General discussion


What to do with old useless equipment?

By Aldanatech ·
Corporations, schools, and other organizations can have a great demand for computers and other equipment. If any of that equipment fails we can usually fix it or salvage it for the company. Other times we might salvage that equipment for non-profit organizations or developing countries. The same usually applies to old equipment that works as well. But what about non-salvageable equipment such useless motherboards or monitors, burned RAM chips or power supplies? What is the best way to deal with all that useless equipment? I heard countless cases of people that rooms full of old and useless equipment just sitting there.

Some suggest that we should just throw it away and be done with it. Others believe that because of environmental issues, there should be a proper way to safely dispose all that stuff. What do you think?

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by Packratt In reply to What to do with old usele ...

Some manufacturers do offer recycling services for a fee, I know one large company I did some contract work for used Dell's service and would ship any old equipment back to Dell for recycling and proper disposal for the parts they cannot recycle (just as important), that they didn't donate.

Check with your suppliers to see if any such programs exist.

Good luck and good job putting old equipment to good use.

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Try Your Local Solid Waste District

by sgandenberger In reply to Well

Our Local Solid Waste District (In Ohio, is is at the county level) sponsors an annual computer equipment recycling drive. They don't take everything, but they do take CPU's, monitors, printers and the like. They work with firms that either recondition the equipment for charities, and other needy organizations; canibalize it for parts; or recycle the raw materials. What's left is properly disposed, without the donor having to worry about any liability.

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Here is a Free Recycling Program.

by michael.n.jones In reply to Well
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by ippirate In reply to What to do with old usele ...

I think that one of the most innovative solutions that I have seen to date has been recycling to market retail. What I mean by this is the use of components in the creation of other, less than suggested uses such as clock faces, coasters, etc. There are a couple of "geek" stores that I visit on a regular basis just so I can check this phenomenon out.

If you still don't know what I am getting at then try the link below.

Still some waste involved but it is still reduced against original levels.

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That's a good start

by Aldanatech In reply to Innovation

Good, at least we know we can do something with useless motherboards. I actually used to have keychain made out of a motherboard.

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Here is a Free Recycling Program.

by michael.n.jones In reply to Innovation
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The environmental issue trumps all

by DC_GUY In reply to What to do with old usele ...

You're right about that. IT hardware is full of toxic substances and should not go into landfills any more than a dead car battery.

Since we live in a rural area without compulsory trash pickup at rip-off government rates and choose to haul away our own, we're somewhat familiar with dumping rules and practices. Computer equipment costs a lot to dump and we can understand why so many people don't do it -- particularly since no one thinks about it until the pile gets too big to walk around and by then it's a hundred-dollar dump job.

Unfortunately, following the route that our trash takes from the dump can be dismaying. Some of those toxic substances have a non-zero salvage value. A lot of dead equipment seems to mysteriously end up in China, where citizens for whom the equivalent of fifty cents US is a lot of money scavenge the dumps and pull out the salvage with their bare hands. It's creating major health problems whose treatment costs in both money and heartbreak far outweigh the value of the elements scraped off of old components with a kitchen knife.

But the short run always has a way of coming first, so it does no good to explain this to a subsistence worker whose family gets meat once or twice a week.

This is an international issue and won't be solved easily. We all can and should become more disciplined and take old computers and peripherals to a dump that is set up to handle them, no matter what it costs. At least that way they won't end up in our land fills.

Then we can worry about how to stop them from ending up in some other country's land fills.

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Heres the problem

by Choppit In reply to The environmental issue t ...

The trouble is that (at the moment) environmentally friendly policies do not make financial sense. Once environmentally safe disposal becomes a legal requirement businesses will comply (to avoid financial penalties) and the consumer will ultimately foot the bill.

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Worry About Data

by levya In reply to Heres the problem

Whether a home user or corporation you have to be mindful that any proprietary information on storage devices is recoverable if not properly wiped. Fdisk is not going to iretrievably erase information, nor will a simple rewrite with non-sensical data. Although most corporations are aware of the potential liability, they still don't seem to process their data storage units with the level of security that will ensure that all data is gone. It is always best to use a dedicated organization that will indemnify the corporate entity, and wipe to at least Department of Defense specs. From the home user stand point, if they ever typed in any personal identifier into a document, even potentially a web site, that information is contained on the hard drive and is retreivable. Will the consumer be willing to pay for a professional service to remove the data, or just leave it up to luck that when their old unit ends up either at a tech school, or worse overseas and the information is retrieved then used illicitly? Educating the public on these issues and providing them with right tools or solutions is a good first step, but they carry a cost and not many are willing to carry that burden.

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