Green Computing – How to Recycle Your Old PC Safely

  • Comments: 1
  • Written on: May 1st, 2009

funfridaysDo you still have that old computer of yours from the early 90’s?  Statistics show that there are enough computers in storage in the U.S. to provide every man, woman, and child with three computers each!

So how can you get rid of your old worn out computer?  What do you do when you  decide to upgrade?  Here are Frequently Asked Questions about computer recycling.


I’ve heard of REUSE and RECYCLE, but how do I go about doing those things?

If your computer is less than 4 years old and works properly, there is a good chance that someone else out there might get some good use out of it.

In many cases you can donate your complete (i.e. including a keyboard, mouse, and monitor) to a local charity or thrift store.  This way, you are not tossing your old computer away and someone else can get some use out of it.

But before you jump in your Prius and head to the Goodwill, you might want to call ahead first.  As awareness of E-waste laws has increased, many charities have stopped taking donated computers because the cost of disposing of them is too high.

If no thrift stores in your area will take your computer consider approaching your church or a local shelter instead.  Be sure to get a receipt for tax purposes.

There are many companies that recycle computer components by shredding them and then melting them down for base materials taht are then sold to others for use in new electronics.  Nation wide recyclers recover more than 100 million pounds of material over a year.

Unfortunately, it will cost you anywhere between $.30 and $.70 a pound to have your system recycled.  Alternatively, Schrock Innovations recycles computer towers, keyboards, mice and accessories for free and only has a nominal charge to handle monitors.

FAQ #2: How do I protect my privacy?

You will need to make sure that your personal information has been permanently deleted from your hard drive.  Simply deleting your personal files off the computer before tossing it out is not enough.  Any experienced company with data recovery equipment can recover data from a hard drive that has not been professionally erased.

A good way to ensure this is to take to a computer store (such as Schrock Innovations) to have them zero your hard drive.  Zeroing a hard drive permanently removes your personal files, internet history, passwords and cookies.

FAQ #3: Is it possible to buy a “green” computer?

Yes, but those computers are not necessarily known as “green” computers. You can purchase a computer that is built form recycled parts for example, but these computers tend to have a greater liklihood of failure or warranty repair.

A safer bet is to buy components from manufacturers that contain fewer toxins, have an energy star label and are shipped in as little packaging as possible.

FAQ #4: Does my computer manufacturer have a recycling program?

Yes, many manufacturers now participate in recycling programs. Call or check out your manufactures website.  Additionally, Best Buy now recycles computers at all of their retail locations.  However, before they will take your computer they require you to remove your own hard drive because they do not want to be responsible for the loss of your improperly erased data.

FAQ #5: Does Schrock Innovations recycle computers?

Absolutely. Stop by the store and drop it off, we will do the rest.  There is no charge for recycling computer equipment, except for a $15 charge per monitor.

Fundamental Fact: Only 10% of computers are recycled in the US. Which means that when your computer is trashed in the landfill, chemicals, lead and other heavy metals are being leaked into groundwater.

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