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Dealing With Obsolete Computers

Dealing With Obsolete Computers

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.

Read more: Home, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on anniebbond.com, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

Go to the Source

Choose to Reuse : An Encyclopedia of Services, Businesses, Tools & Charitable Programs That Facilita

2,000 items neatly coordinated by subject, a local and national organizations listing, and examples of successful reusers make Choose to Reuse an essential environmental resource bible made specifically for any conscientious person looking to make a difference. buy now

63 comments

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5:08AM PDT on Mar 10, 2013

Very good.

6:56AM PST on Feb 27, 2013

some computer repair places might recycle old computers/parts for you.

6:30PM PST on Feb 17, 2013

I replace each part as it dies. I still have the original keyboard (after 12 years) but everything else has been replaced. I don't require a whole new state-of-the-art computer every few years, it's ridiculous.

5:51AM PDT on Jun 19, 2012

Thanks for the tips.

12:21AM PDT on Jun 10, 2012

thanks for sharing

3:43AM PDT on Jun 4, 2011

some times if u clean the rams with surgical spirit it may work. try i did it and it works.
it is a interesting article

8:20AM PDT on Apr 30, 2011

Rather make-do and mend; even that is getting harder, why should have buy new useless items?

2:39AM PDT on Mar 27, 2011

Thanks for the article.

3:49PM PDT on Aug 10, 2010

get rid of proply.

2:43PM PDT on Apr 21, 2010

noted. for me i get used parts at select 'puter stores. my broken thingies get e-recycled. i hand down working parts to my fam.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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