How to recycle your old computer and other unwanted electronics

What can you do with an old dead computer? A family member asked me how to dispose of his ancient no-longer-functioning Dell desktop PC. The good news is that it’s easy, and usually free, to recycle unwanted electronics, whether it’s a computer or cell phone, television or batteries. Here’s an generalized version of what I told him:

• Contact your city office. My own town has a free program for recycling electronics; you can drop equipment off at their transfer station on Saturday mornings. Your town may offer a similar program.

• Watch for fliers or notices for recycling programs. Local organizations are always running “drop your recycling off for free” programs, sometimes as fundraisers. (I guess they sell the junk equipment as scrap metal.)

• Electronics and computer stores can help. Many will take old electronics, whether they’ve sold them or not. Best Buy, for example, has a program described here.

• Some general retailers have recycling programs. Walmart, for example, will take some items for free, and will charge to recycle other items, as described here.

• Check with the product’s manufacturer. Dell, for example, will pay the postage for you to ship the old Dell-branded equipment back to them for recycling, as described here.

Sure, it’s easy to toss the electronics into the trash, but please don’t. It’s irresponsible to put that type of equipment (with its valuable metals and toxic waste) into our landfills. For just a little bit of effort, you can dispose of unwanted electronics safely.

If you have other ideas, please leave a comment on this blog.

Z Trek Copyright (c) Alan Zeichick