Getting Rid Of A Computer

First post from my linuxed-up laptop! It’s a great little machine, and I’m happy with my choice.

After opening the box, I realized I’d forgotten to mention another pretty important rating system for eco-friendly electronics. Energy Star is a DOE/EPA initiative to label the most energy efficient appliances, gadgets, homes, building materials, and a bunch of other things. Only products that use a significantly smaller proportion of energy than other similar devices being sold will qualify for the Energy Star seal. Look for their blue logo on anything you’re thinking of purchasing (unless it’s like a banana or whatever, they don’t do food). You can look up the model you want or already have- here’s mine. Energy Star has a much more comprehensive database than EPEAT does now, since it’s an older program.

But enough with ratings. On to the disposal.

I now have a CRT monitor, a keyboard, a mouse, and a CPU that I don’t need- and that are taking up a huge amount of space on my desk. They’re all old, but functional. Instead of getting rid of them, or even sending them to a safe electronic waste program, I’d like to donate them to be reused, refurbished, or at least raided for useful parts.

First I need to clean them up- take off all the lovely decorations (4 years of I voted! stickers), and also clean off my data securely (just in case some joker gets hold of my 11th grade English essays). Even deleting your important data won’t remove it securely from your hard drive- that just erases the computers memory of where it is. So if you’ve got anything on there you don’t want found-and you do, if you’ve ever recorded your social security number or any bank or medical information on it- try out something like Utimaco’s free, private-use only encryption software, which offers a secure-delete options for your files- it’ll write over the actual data 100 times, to make it very hard to recover.

The GF has already called the CPU- he wants to add it to his own computer parts empire. I’ll donate the monitor, and hopefully the rest, to Goodwill. They fix up the computers as part of a job-training program, and donate them to places in the community, and that I can get behind. Free Geek does a similar thing in Oregon, and lists affiliates in a few other states. EBay sponsors a program called Rethink that lists potential places to donate, and responsible ways to recycle your useless electronics. Some donation programs take broken electronics to dismember and reuse, or refurbish, so check out their policies before you give up on your broken items. Finally, for information on what happens to improperly recycled electronics, and the hazardous situations they’re creating in foreign countries, check out Basel Action Network’s information. Sobering, and they include links to various recycling groups that responsibly dispose of your stuff, once it’s far beyond gone.

If your stuff isn’t in a good shape to donate, your local government has a hazardous waste disposal area, or it should. For residents of Alexandria, you can take your electronic trash to 3600 Wheeler Ave, Mondays from 7:30 to 3:30. Take proof of residency, and be sure to clean off your hard drives- they won’t do that for you. Check out the Earth911 search bar for local waste disposal, too. It includes business take-back programs and special recycling days that are close to you. And since I know plenty of you have Dells, Dell will take back all of their electronic equipment to be safely disposed of, for free– and they’ll pick up any other kind of computer stuff to dispose of for you, for a small fee. Huzzah for corporate responsibility! Enough to make me think for a minute about maybe buying a Dell. Not that I need one now.

5 Responses to “Getting Rid Of A Computer”

  1. 1 Liliya June 8, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    If you are looking to give some a computer to reuse- my grandfather is looking for something basic to play chess on. You’d be supporting an older Russian man playing chess- that’s sort of as good as Goodwill 🙂

  2. 2 virescent June 10, 2008 at 12:24 am

    I’ve got a monitor, keyboard, a mouse up for grabs, if we can dig up a cpu anywhere! Does M have any laying around?

  3. 3 m June 10, 2008 at 8:55 am

    I will look through the basement stock piles and see – just might – we do have some printers…

  4. 4 Liliya June 13, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    Thank you, but actually what I need the CPU…my grandpa has my old one, but its pretty much gone to meet the great computer in the sky now…

  5. 5 virescent June 14, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    I’ll be on the lookout for you, Lil. I bet we can find him one pretty quickly.

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