Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Proper Disposal of Old Computer Gear– eWaste

One of the great things about Tech is there’s always something new coming out; and Moore’s Law tells us that the power of computers doubles every 18 months– Tech is ever evolving and advancing.ewaste

What is not so great about that is our gear becomes obsolete, and winds up gathering dust on a closet shelf or taking up room in our garage. What did you do with that huge CRT monitor when you got the nifty flat-panel LCD?

Our old tech equipment contains many materials and chemicals that are quite poisonous — lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic, to name a few (aka “e-waste”) — and they must be properly disposed of so they won’t cause an environmental disaster and poisoned water supplies, like it’s currently doing to China, India, and Pakistan.

So, how do you get rid of that old stuff the right way?
Essentially, there’s two good ways to dispose of your old tech gear– recycling, and donation.

Recycling: We know that we can’t just toss our old stuff in the trash, so what do we do with it?
1) You may not know this, but when you purchased your item, you may have also paid a “disposal fee” as part of the purchase price, and the manufacturer will take the old item off your hands (this is standard practice these days). Contact the device manufacturer and ask how to recycle their item.
Dell, for example, will take any Dell product in for recycling at no charge.
2) Your town may accept e-waste for a fee (this covers the cost of properly separating out the toxins), and a Internet search (or the Yellow Pages) will point you to the nearest drop-off point. Also, where I live, there are special “amnesty days” once a year, and toxins can be turned in at no cost.
3) Another form of recycling is donation, where your old tech can be put back to beneficial use.

Donation: I am a big fan of donating tech and getting more life out of it. Two factors must be considered when thinking about donation: the age of the device, and whether it’s in working order. If the device is of a fairly recent vintage, it probably can be put to use whether it’s currently working or not– but no matter how well it’s working, nobody’s going to want Pentium II computers, 10 Mbps co-axial networking gear, and daisy-wheel printers (okay.. maybe somebody would.. but good luck finding them!)
1) Your old tech may actually be worth a few dollars. Repair tech’s like me sometimes acquire old equipment for replacement parts. If you’ve an inclination, you may want to list your old gear in the classifieds, and/or on sites like eBay and Craig’s List. It won’t make you rich, but you might be surprised at the interest you get.
2) Donating non-working gear can actually assist job training, and so just because it’s not working doesn’t mean you can’t donate it. You may want to check with schools near you and see if they will accept your stuff (I’m thinking High Schools and Adult Schools, but..?) Also, you may want to consider contacting the Free Geek community. is a Website that specializes in helping you locate a place willing to accept your gear.
3) Get a receipt. Your donations may (probably) qualify for tax credits.

* A word of caution: When getting rid of any device that has storage memory– such as a computer’s hard-drive, or cellphone’s Flash– you must take special precaution and thoroughly eradicate the 1’s and 0’s: simple deleting is NOT ENOUGH. Your data can be retrieved. Please read Delete does NOT erase your data*– preventing recovery and follow the advice there before allowing the device to leave your control.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

Share this post :


August 27, 2008 - Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, how to, tech | , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Thanks for the mention of Dell’s recycling efforts — that is very true that we offer free recycling for Dell products at any time and the program includes free home pick-up. We’ll also recycle other branded products for free with purchase of a new Dell.

    You mentioned some donation options – another good organization is the National Cristina Foundation ( ) – -which can place a working used computer with a non-profit organization in the donor’s community.


    Comment by Bryant at Dell | August 27, 2008 | Reply

  2. Bryant at Dell–
    Thanks to all who are taking this very serious environmental problem, well, seriously, and you’re absolutely right.. we should be making this as easy for the consumer as we can. I very much admire your home pick-up policy.
    For those who want to know more,

    Bryant is right, is definitely something to take a look at when it’s time to part with yesterday’s Tech gear.


    Comment by techpaul | August 27, 2008 | Reply

  3. didn’t know that there were already intoxication problems in china, and india . Indeed it’s a good thing you really tell ppl to not simply delete the files, we learned why and how, but the best thing is to just simply smash them or crash them, 100% succes rate ;)


    Comment by coration | August 28, 2008 | Reply

  4. […] | user-saved public links | iLinkShare 1 votesProper Disposal of Old Computer Gear– eWaste>> saved by peppermintpatty 2 days ago3 votesRecycle Your E-Waste The Right Way>> saved by falkrikdp […]


    Pingback by User links about "ewaste" on iLinkShare | September 25, 2008 | Reply

Post your Comment/Question

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: