Schools and Goodwill stores used to be thrilled to be the recipient of a used computer. No more! Computers become obsolete so fast, that computers just a few years old can’t do much more that help in writing a letter. Computers are now a significant part of our hazardous waste stream.
The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition estimates that the 315 million computers expected to become obsolete by the year 2004 would contain, among other hazardous wastes, 1.2 billion pounds of lead, 2 million pounds of cadmium, 400,000 pounds of mercury and 1.2 million pounds of chromium. Many municipalities ban the disposal of computer and television equipment.
- Consider upgrading computers before throwing them out.
- If your computer is broken, check your Yellow Pages for computer repair services and fix your existing computer before buying a new one.
- Find a computer reseller near you by visiting the database of national retailers at Recycler’s World was established as a worldwide “trading site for information related to secondary or recyclable commodities, by-products, used and surplus items or materials.” The exchange covers used computer items, cartridge remanufacturing and recycling, computer scrap and dismantling, and recycling traders and recyclers.
- Call your local municipality and ask about programs for obsolete computers in your area. A Massachusetts company has devised a way of melting down computer plastic and using it to fill potholes! Who knows what computer reusing entrepreneur may be living near you? RecycleNet Help Line: (519) 767-2913.