Monday, May 12, 2008

Recycling my electronic waste

I am sure many computer geeks such as myself can relate to this.
For years I have been keeping my old computers under my desk. Sometimes they work good as footstools, but mostly they got in the way. Also after many salvages and upgrades I had also been keeping old ISA and PCI cards in a box and a junk drawer. I thought one day I should take them to a cycling facility.

Of course, every time I saw a notification to recycle or drop off old computers I would conveniently forget to act on it. Then the pile just sits there again waiting on another notification. In the meantime I was adding another motherboard and another old case to the pile.

I had also looked at computer recyclers, but most of these guys handle commercial accounts and charge you for the disposal. Since I am too cheap, I was not going to pay to dispose of my growing collection of computers and electronic parts.
But I was bound and determined not to dispose of this equipment by just throwing it in the garbage can.

So this spring I looked at the recycling program that our town sponsors. Hey they were recycling electroncs and it was a date in the future. I wrote the information on our family event calendar. This way it kept staring me in the face. I could not forget this.

It would be on a Saturday morning. I had to make sure I gathered everything the night before, as we have a busy Saturday morning family schedule. Putting all the equipment in the van on the same morning would not work. So I took the time to go through all of the pieces starting on Thursday.

I had to make sure I removed the hard drives and any memory sticks. I managed to remember to also remove a floppy drive as newer computers don't include those anymore. In all I had 4 computer cases, two motherboards(including one for a laptop), and various ISA and PCI cards. I also found some old laptop batteries, and a non-working UPS. Boy this lightened the load under the desk in my office. I could actually see the floor.

Since they said the would take all old electronics I decided to add an old receiver and a cassette player. This was in the hope that they would take that also.

What else could I find? Hey, an old color printer I had not used in years. Added it to the growing pile.

Well this all fit barely in the back of my Honda van. And without having to move any seats. Electronic clean out was done.

So Saturday morning came. I had to drop my daughter off at dance at 9 a.m. before I went to the town's garage where this recycling effort was being held. I had to be back in time to pick her up at 10 a.m. I did not know what to expect at the site. Were there going to be many cars with the same idea.

I pulled in and there was a truck with several pellets before it. Each pellet was designated for specific items. One for monitors, one for computer cases, and so on...
There also were friendly guys ready to help unload your vehicle. As I pulled up, one of the guys motioned for me to drive right up to where the truck was parked. Then he said: "Just stay in the car, we'll unload it for you." That was OK by me. They unloaded the van in record time. They even took the stereo. That was great!

That was a job well done. Recycling old computer parts is not that difficult and should be done. They indicated they would also take old monitors, TVs and old air-conditioners. Unfortunately, I would not have time later in the day to drop off this old 17" monitor I have. I'll save it for the next recycling event.

Now I feel good having done my part. And not having spent a dime. How is that for being green on a budget.

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