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PCstats Q & A - Waste not, want not - PCstats.com PCstats Q & A - Waste not, want not
Mon, April 19 2004 | 10:23PM | PermaLink Feedback?

Our second Q & A of the week comes from David via the PCstats reader feedback page . If you have a question you need answered right away, try our friendly forums for help.

Q: As the tech-support for my office, I've been put in charge of disposing of a large number of old (486 to Pentium II) computers, as well as a number of outdated printers, scanners, etc. Most of these are probably in working condition, but I'm not sure as they have been mothballed for so long. Since I have no use for them, my first though was to dump them, but my second thoughts as a proud recycler suggested that dumping them might not be the most environmentally friendly thing to do. I did a little phone book research, but no-one in my area (except garbage companies) seems to have any use for old PC hardware. Any suggestions? By the way, I've already run most of the harddrives through a SeaGate utility which 0s out the sectors, and I've physically destroyed the more sensitive ones.

A: Good question! Most electronics, including computers, contain various hazardous chemicals which will eventually be released into the environment if dumped. At least in Canada, you are not allowed/supposed to dump your computer waste straight into the garbage or landfill. I'm surprised you can't find anyone in your area to take your old equipment though, as many for-profit and not-for-profit groups have sprung up to recycle working PCs for resale, educational or charitable purposes. Maybe you should get in touch with your local school board? Otherwise you will need to find a company which specializes in correctly disposing of hazardous materials and/or computer and electronic parts. You may have to pay for these services though, depending on your location. 

As a second suggestion, you may well be able to find a use for many of the computers running various versions of Linux.

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