Do you have a monster in your basement? Your garage? I do. It's a lifetime of discarded computers, VCR's, old stereos from college, some Frankenstein thing that DBF built out of old parts, and other scary remnants of electronic life from long, long ago.
Okay, it's not that bad. But DBF and I are both computer people in "real life" and we each have 3 computers and a home network. No, you didn't read that wrong. Unfortunately, we've been stacking the old stuff in the basement hoping that it would be sucked into some kind or e-waste timewarp or carted off by gnomes or something. In other words, we didn't want to pay to get rid of the stuff.
So what do you do when you need to get rid of this stuff?
- First, you can't just throw it in the trash because most older computers and monitors have lead and other metals in them that will leak into the soil and pollute the ground water.
- As if #1 isn't a good enough reason, then consider that the computer probably has your personal data on it. Too bad this guy didn't know that. My job at work entails recovering computer data that people think they've deleted. Trust me, I've recovered files that were deleted as far back as 6 years ago!
- Recycle with a reputable recycling program. You'll need to do your homework on this one. Alot of communities are now offering recycling programs and your trash company may offer them as well. They may or may not be free. For example, the going rate to dispose of an older CRT0style computer monitor (the behemoths, not the flat panels) is $7.00. That's what it costs to crack it open and safely remove all those cancer-causing metals. Why did I say "reputable"? Because there are some folks out there that are charging the public to recycle their equipment and then just throwing it in the dumpster out back.
Keep reading for information about a FREE e-recycling disposal coming up here in Kansas City!
- Once you've found an e-cycler (cute name, huh?), then you'll want to prepare your old computer stuff for drop-off. Make sure you didn't leave any important CDs, DVDs, floppies, etc. in there. And make sure you don't have any stickers or anything with your name on them. And, last but not least, you'll want to securely wipe your hard drive. FORMATTING THE HARD DRIVE DOES NOT ERASE YOUR INFORMATION. Sorry to yell, but that's important. There are several FREE programs available on the Internet that will help you do this - check out KillDisk or Darik's Boot and Nuke. You will need to be semi-tech savvy or get some help. Whatever it takes, but it needs to be done. Some of these e-cyclers RESELL the equipment where it ends up on eBay or in third-world countries!
The Mid-Continent Library has partnered with Surplus Exchange to provide FREE electronics recycling for folks in the Kansas City area. Here are the dates and locations:
Smithville Branch - April 17, 2010 at 10:00 a.m.
120 Richardson Street, Smithville, MO
Parkville Branch - April 24, 2010 at 10:00 a.m.
8815 Tom Watson Parkway, Parkville, MO
Liberty Branch - May 8, 2010 at 10:00 a.m.
1000 Kent Street, Liberty, MO