Computer Recycling

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Setting up a computer recycling program can be very complicated.  Schools, low income families, and public benefit corporations need computers, but if the machine is too old or underpowered it may be more trouble than it is worth.  But don't throw that old computer, printer, fax machine in the trash!  It's toxic.  Here is a collection of links to help you find information on recycling and reuse programs, and potential partners.  

Information on the nature of the problem:

The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC) has a lot of information on "techno trash."  Download a PDF paper on "Poison PCs and Toxic TVs here.  They also have a lot of good information on their Computer Takeback page.
Californians Against Waste tracks recycling legislation in the state assembly.

Computer recycling resources:

I have dropped of several computers and monitors at Green Citizen in Palo Alto and San Francisco, California.  Monitors are free; there are fees for other equipment, but it isn't much.
All Computer Resource in Santa Clara, California, takes all kinds of computer equipment.  They even pick up!
California's Integrated Waste Management Board has a listing of computer companies with recycling programs and a database of state-approved recyclers.
The Electronics Industry Alliance has a webpage with a very good national directory of recycling and reuse programs.
Your local Yellow Pages should have a "Recycling Services" section.
eBay is promoting the Rethink Initiative.  Launched in January 2004, the site will collect links to recycling resources, including, surprise!, ways to sell used equipment on eBay.
United Technologies Recycling has an Electronic Take-Back program for seven mid-western states.  Cost is $28 for UPS shipping.
Tech Soup has a collection of recycling resources for how to give and how to receive used computers on its website.  They also have a searchable database of recycling centers in the U.S..
The Computer Recycling Center serves the San Francisco Bay Area.
San Mateo County, has an extensive program for its residents in the SF Bay Area.  The website has a lot of useful information and links.
United Datatech Distributors of San Jose, California is a good example of a company that takes apart computers, printers, fax machines and the like and recycles the components.
Weird Stuff, of Sunnyvale, California buys used equipment in bulk and salvages components.
Used Computer Mall list of national nonprofit groups
Share the Technology national donation database.  This site includes useful information on what to watch out for.
Carnegie Mellon University Recycling List
National Safety Council Electronic Equipment Recyclers Contact List
Electronics Recycling has a database of recyclers across the nation.  The link takes you to the search page.
And don't forget eBay.  Try selling it before dropping it into the trash.

Companies that take back used PCs:

Dell Recycling
Used Computer Mall

For a list of used PC vendor phone numbers, try

Help for schools and non-profits:

Share the Technology has a national on-line database to match donors with schools and non-profits needing equipment.
StRUT Silicon Valley is both a recycling center and workforce development program.
Arizona Students Recycling Used Technology (AZStRUT) teaches students work skills as they refurbish computers and donate them to non-profits and schools in Arizona.
Resource Area for Teachers (RAFT) refurbishes computers for non-profits and classrooms.  They are Microsoft certified.  Contact Mary Simon, the E.D., at 408-451-1427, for current information.
CompuMentor is a national organization that helps non-profits acquire and take advantage of computer technology.  Their site includes tips for how to give and receive used computers.  
Computers and Education Computer Recycling Center recycles computers and provides job skills training.  One partner is the California Department of Corrections.  

Local Government Programs

The City of Palo Alto has an extensive website on recycling
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Last modified: November 04, 2007