So What Can I Do with That Old Computer? // 11.12.2008 at 11:53 AM
by Tyree Pace
I recently made a new computer purchase to replace a just barely 4-year old clunker of a desktop that was about a megabyte shy of becoming a paperweight. As I press the Enter key which will forever wipe the hard drive that has certainly seen brighter days - not without a little trepidation and prayer that my backup drive hasn't suddenly become corrupted - I ponder what IS the best way to dispose of my now useless computer. As the status bar slowly ticks away (did that thing say 10 hours?), I wander over to my other computer and do a search on disposal methods for electronic components.
I was pleasantly surprised and happy to see the amount of hits that were returned from "e-waste recycling long beach, ca" - approximately 14,000. I skipped the generic "recycling centers" link and concentrated on business type websites. Seems there was a growing need for recycling e-waste and there were a handful of vendors right in my neighborhood. However, I was disappointed to discover that they only catered to businesses, government, and institutions such as hospitals or schools. I checked one listing after the next, and they were all the same - "we are your e-waste solution, but only if you make it worth our while." Well that wasn't going to do me any good because I wasn't a business and I certainly couldn't make it worth anyone's while.
I decided to change my search query to "computer recycling long beach, ca" which then brought up well over 200,000 results, along with a map of local businesses that matched my search query. I checked the first couple and they were more of the same, a business for businesses. Then about halfway down, I came across this site: Komputers 4 R Kids.
Komputers 4 R Kids is a 5013(c) public charity that is licensed by the State of California to collect e-waste. Their goal is to provide technological skills and access for children of all ages, as well as to reduce the amount of e-waste that can end up in landfills. They accept all kinds of old electronic equipment including TVs, circuit cards, radios, computers, etc. They are about 10 miles from where I live and have convenient drop-off times. The best part: they accepted donations from anybody and everybody. And, for those who don't live in the Southern California area, they offer a link to the TechSoup site, where you can search for other similar programs in your local area.
This is a great program and a I commend the individuals who have worked diligently to put this in place. Not to say that the other e-recycling businesses aren't offering a valuable service, but marketing strictly to other businesses excludes individual consumers who are more often than not the ones who are dumping their old electronics into landfills. Komputers 4 R Kids recycling program allows individuals to dump their old electronics but at the same time give back to the community. I hope that other communities are as fortunate as we are and have similar programs in place.
Beth Kuchar on 11.12.2008 at 12:11 PM
This seems great for small businesses too - our company has some old machines and electronic equipment that is past its prime, but most computer recycling centers won't accept just a few items... they seem to only deal with the larger businesses who have dozens of desktops. Now we don't need to store old equipment until we can find a good way to dispose of it.
Alan Baker on 11.14.2008 at 11:15 AM
Great post! E-waste is such a big problem right now, and there are so few ways to safely dispose of and recycle our old computers and electronic equipment.
Mark J. Carter on 11.14.2008 at 8:34 PM
It's great to see organizations "doubling up" on the value. Helping their community AND helping the environment.
Hopefully more people will follow in their path!
anon gen on 11.16.2008 at 08:00 AM
Sweet! I was going to use these PCs I have laying around to run Folding@Home, but honestly running that on a PII or PIII isn't such a great idea. I think you'd only want it running on a P4 class or newer.
More on-topic: I found a few donation sites/organizations in my area (Seattle, WA suburbs). What would be a better choice out of these? I am new to all of this and cannot decide which organization I should donate to.
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