Recycling Old Computer Equipment: What Do You Do?


After hunting around, I found a site that summarizes how you can recycle old computer equipement. This, because I have 5 old CRT monitors, a blue and white G3 Macintosh and a PowerMac from 1996 that I need to get rid of. Frankly, I need the space.

What do you all do to recycle your unsellable computer equipment? How do you get rid of it?


Hehe that's funny.

Are people actually paying others to take their old computer stuff off their hands? People should be paying ME for my stuff. One day, the Science Museum will be knocking on my door.


I heave it over the top and *KLANG!* it is gone.

Roughly $200K of gear and software to date, based on original purchase price, has ended up disposed of in this fashion. Things that weren't so obsolete I let anyone that wanted take and use, all the rest got the HEAVE-HO!

Only 2 computers made me sad to see them go. One was my first computer, the TRS-80 Model 1 with dual disk drives, the first computer ever sold in my county in KS even. The second was the best work horse I ever had, my multi-user Altos with 200K ram, 3 terminals, printer, modems, etc. all heaved into the bin.

C'est la vie.

I saved it...

I had to save my Commodore 64 :)

Tape Drive
300 Baud Modem
and COLOR monitor

the machine was the bomb... could load up a 10k program in 1/2 hour :) heheh

Check with your town...

Some towns and cities have special days during the year to properly dispose of those things. They are often considered "hazardous waste" so you don't want to simply throw them in the trash (or heave ho them anywhere!).

my Commodore 64

God, I am old too.

Mine went to the dump, never thought to save it!

I must be older

I wrote my first piece of software on a new Commodore Vic20

I must be ancient cos I just

I must be ancient cos I just bought my first computer on Ebay as I missed it and started to feel sentimental!

Sir Clive, I owe you my career

I still have... C64, two Amiga's and a 30 pound suitcase model Corona with an original 8086 and a 9-inch screen in it.

I never throw stuff away.

With 8-12 POUNDS of lead in

With 8-12 POUNDS of lead in the typical CRT monitor, it is *not* something to toss into the trash. Thank you for caring at least a little bit about our children's future.

While some would therefore advocate shipping it overseas to kill someone else's children, I suggest you locate a reputable green recycler and pay a small fee to ensure it does get recycled properly.

Im bad

All mine went out in the rubbish bin. I do miss some of my golden oldies though, my Amstrad 6128 in that was a machine ahead of its time :-)

I am going to pay to recycle

I am going to pay to recycle my crap because it is the environmentally friendly thing to do. I am very surprised there isn't an easier way to do this, you'd think towns with recycling of other materials would also pick up old monitors and computers. I was blown away that recycling programs for computers haven't evolved ... computers have been out and popular for 20 years.

Isn't there gold on teh board that could be salvaged? Or does it cost too much to do that?

Pay to recycle?

Putting aside the be a good steward of the planet issue for a moment ...

Asking people to pay extra money to dispose of something just doesn't seem like a workable idea. I mean don't we incentive the new behavior we want people to do? Isn't that why the government gives you a tax break if you buy a hybrid car, or put solar panels on your roof?


Hey, if it's hazardous waste then it DEFINITELY shouldn't be in my HOUSE!

FWIW, I still have a functional colecovision and a ton of cartidges.

Asking people to pay extra

Asking people to pay extra money to dispose of something just doesn't seem like a workable idea.

They are trying to collect that stuff to keep it out of the dumps, not build an industry. The workable idea is to stop building monitors with so much toxin, and close down the opportunities for businesses to externalize the costs of using hazardous materials, which has been keeping them cheaper than safer alternatives.

The cost of the monitor was subsidized by your grandchildren, because the manufacturer and you the buyer avoided the costs of recovery (it was externalized to the community, who will have to clean it up later). Which was a better value? That's not a question of "workable" or not. There is no doubt most of what we do on earth is not "workable". But there is a cost to society that no one will accept, but instead pass forward into the future at unknown cost, penalties, and interest.

This is at work all around you. High-fructose corn syrup has replaced sugar as a sweetener, because it is "cheaper". Evidence suggests a link to the rise of diabetes in our society, especially among children. Why is high-fructose corn syrup cheaper than sugar? Partly because corn is subsidized by the government. So... follow the twisted logic. We don't need any more corn, yet farm subsidies make it profitable to get paid for growing corn we don't need. The corn oversupply makes corn cheap (you've already subsidized the discount via those farm subsidies), so Coke and Pepsi can get real cheap high-fructose corn syrup to use instead of sugar. You pay $3.99 for a 12 pack of Pepsi on sale at the market, and as your diabetes advances your healthcare costs go up...eventually society is paying for epidemic levels of diabetes. Who pays the bill?

I bet the break even price of that 12 pack of coke is somewhere around $45 right now, and going up. Would you pay that?

Sorry guys, for the long

Sorry guys, for the long tangential post. I do believe, though, that the indpendent commercial webmasters in the audience benefit from these conversations on ThreadWatch. It seems to be useful info in my business, whatever niche I am working at the time. Economics for the new age... that sort of thing.

Miss My Point

John you miss my point. Everyone gets that we need to start changing our habits about how we interact with our environment. We need to use less and recycle more. However we do live in an economy that's based upon consumption. If you want to change people's attitudes and actions, and I mean everyone, not just those who are already highly motivated and passionate, you've got to fit into their world view of how things work. You tell me which one works better:

a) I buy new flat panel to replace my old busted 15" CRT. If my town catches me throwing away the old monitor in my garbage I get a fine. If I want to bring the old monitor to my recycling center they charge me a fee. If I want to send it back to Dell the charge me a fee.

b) I buy new flat panel to replace my old busted 15" CRT. My town sends me monthly news letters telling me where to bring my old monitor and get rid of it. If I bring it to my local recycling center I get a $10 rebate check from the government. If I want to give it back to dell they give a website and 800 number to find locations I can drop it off free of charge.

People want to do the right thing, all you have to do is remove the obstacles and friction to make the right thing the path of least resistance. No one buys a monitor wanting to learn to be a more environmentally friendly consumer, they just want a new monitor. Sometimes it's easier and more effective to fit into someone's world view than try to change it.

You are not European are you?

Certainly today Europe (Uk is a bit tardy here) is into recycling, and recycling is made easy.

Recycling has become more part of the way of life. In the UK our local town "dump" is not just a place to dump items into landfill, they have a series of different containers for different sorts of waste, where I deposited an old monitor and TV set a few weeks ago.

Here in Spain, they collect stuff for free. You just phone up the refuse collection people, and arrange for them to pick up old furniture, computers, etc from your house.

I understand that the USA has yet to acknowledge global warming, and that they have yet to discover Darwin's works. Perhaps it is not surprising that recycling is a mindset that has not yet reached the USA.

Schools & Charities

Depending on what it is, and how old it is, schools and charities can often use them. That's who I usually call.

I don't think I missed your

I don't think I missed your point, GrayWolf, but I'm pretty sure I don't agree it is the point. I don't believe that the corporations actually want to change their habits for the better. In fact, I believe it is illegal for them to act contrary to profits. I don't believe that we live in an economy based on consumption, but one based on an incorrect assumption of infinite resources, which works very hard to sell us the concept of consumption-as-economic-driver. If the consumer knew it was all a lie and a scam that would cost them more later, they might make wiser buying choices today.

To twist your example (although I am afraid of what many Americans would actually do regardless):

a) I buy new flat panel to replace my old busted 15" CRT. If anyone in my town sees me throwing away the old monitor in my garbage I get lambasted and made to feel like scum for polluting the environment. So I bring it to the recycling co-op downtown. My $25 annual charitable contribution to their cause covered 1 "computer" and that included 1 monitor, so I'm good. They also gave me a buyer's guide for eco-friendly products which highlights other things that are basically bad to buy. I had no idea.

Depending on what it is, and how old it is, schools and charities can often use them. That's who I usually call.

Sanity, isn't that just another way to externalize the cost of disposal?

Umm no

Not if they need and want them. I give them usable stuff not crap.

I struggle with what to do with older stuff too.

Local Tip

But, they do have a 'section' where you put electrical goods. I would hope that these are treated / recycled differently. If I was a cynic I may think that this area was just that the staff can grab anything of 'value' - the rest they then throw into the other skips.


americans: ?

Bravo grnidone...

Name your favo(u)rite toxic heavy metal, and I'm fairly sure you'll find it in your old computer equipment. Thus, bravo grnidone, don't just "dump" it. At the same time, some "recycling" has been pawned off on jurisdictions without proper environmental oversight causing other issues. The best long term solution is source reduction, the incorporation of environmentally compatible materials and processes into the original product and its associated packaging.

I should note that schools in many cases do not want obsolete computer equipment. They don't have the staffing nor funds to manage equipment which won't run current operating systems.

We have a great recycling

We have a great recycling program where I live, compared to other cities. You can recycle darn near everything. In some cities, you can only recycle newspapers, so Carrollton is way ahead of the game.

I was very surprised to learn they do not have a recycling program for old electronics where you could just place them on the curb with the rest of the recycles and they just pick it up.

People recycle a lot if they don't have to do a lot of work to do it.

Wibble: is

Wibble: is just for Portland, Oregon. That's a hell of a commute for many people. Looks like an awesome program though.

Try freecycle

Chances are that there's one in your area (and that someone will want your old tech). I regularly find old comps dumped in the street and pass them onto others via freecycle.


Gold in them thar Computers

?Someone I trust told me that cast off computers have a larger percentage of gold in them than does the equivalent weight of the average gold oar that is mined across the world.

So in other words when you throw out that old CPU you are literally throwing away gold...

certain states in the us

certain states in the us charge a small deposit fee for cans and bottles and they pay whoever returns the empty cans and bottles that deposit fee (which alot of homeless do for the money). imagine if they did the same monitors :) i can already see the homeless in nyc pushing shopping carts full of crt monitors to go collect the deposit money.

Thats good thinking

Monetize the problem and bums will save the planet

Dangers of second-hand PC market

Have a look at this BBC article

They end up in computer markets in cities such as Lagos, Nigeria, where you will find second hand parts of PCs from Britain and all over the world.

The problem comes when someone with a criminal mind accesses the information that is stored on this hard drive.

"Once you let your computer go away, your so-called personal computer is no longer personal, it becomes very public," said environmental campaigner Jim Puckett.

Real Story bought 17 hard drives from Nigeria at £15 a unit and, using a computer forensic expert, traced the original owners of the computers.

I always remove the hard

I always remove the hard drives and then remove the disks from the drives. I use a magnet on them and then use them for coasters.

Dell has changed their policy

Now, they will only recycle Dell products.

I think it is a crock.

Well yeah...

...but if any equipment deserves to be recycled, I'm sure it's Dell.

(nah, j/k)

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