old Pentium II you have and install DSL on it, and the kid learns Linux. Knowing Linux, he saves money on technology throughout his life and gets a good job as a sysadmin.

            I wouldn't wish sysadmin on my worst enemy, let alone my kid. I'd rather he got typhus.

            You know how those mafia types always want to keep their kids out of the family business? Because they feel like they deserve better? Because they know the horrible truth? Yeah.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by AioKits (1235070)
              Oh please, I was a sysadmin for a short stint and I only had to kill someone and lime the body once. It's not like I had to chop up his family or something for calling me asking me to 'find the program in the file they lost'.
  • I Keep My Junk (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kmsigel (306018) * on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:08AM (#24566895)

    I've been working at home as a consultant (software engineering) for over 15 years. Doing a lot of embedded programming, I've accumulated lots of custom and COTS hardware over the years that I almost never use. The problem is the word "almost." On a rare occasion some suspected bug gets reported and I have to dig out some hardware that I haven't used in years and get it working again. After verifying that the suspected bug is really user error, I then pack it away in the basement.

    So for me, I just keep everything. It's all worthless, anyhow. How much would someone pay for a Hayes 2400 baud modem? Or a 68040 based Mac running System 7? Or an 802.11 (not a, b, or g) Access Point? I also have early 802.11-draft wireless equipment if that sweetens the deal for anyone. :)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by elrous0 (869638) *

      I literally have an entire extra bedroom in my house that's just filled with old tech crap. 3 old DVD players, 2 Xbox 1's (one of which is broken), a wide assortment of A/V converters/switches, enough cabling to reach the moon and back, about 10 video cards, 3 modems, 3 soundcards, 2 motherboards, 4 computer cases, one full Pentium 2 computer, 2 CRT monitors, 3 VCR's, 2 laserdisc players (the DVD player of its day), some 20-odd remote controls, one CED player, one turntable, and so many countless obscure te

    • Re:I Keep My Junk (Score:5, Interesting)

      by RedDirt (3122) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @10:19AM (#24568051) Homepage

      Actually, that Hayes modem is worth about $400 to the right customer. Specifically some poor bloke who does old-school business alarms.

      True story: Big Storm rolls through town with the full set of pyrotechnics. Blows up my very expensive US Robotics Courier HST modem. I was sad. But not as sad as the alarm company dude who rolls into the computer store the following morning desperate for a modem that'll do 110 baud. 'Cause that's the fastest his gear runs. We have boxes and boxes of modems but they all bottom out at 300 baud. But! Inventory shows that we have an original Hayes 2400 in stock. I and another tech spend half an hour digging it out. Sure enough, it goes down to 110 baud. Dude asks the boss what its price is, boss points at the sticker on the (unopened! shrink-wrapped!) box which says $399.95. Fellow turns red and stammers. Boss shrugs and tells us to return the box to the bowels of the stockroom. Fellow about has a stroke and then asks if we take a business check. Boss smiles and takes the desperate man's money.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by kmsigel (306018) *

        Nice! I'm a reasonable man. I'll let both of my Hayes modems go for $500, and I'll even throw in a generic internal 2400 if I can find it.

  • Just Imagine! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Kyokushi (1164377)
    Turn them into a beowulf cluster, obviously.
    And use them to sun some distributing computer projects, like folding@home etc.
    • Re:Just Imagine! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Disoculated (534967) <rob@nosPam.scylla.org> on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:26AM (#24567185) Homepage Journal

      Compared to even today's bargain hardware, stuff 5-6 years old doesn't even have the processor power to justify the electricity/waste heat/noise.

      • Re:Just Imagine! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by m85476585 (884822) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @04:20PM (#24574343)
        One thing new hardware, especially cheap new hardware, can't seem to match is reliability. I have a 10 year old 400mhz PII box (top of the line back then) that is still running fine. I haven't had to replace any parts, though I did replace the hard drive because it was way too loud, and I upgraded the memory. I am currently using it as a server for static pages over a slow connection, so there would be no benefit to getting anything faster. It uses only 60 watts, much less than most new desktops, and noise is not an issue since I run it in a closet.
    • Re:Just Imagine! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Professor_UNIX (867045) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:32AM (#24567289)

      You have to be a total moron to use old computers for distributed computing. The amount of electricity you waste and heat you generate is ridiculous considering you can replicate the computing power of dozens of older systems with a single new box which uses the same amount of electricity as a single node of the old systems.

      Sure, there's something to be said for using them as an educational tool, but again, you're still better off getting a newer high powered box and just running a virtualization environment on it to mess around with distributed parallel computing environments.

  • Flea Market (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hahafaha (844574) * <lgrinberg@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:08AM (#24566899)

    It depends on where you live, but there may be a flea market specifically for this sort of stuff that you can give away for free. If you are within traveling distance to Boston, MIT holds an event called the "SwapFest" which is precisely that. You need to pay a small fee to sell, and then can give away stuff for free, or actually take money for the more expensive equipment. More info at http://www.swapfest.us/ [swapfest.us]

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      www.1800gotjunk.com

      I'm not affiliated with them, never used them, but according to wikipedia, they are a good outfit, and donate/recycle stuff, including electronics.

      • Re:Flea Market (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:58AM (#24567679)

        I'm not affiliated with them either, but I HAVE used them.

        They're pretty good if you have a lot of stuff. In our case we did, so they sent a truck and two guys over. You make an appointment for a certain day at a certain time, for a certain duration. They were pretty punctual.

        Basically the guy (or guys) follow you around, you point at something, they put it in the truck. As long as it's something that can be reasonably picked up and moved they'll take it. They you pay based on how full the truck is, and they drive off. Not a bad deal if you have volume to deal with.

    • by langelgjm (860756) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:23AM (#24567159) Journal

      In the Baltimore area, there's the Greater Baltimore Hamboree and ComputerFest [gbhc.org] every spring. My uncle, an electrical engineer, took me once when I was in high school, and I've been back several times since.

      It's a blast! Make sure you browse the outdoor tables, too. This place really exemplifies the adage "One person's trash is another person's treasure."

    • Re:Flea Market (Score:5, Informative)

      by AncientPC (951874) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @10:10AM (#24567899)

      You can also check out Freecycle [freecycle.org] in many major cities.

  • by Corporate Troll (537873) * on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:08AM (#24566901) Homepage Journal
    I mean it, simply bring it to a recycling centre. Older computer junk often has more gold content than newer stuff and they sell it off to companies that can extract it. The older the junk, the better.

    As for goodwill, don't bother with anything below P-III class machines or higher. Even that's starting to be stuff they don't take anymore.
    • by Kamokazi (1080091) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:15AM (#24567021)
      Scrapping it is a very good idea. The copper in wires will yield the most money. My mother works as a sales rep for a large scrap company, and they buy Cat5, power cables, everything. We had a bunch of old PC power cables where I work and we got about $1.50 per pound for them. I think Cat5 is about $0.50/lb. Similar cabling should see similar prices. Aluminum heatsinks will also sell well. You can sell steel cases and whatnot too, but they will not be as valuable (even though steel prices are up, you have to have some serious poundage to get much).
    • Except for CRTs (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I mean it, simply bring it to a recycling centre. Older computer junk often has more gold content than newer stuff and they sell it off to companies that can extract it. The older the junk, the better. As for goodwill, don't bother with anything below P-III class machines or higher. Even that's starting to be stuff they don't take anymore.

      I agree with one exception: CRTs. I replaced two home CRTs with two nice LCD screens and wasn't sure what to do with them. Assuming no one would want them, I looked up recycling them which turned out to be pretty expensive.

      Since they both worked, I took them down to the thrift store near my house and asked them if they'd take them. They said as long as they worked they would sell for $20 or so.

    • by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot...kadin@@@xoxy...net> on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:28AM (#24567217) Homepage Journal

      I'd have some reservations about taking it to many "recyclers". Some actually perform the recycling and metals reclaimation themselves, but many more just take all the equipment to the Third World (Africa and South Asia seem to be popular) and dump it there [mailonsunday.co.uk].

      Anyone taking old IT junk for free or without charging significantly for its disposal is almost certainly dumping. Although there is a significant precious-metals content in them, it's not (yet) worth the labor required to reclaim it in the developed world. (Which is why you don't see people soliciting e-waste in the same way they do scrap metal or junk cars.) It's a lucrative business when you can employ starving children to do it, but not so much otherwise.

      • Just as a follow-up ... anyone considering taking e-waste to a recycler should first check to see if the recycler is listed here [ban.org] as having been approved by the Basel Action Network (an anti-dumping group). The list includes "e-Waste recyclers that have agreed to adhere to strict criteria [...] The criteria require that no hazardous electronics equipment or parts (as defined internationally) will be exported to developing countries or be processed by captive prison labor, and that none of it will end up in landfills or incinerators."

        As far as I know, it's the only (somewhat) reliable way to know that a "recycler" isn't just exporting the trash to the developing world. Many recyclers talk a lot about the environment, but don't give very many specifics about what actually happens to e-waste you drop off (besides vague platitudes like "in accordance with all State and Federal laws" which means little given how minimal most laws concerning e-waste are). That's because they may just be loading it into containers bound for the other side of the planet.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lumpy (12016)

        Anyone taking old IT junk for free or without charging significantly for its disposal is almost certainly dumping.

        Local companies here PAY you for your old computer junk. I get $12.95 per computer I bring in. the only thing I have to pay them for is CRT's. you get $2.00 for a DVD player, $5.00 for a VCR.

        What fool pays to have their computer/dvd/vcr recycled? there's copper and other metals in there that the recyclers really want.

  • There are places online that you can ship your tech junk to and they will recycle it. For a small fee they will also destroy any data containing devices.
    • My town has a Tech recycling drive once-or-twice a year. They set up a station so they can collect monitor, cables, old computers, etc and recycle them appropriately. They treat the things pretty carefully too, as to not damage them during the hand-off.

      I go there every now and then to clean up a little when I want to get rid of my excess crud, though I never give them any storage devices (HD, CD/DVD, Flash drives, etc). That's just asking for trouble.

      As for other options, there's: flea markets, extractin

      • My town had a recycling drive so I took some old computers down there and the guy just took them and threw them in a big dumpster. I'm sure they've been refurbished by now into a nice paperweight.

  • Isn't it obvious? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:10AM (#24566927) Homepage

    Have you considered recycling it [epa.gov]?

    Similar programs exist elsewhere in the civilized world. STFW and you'll probably find somewhere nearby that will be happy to take your junk off of your hands.

    What they will do with it is anybody's guess, but at least it won't be sitting around your house any more.

  • Recently came across a couple of boxes of old-skool Mac SCSI peripherals -- hard drives, scanners, 100mb magneto-optical disks and drives, 650mb CD burners (can't handle the 700mb discs), cabling of all kinds. Who uses this stuff anymore?

  • by DamonHD (794830) <d@hd.org> on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:11AM (#24566943) Homepage

    That's how I've gotten rid of most of my accumulated junk.

    Rgds

    Damon

  • And make disposal their problem.

    Other than that, it's junk. If you live in a poorer area and you think someone might be able to use it, then you can donate it somewhere...Or if you're completely bleeding edge and your old crappy gear is still pretty modern, you can try and ebay it...but by and large old equipment isn't useful for much.

    Don't throw it in the trash though; computer stuff is pretty toxic, and there are lots of good things that can be recycled out of it.

  • Both organizations wised up to it -- people were dumping electronics that may or may not have worked on volunteer workers who don't know technology enough to figure it out. They then were saddled with the cost of getting rid of it.

    Neither organization will take computer equipment or anything but the most basic of electronics anymore.

    Most cities have recycling days where you can get rid of stuff at zero or near zero cost.

    I Craigslist anything of value to try to get a few bucks. Anything with no value I put u

  • I have a ton of old computer parts as well. Basically, enough old stuff to make 5-6 computers with (old and slow computers, but functional). But I'm moving at the end of the month and don't really want to get involved with moving this stuff. So one day, I'm walking in a part of the neighborhood I'm not usually walking in, and I found a sign for a summer computer day-camp. AH! I haven't called yet, but I'm pretty confident they could make good use of my old computer parts.

    • I moved from 5yrs ago and gave 40 PCs, 2 servers, network hardware, AIX and HP, plus racks along with software (OS) to communtity center that was teaching computer repair and helping people get certifications. They did sell some, used other and then placed the last into class room.

      8yrs before that, I gave 15 PCs plus network hardware to the Boy Scouts. They used it to work on Merit Badges for computers. If the equipment broke, no one home equipment was damaged.

  • by The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:13AM (#24566993)

    ...one great strategy seems to be leaving all your tech "junk" in a conspicuous spot near the curb just before bed. Unless you're in an extremely quiet neighborhood, it seems there's *always* someone around who's interested in an old 486 tower or a Franklin Ace machine. I've used the same method a few times, and it seems that there's always some old-school hacker prowling the streets at 3AM hoping to score some vintage hardware or parts.

    It's either that, or homeless people have learned how to eat 25-year-old 5 1/4" floppies of pirated Apple II games...

  • by davidwr (791652)

    Adult arts and crafts too.

    A motherboard and paint makes cool artwork.

    Disk platters are good for all kinds of things.

  • Freecycle (Score:5, Informative)

    by WibbleOnMars (1129233) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:14AM (#24567015)

    Freecycle it.

    I've come to really appreciate the power of Freecycle.

    You give stuff away, so it's kinda like taking it to the charity shop, except that (a) the person who gets it is usually someone who really wants it, and (b) they come and pick it up, so you don't even have to take it anywhere.

    And if you post it on freecycle and no-one is interested, then you can do what you were planning anyway and take it to the charities.

    So consider freecycle for this. And if you're doing a mass clear-out as you said in your post, I'd suggest considering it for all the other stuff you're getting rid of.

  • As long as the computers are at least a Pentium III class computer, donate it to a school. What they don't take, recycle the rest.

  • What do you have? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Chief_Wiggum (1341031)
    You need to find out what you have in there. CAT5 cables are good forever, where as it'll be kind of hard to give away a GeForce 2. You need to sort out the junk and ID as much as you can. Anything that holds some value can be sold or given for charity.
  • Don't put it in the dumpster. It will just pollute the environment a bit more, especially tubes like CRT's. In fact, in Houston, it is verboten to put your electronics in the regular trash.

    It's a hassle to take it to the recycle center, but that's the best thing to do.

  • In my area, we have a handful of recycling centers for computers. And no, this isn't just 'dust it off and resell it' - rather shred it to base metals and sell those.

    Check around, there may be one near you as well...

  • Bonefire! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Narpak (961733) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:27AM (#24567201)
    I recycle by burning all my old junk; turning crap directly into carbon. The more junk you have the better, preferably stuff that burns really well. If not just chop down a few threes and make a great fire that will melt anything that doesn't burn. By doing this not only do you save the environment the burden of driving the stuff to a landfill; you also have a nice backdrop for a summer party. What could be cooler than burning a heap of potentially toxic materials.
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:28AM (#24567227) Homepage Journal
    to form the white trash version of Voltron.
  • by k_187 (61692)
    Send it all to this guy: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=641559&cid=24549983 [slashdot.org]
  • by ArIck (203)

    If you are in a good mood, why not donate it to a local charity - either for them to use or for them to donate to someone else. This may bring in pennies for you but to someone in need of it, it could be a blessing.

  • by SengirV (203400) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:30AM (#24567257)

    http://www.officedepot.com/promo.do?file=/promo/pages/0928_recycling.jsp

    For a "nominal fee" you can drop it off there to be recycled.

  • Find your local Freecycle chapter.
    People will take anything you give them.

    See http://www.freecycle.org/ [freecycle.org]

    Kriston

  • Hobby? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:31AM (#24567275)
    For a lot of old computers there is somewhat of a cult following, so the obvious answer is to take the old computer and bundle it with the software and perhaps a few cables and sell it on Ebay or Craigslist. You may not think your C64 is worth anything, but there is someone who will pay $25 for one in good working order. You think your Apple ][ is nothing more than a paperweight yet someone else thinks it is worth $15. You say it would be too hard, but, you need to realize that there are a lot of people who collect and/or use old tech. Not to mention that if you strip out all the insides, having an Apple ][ as a case would be cool for a whitebox computer....
  • Put yo junk in that box...it's yo tech in a box!
  • ...will know what to do with your odds and ends. Find a teacher that's passionate about teaching. (They still exist in most places, but are rare. One that runs a science club in their own time would be a good bet).

  • Staples Soul (Score:3, Informative)

    by Darth_brooks (180756) <clipper377@NoSpAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @10:03AM (#24567763) Homepage

    http://www.staples.com/sbd/content/about/soul/recycling.html [staples.com]

    Staples offers in-store recycling for tech trash. There's a ten dollar charge for bigger stuff like monitors, printers, and PC's, but smaller stuff like keyboards, mice, and speakers are free. You'd be surprised at what getting rid of just the old keyboards and speakers did for my office. They also take only cell phones, pagers, cell phone batteries, etc. I've dropped off a few phones, sans SIM card of course.

    Staples also has an ink and toner recycling program. It's gotten to be more of a pain in the ass lately, but it's still worthwhile. If you bring in an original HP, Dell, or Lexmark ink or toner cartridge, you get a $3.00 credit on you staples rewards card. Once you get at least $10.00 worth of rewards, you get a check in the mail.

    You can only drop them off three at a time, but last month I able to turn our collection of used toner into $30+ dollar rewards check that I used on some supplies for non-profit I volunteer for.

  • by Optic7 (688717) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @10:07AM (#24567851)

    They have many links to local and national outlets to recycle computers and electronics, and many of them are free or low cost:

    http://www.epa.gov/e-cycling/donate.htm [epa.gov]

  • by WormholeFiend (674934) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @10:15AM (#24567989)

    Vacuum-bag your electronic junk.

    Go out camping in a rugged area.

    Dig a hole, and bury your stuff.

    Gather some rocks and place them in a cool design on top of your electronics.

    Cover the rocks with more dirt.

    That should be enough to screw with the heads of future archeologists.

  • by greywire (78262) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @10:30AM (#24568245) Homepage

    Then at some point your wife will demand that you get rid of some of that junk.

    Considering the alternative, you will find it quite easy to decide what to throw out, and quickly, before bedtime...

  • by wilzon (636471) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @10:55AM (#24568679)
    I have just started taking old computers and fixing them up to give to families that do not have a computer. I have already fixed up eight of them and to see the kids faces is priceless. Anyone that would like to join the cause shoot me an email.
  • Put it on the altar (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kcdoodle (754976) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @12:37PM (#24570495)
    Go to Cornell University in Ithaca NY.
    Go to Rhodes Hall.
    Outside of the big lecture room, in the hallway, actually behind where the lecturer would stand are two counter tops.
    Leave your computer hardware, software or books there.
    If you see anything you like, take it with you. This is the sacrificial altar to the gods of geekdom. All are welcome to take or remove and tech/geek item you want. Much of it is reused by students making insane projects.

From Sharp minds come... pointed heads. -- Bryan Sparrowhawk

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