Earlier this month, I was in Portland, Oregon and had an opportunity to visit FreeGeek, a computer recylcing organization. It got me thinking about the computer graveyard that is my home office. I have the dead bodies of too many computers and other electronics collecting dust in my office. (Not to mention cluttering up the floor space.) So, I decided that one of my New Year's resolutions would be to do something about this growing mess of e-waste that I have been to afraid to simply throw in the trash can.
I spent some time over the downtime of the holidays to clear the clutter, carefully removing and organizing equipment no longer being used. I put them in a corner. Ah, that felt great. But, now what? I tweeted about it!
In a quick scan of various nonprofit lists, I wasn't the only person in the nonprofit sector who decided to do something about my e-waste. Here's quick round up of responsible ways to recycle the e-waste hanging around your office:
The electronics recycling industry is plagued by "sham" recyclers - those that rely on low-road practices for making a quick buck, like exporting to developing countries and using prison labor for processing, or simply dumping e-waste after taking out the most valuable parts. Use a responsible recycler. You can find one using the Electronic Take Back Coalition's map
Depending on the brand and model of the computer, some manufacturers actually have programs to take back their older products and recycle them. The Electronics Take Back Coalition has a guide to computer manufacturer take back programs.
The Service Source Network helps people with disabilities and has a Keep It Green program. Because computers contain materials that could be dangerous if left in a landfill, the ServiceSource Network has partnered with CDM eCycling to keep these hazards out of our environment. Donated computers are disassembled so their component parts can be reused. They work in Virginia, Delaware, and North Carolina.
The National Cristina Foundation accepts donated computers, software and peripherals and then matches these items to a charity, school, or public agency that has been selected from its partner network.
How are you dealing with your nonprofit's e-waste? What are your best tips and resources for finding a responsible local computer recycler?