Doing research into the last column opened up a discussion about what we could do with the old computers we have lying around. Dumping those oversized paperweights into the local church dumpster doesn't really seem like the most environmentally sound option anymore, so like I did with the DVDs, I turned to the internet.
Before delving into the results, turn on the machines and see if they still run. If you’re nodding yes, I’m going to recommend you find a place to donate that system. Chances are if it works, someone will want it. A lot of local communities would appreciate anything you pass their way. I’ll even make it easier for you. If you’re from Philly, go to either Nonprofit Technology Resources or the Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia to donate that computer. Once I clean up mine, it’ll be going to the latter.
The thing that surprised me the most when doing a broad search was learning that almost all major computer designers will take back your desktop or laptop and break it down for you. Dell is getting a lot of acclaim of late for not only recycling your old computer for free, but also for their ReGeneration campaign, which will reward a design student for creating the most efficient computer model for sustainable living. Not to be outdone, Apple is also jumping on the bandwagon, recycling computers, regardless of brand. All you have to do is pay for shipping. They’ll even give you a discount toward your purchase of a new computer, ipod or iphone. Pretty killer.
There are other recycling services outside of the above, but I don’t really recommend them. The computer manufacturers will refurbish some of the materials for later use, which greatly cuts down on the amount of carbon footprinting these independent recycling companies incur in the breaking down of materials.