Recycling & disposal:
"Find a new home for your computer. A computer that’s stored in your basement or garage doesn’t serve anyone and quickly outlives its usefulness. According to experts at Carnegie Mellon University, PCs lose about 40 percent of their value each year. So the sooner you find a new home for your old computer, the better. Many local, regional, and national organizations will take usable PCs for groups or individuals that can’t afford to buy new ones. One such organization is the National Cristina Foundation. It will take PCs that are Pentium 2 or newer and Macs that are G3 or newer. You can tell if your computer is new enough to donate, by clicking the Start menu, right clicking My Computer, selecting Properties and looking at the bottom of the window that pops up. At TechSoup you can find a zip-code searchable database listing organizations that will take used equipment, those that offer low-cost refurbished products, and other information.
If nobody wants your computer, recycle it. If your computer is just too old (that is, it can’t run at least Windows 95 or Mac OS 7.5), it may be destined for the scrap heap. Check with your local waste management agency to find out if your municipality has a recycling program that accepts electronic waste. Many municipalities in states that have banned computer equipment from landfills offer collection or drop-off programs. Learn more by linking to our Recycling Center.
You may find that the company you buy your next computer from will take the old one off your hands, either for free or at a nominal cost. Some companies also provide discounts on new equipment for customers who send old equipment back for recycling. Major manufacturers with recycling services include Apple, Dell, and HP. Some manufacturers have also teamed with retailers like Best Buy and Office Depot to sponsor limited-time, in-store collection events. In many cases these services are free, but some retailers may charge fees or accept only certain types or brands of equipment.
Consider keeping your monitor. Monitors can often be reused even when a computer cannot. If you find no takers for yours, you may want to save it as a spare. Monitors are the most environmentally hazardous computer component, with pounds of lead-filled glass and other toxics. Some states--Massachusetts was the first--have banned monitors from landfills. Whatever you do, don’t simply take your monitor to the curb for trash pickup. Crushing up computer equipment, especially monitors, contaminates other waste, making it more likely that the toxic components will get into the environment. Broken monitors are also more expensive to manage because they must be treated as hazardous waste. Intact monitors are exempt from hazardous-waste management regulations and are cheaper and easier to recycle.
Check out the recycler. Unfortunately, not all the computer equipment returned for recycling ends up at an appropriately managed facility. The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition has found that some equipment is diverted to uncontrolled landfills or unsafe recycling operations in developing countries. As a result, the local environment in these areas can become contaminated, and local residents, in an effort to reclaim valuable metal components, may be exposed to hazardous materials. Some companies are pledging to track the equipment to keep this from happening. Look for a recycling firm that has taken the Electronics Recyclers’ Pledge of True Stewardship. The program is new, but the number of companies that have signed on is growing.
Warning: Whether you donate or discard your old computer, be sure to erase all information stored on its hard drive to protect your privacy."
Original Source: http://www.care2.com/dailyaction/primary.html?da%5Btoday%5D=2006-01-03