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Upgrades Hardware

Proper Disposal Of Old PCs? 409

IMNTPC writes "Over the years, I've advanced from a 386DX-33 to a Celeron 1.3 Ghz system. I've slowly been accumulating enough old parts that now I think it's time to start disposing of anything that predates a Pentium 166. Does anyone know of a good place that will properly dispose/recycle of these old parts and PCs for little or no money? So far I've found, but anyone know of any others, either online or physical dropoff points in major metropolitan areas?"
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Proper Disposal Of Old PCs?

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  • EBAY!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 25, 2003 @06:29AM (#7807402)
    Those suckers will buy ANYTHING!
    • Re:EBAY!!! (Score:4, Informative)

      by ChrisKnight ( 16039 ) <[merlin] [at] []> on Thursday December 25, 2003 @05:26PM (#7809471) Homepage
      I second the eBay recommendation, but I would hardly call the people looking for older parts suckers. Some people still need older parts. I sell of my obsolete hardware on eBay, and I've been able to purchase hard to find parts there myself. I have a couple of VA Linux rackmount servers, and eBay was the only place I could find reasonably priced spare parts.

      I've sold scsi cards on eBay for a dollar, and broke even on the shipping; and I am happy because I know the part is going to use and not into a land fill.

      • Re:EBAY!!! (Score:3, Interesting)

        I heard that NASA buys XT processors on eBay. Can anybody verify this?

        In keeping more with the discussion, maybe people should see if there are users in other countries that can make use of old computers? I hear people keep speaking about countries that can't afford the latest & greatest. Well, if they can afford the shipping, then they've got "free" computers.
      • Re:EBAY!!! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by zakezuke ( 229119 )
        I second the eBay recommendation

        I too am in favor of the e-bay solution. Not only did the parents make valid points on hard to find parts, but there is sometimes software / hardware that just doesn't run well on faster systems. Sloppy programing i'd imagine, taking the time from the cpu clock. Not to speak of some older ISA hardware that just won't play well on anything modern. Specificly...

        1. E-prom programers... some people invested good money in a prom burner.... and why spend all that money ag
  • Just leave it out on the sidewalk and enterprising young people who are cash-strapped can build their e-empire using your old throw-aways.

    It's the American Dream.
    • by fataugie ( 89032 ) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @08:16AM (#7807598) Homepage
      OK, I know this is modded funny, but another true story from my past working at a local bank in the facilities dept.

      We would get orders on occasion to clean out storage rooms, repo'd houses, old offices, etc. The problem was, usually there was a bunch of stuff and only one dumpster behind our headquarters. We tried the "fill the truck and cruise around and fill up some other branch's dumpster" trick, but that usually ended in shouting matches.

      If we filled our dumpster, the cleaning people during the week would just toss the trash bags on the ground and make a huge mess.

      What we started doing was, the big, bulky items like chairs, computers, desks, whatever....we would place one at a time on the sidewalk (we were located in an urban downtown area). The longest anything ever stayed on the sidewalk was 15 minutes. People would take anything.

      It was actually a win-win for everyone, the people were happy, we were happy, the bank was happy. No one could sue (we figured we'd say the item was "stolen" off the sidewalk if they tried). This was not a sanctioned event by the bank, but they really didn't care because the task was completed (items disposed of).

      So, especially if you are in an urban setting, try leaving it outside on the curb with a "take me" sign on it.

    • You know, it's funny you say that, cause my parents did the exact same thing, only it wasnt a 386, it was a broken Atari 5200, a bunch of old broken 2x4s, a 5 gallon bucket of dried up paint, some old rags, a Commodore 64 :( Dead ), some broken tools, and a cracked easel (spelling?).

      The funny thing was, I went to get some food soon after and when I got back, they were gone!!

      We're still in shock over it lol
    • Somebody left a computer on the sidewalk next to the trash in my (not so run down) neighborhood. Took it home and it was a working 200mhz! Sadly, no porn was left on it.
  • by rastakid ( 648791 ) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @06:30AM (#7807407) Homepage Journal
    You could give your old systems away to schools and such. The schools with younger kids (up to the age of 10-12) are still able to do a lot of things with older systems, like grammar and mathematics educational games, requiring not more than MS-DOS. Of course there are enough schools with a rather big IT budget, but there also enough school who have to do it with less, is my experience. And they will really be glad with your donations.
    • Don't forget the possible tax deductions. I don't know what you could hope to see, but donating a non-functional car to the ACF or the ALA or whatever is worth quite a bit off your taxes.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Licensing problems, lack of support, and a myriad of other problems plague these old computers.

      They will turn you away at the parking lot, let alone allow you to drag that crap in through the front door.
      • by Stephen Samuel ( 106962 ) <> on Thursday December 25, 2003 @08:51AM (#7807670) Homepage Journal
        Licensing problems, lack of support, and a myriad of other problems plague these old computers.

        Licensing problems are only an issue if you insist on running Wintendos. A P100 makes a fine SOHO firewall.. Throw BSD, smoothwall, etc. on it with a spare ethernet card or two and you're flying for DSL/Cable.

        They're also fine for all sorts of classroom uses that don't demand heavy computations. This would include things like doing word processing with AbiWord (Not sure about Open Office, though -- haven't tried it)

        • by stuartkahler ( 569400 ) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @01:43PM (#7808556)
          A P100 makes a fine SOHO firewall..

          Actually, it doesn't. Back when a router cost $200, an old computer was a good way to run your net connection. Nowadays, you can get a router (with 802.11b AP and 4 port switch, no less) for as little as $30. The difference in electricity costs for running this 24/7 come to $5-10 per month. Not to mention the space savings, and the lack of noise or heat gain.

          • by FCKGW ( 664530 ) <cclpez802.sneakemail@com> on Thursday December 25, 2003 @08:56PM (#7810225)
            Does your $30 router have near-infinitely adjustable firewall rules? A real DMZ (real = separate subnet)? The ability to act as a VPN endpoint? Cool traffic graphs and logging? Even in the age of $30 router/switch combos, an old PC is still a great way to get features that come mostly on very expensive corporate routers and firewalls.

            Old PCs also make awesome little servers. Even a family of neophytes with multiple computers could use a shared file space, and us geeks can set up our own file/web/FTP/DNS/DHCP/time/backup/whatever servers. Personally, I have a P166 as a router, a P133 web server, and a P133 backup server. My file server is a Tbird900 only because I use it as a desktop sometimes.
    • by Dominic_Mazzoni ( 125164 ) * on Thursday December 25, 2003 @07:17AM (#7807514) Homepage
      You could give your old systems away to schools and such. The schools with younger kids (up to the age of 10-12) are still able to do a lot of things with older systems, like grammar and mathematics educational games, requiring not more than MS-DOS. Of course there are enough schools with a rather big IT budget, but there also enough school who have to do it with less, is my experience. And they will really be glad with your donations.

      Please don't donate very old hardware to schools. Many schools have policies that require them to accept donations like this, and others might accept the computers because they don't realize how old and worthless they are (remember, the article mentioned "older than a Pentium-166").

      All you're doing is shifting the disposal cost to the school, which may end up costing them more than the value of the computer itself.

      Keep in mind that schools typically do not have a staff of IT people to repair computers, install software, train teachers, etc. I wouldn't argue if you wanted to take an old but perfectly working computer, load it up with educational software appropriate for a particular grade level, donate it to a specific teacher who's interested, and train him/her on how to use it. But my guess is that's not what you had in mind.
    • if your in the San Jose, CA area, RAFT [] takes donations of all types, and cleans/fixes them and sells them them back to teachers. They have a department spcifically for computers & computer related stuff. if you want to donate, or are a teacher looking for cheap classroom computers, i stongly reccomend them.

    • by openmtl ( 586918 ) <polarbear.btinternet@com> on Thursday December 25, 2003 @07:54AM (#7807566) Journal
      As the IT person at a local school I don't automatically accept any PC and I tell staff to not drop off PCs that they get given. Why ? Many reasons.

      Firstly software: Being On Microsoft Schools Agreement means that any PC will thus cost money each year in the per-PC fees EVEN IF ITS USED WITH LINUX/*BSD. Don't matter - as long as its a Pentium class PC its fee liable.

      Most PCs that are handed in are slow, maybe of a motherboard brand thats not well know (meaning company gone bust so no BIOS updates) or of a unusual processor e.g. Intel in a AMD site or vis versa of uses old EDO memory (which now costs a lot to replace) or ....and it goes on.

      Also the device has to be electrically tested (which costs money) and prepped with correct build (driver issues here) plus would usually have to have a optical mouse added (small kids and balled mice don't mix !) and usually a new (i.e. clean without coffee and food) keyboard. Sometimes the harddisk is just 1 Gig or so which was big a few years back but now doesn't fit our standard image (intended for 2.5 Gig or higher). We also get offered old 14 and 15 inch screens - waste of electricity and room now. I'm happy with 17inch or **flat** but not less than that.

      This all takes up valuable time. Now in 3rd world and LDCs time is cheaper than parts but in any first world country time is the expensive component and taking old PCs is a false economy.

      Now many companies are dumping PCs on schools: why because in the UK and EU PCs are deemed as hazardous waste and thus have expensive disposal costs. They see schools as a nice way of offloading dispoal costs. Yeh great thanks but no thanks - we have a room filled with old '386/P133s already ! Once you have one router/firewall/Nessus scanner PC then you don't need any more.

      • WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tuxette ( 731067 ) *
        Being On Microsoft Schools Agreement means that any PC will thus cost money each year in the per-PC fees EVEN IF ITS USED WITH LINUX/*BSD. Don't matter - as long as its a Pentium class PC its fee liable.

        Am I understanding this correctly? That you have to pay a fee for every Pentium class PC you have, even if it doesn't have Microsoft crap on it?!

        If so, find the moron responsible for signing such a contract, and slap him/her silly.

        • "If so, find the moron responsible for signing such a contract, and slap him/her silly."

          More like identify the morons who are responsible and vote them out of office.

      • by bloosh ( 649755 ) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @10:50AM (#7807926)
        As the IT person at a local school, I accept any Pentium based machine with PCI slots. Add one 100Mb NIC, disable the hard drive, make a boot floppy and I've got myself a perfectly good X terminal to connect to my LTSP ( server. The slowest machine I have like this is an old AST Pentium 75. Runs Mozilla, OpenOffice and most everything else perfectly. Even runs our Windows based reading software via Wine. I am fortunate to work at a school where most of the administration supports me and trusts my judgement. They also seem to like the money I save by not using Microsoft products on every computer.
    • Not true (Score:2, Informative)

      by eamber ( 121675 )
      I work for a school district in rural Lancaster, PA - and I'll tell you: We have an entire old schoolhouse building FILLED with skids stacked with old P166's - probably at least 1000 of them ... and monitors to go with them. We can't even give them away. No one will take them, and believe me - we've looked.
      • Bullshit. A monitor is never useless. You can always go multimonitor on win98 and up and with X. There is no reason someone wouldn't want a monitor. I make my family members hold on to the old one when they replace one, you never know when one will fail. My girlfriend's monitor is starting to die, it has smudged/darkened grey streaks across the screen. It's a 19" though, and I don't have anything that big to replace it with :)
  • You could... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tomstdenis ( 446163 ) <> on Thursday December 25, 2003 @06:31AM (#7807410) Homepage
    ... say throw linux on it [or wipe the drive] and donate it to a local school. You could post a bulletin in your local newspaper [usually you can find ways of doing this for free] and offer it for free.

    I can imagine there are families out there that wouldn't consider a P166 [in working order] a "bad computer".

    So I'd say as long as your older machines still work clean on up and offer it to someone needy.

    That, or you could fill the thing with propane cylinders and explode it in a local abandonned quary. Make sure you tape it and post a url to your video later on!!!

    • Re:You could... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 25, 2003 @06:59AM (#7807474)
      I don't mind if someone accepts donated ancient computers to use them at home, but don't donate them to schools. A "free" 486 or slower will cost more in lost administrative time than the price of a non-free low-end Duron system which can handle current software. Don't take teachers away from kids. They will do a much better job without your trash. Just because some schools' computer labs look like computer museums doesn't mean you have to add to the misery.
      • I disagree, reason being school teachers don't really need access to the computers during class time or whatnot (at least not in my old HS). I could see many uses for an old computer, hell my main computer crashed and I'm on a 150Mhz computer right now. You could put it in a student area and allow them to browse the internet behind netnanny or something. They can't cause to much trouble because the computer can't handle causing to much trouble.

        There are other uses in schools, my typing class couldn't h

      • I'm sure the parent post will get modded into oblivion, seeing as how it's Christmas and people are looking for that warm fuzzy feeling.

        Here are my suggestions : Convert anything with 16mb of ram or more into an X-terminal; load FreeDOS and maybe Windows 3.1 and use it for old games and legacy apps; use it to experiment with weird operating systems; if you program, test your code on it - your own impatience will improve your algorithms; attach it to some sort of household device, like a coffee maker, so
    • I know two places that would take it: The Lazarus Foundation [] and Wilde Lake High School []
  • by danamania ( 540950 ) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @06:32AM (#7807411)
    When I lived in Sydney, one of the nearby dumps had an area where old computing equipment could be left. It -claimed- to recycle these properly, but I can't vouch for the truth behind that.

    There seem to be many places that will take ancient working machinery too, and use it as donation equipment - for some people, a simple 386 is heaven. In 2001 I helped shuffle some of this stuff around, and for students who had absolutely no access to a computer for doing university work at home, a 386 that could edit text was a godsend. No, it's no use for software development or comp sci courses, but for those students who do only need to type up essays and the like, a simple machine with floppy is well appreciated and more than enough. Not every college course is comp.sci or IT.

    Personally, I just get a new one and push the old ones to the side. They seem to become part of the furniture [] and I don't notice they're there any more :)
  • Ebay (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Killshot ( 724273 ) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @06:32AM (#7807412) Homepage
    I put all my old parts, working or not on ebay People are actually willing to buy them In fact I read an article a while back that NASA has been trolling Ebay for old computers to power our space shuttle.. apparently upgrading isnt as easy an option as it is for the average computer user
    • Re:Ebay (Score:2, Funny)

      I put all my old parts, working or not on ebay People are actually willing to buy them In fact I read an article a while back that NASA has been trolling Ebay for old computers to power our space shuttle..

      If you've got any old Cisco 2501 routers be sure to put them on eBay too since NASA is especially looking for those for their shuttles... yea, their shuttles, that's the ticket. Make sure not to priced it more than $150 with the buy now option.

    • I put all my old parts, working or not on ebay People are actually willing to buy them In fact I read an article a while back that NASA has been trolling Ebay for old computers to power our space shuttle.. apparently upgrading isnt as easy an option as it is for the average computer user

      True, but not true. NASA was buying old test equipment on eBay to get the chips from them to use in the Shuttle's ground support equipment, not as flight equipment. (One of the myriad budget problems that NASA has it tha

  • PC Disposal [] Dell, HP, and several other big players all offer various PC disposal programs also.
  • Welll..... (Score:5, Informative)

    by UnCleverNickName ( 730102 ) <> on Thursday December 25, 2003 @06:34AM (#7807420) Homepage Journal
    There's always Goodwill []. They'll take it and put it up for sale for ya. I buy a lot of old Macs from there. Their pricing is a bit odd with regards to computers, the bigger the box the bigger the price, that's the way they do it here. So while I got a 600Mhz desktop for 90$ they wanted almost twice that for a huge ppro machine hehe. Oh, and don't forget your local Churches and boy & girl scout organizations - they have computer/PC merit badges and a used PC is a great way to get their feet wet!
    • Re:Welll..... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by velo_mike ( 666386 ) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @07:13AM (#7807507)
      There's always Goodwill.

      I think this varies by area. When we left Denver for Europe 2 years ago, Goodwill wanted to pick and choose - some clothes were ok, others weren't. 3 15" monitors were unacceptable. They wouldn't take dishes but some cookware was ok, we were combining 2 houses into one and leaving the country, basically everything redundant had to go. In the end, I ended up telling Goodwill to piss off and took everything to ARC (Assoc of retarted citizens) or the battered womens shelters. Same tax right off, less headaches.

  • Here in sunny Minneapolis ther are several places that will take them - my fav charges 10 cents a pound, and then they part them out and have a salvation army type store next door for the parts. I regularly dumb off my old carp, and then go shopping afterward. Managed to get some great deals on stuff and the monitor prices cant be beat -(17" for $20, 19 for $50) all good stuff too

    • Post the name of those places please. As a Minneapolinite with way to many parts, I could use a place like that. Hell, it might even make for an entertaining article, something like 'this is what happens to your old junk'.

    • Know if there's anything like that in Central Ohio?
    • Here in sunny Minneapolis ther are several places that will take them - my fav charges 10 cents a pound

      In sunny Minneapolis (Hennepin County), residential recycling pickups take computer gear for free. Monitors, computers, printers, cartons of dead keyboards and power supplies, everything. And if the weather's dry and you set the stuff out a week before recycle day, it will often vanish before the appointed time.
  • industry barometer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 25, 2003 @06:43AM (#7807446)
    One way to check up on the "state of the art" as practiced by the average schmo is to check out the curbside pickings. For a long time in my area, the curbside offerings were Pentium 1 machines with FX chipsets and 16K to 32K of DRAM. In the last six months things have improved. Its not uncommon to find PII 300 systems or AMD K6 300 systems with 64K or 128K. Disk drives now are now usually a respectable 4 or 5 gigs or so.

    One weird thing is all the perfectly good monitors that end up in the trash. I've found two Dell Trinitron 17 inch units in the last few weeks alone. Not ragged out units but clean and in excellent working condition. I suspect the reason so many good monitors end up at the curbside is the move to flat screens.

    The weeks after Christmas are a good time to keep an eye on your neighbors trash. They have to make room for their Christmas computer and the old one will end up by the curb. Happy hunting.

    • Okay, 80% of what ends up on the curb is junk, but it depends greatly on where you live and the areas demographics as to what you can find.

      I wont go out of my way to look very often, but I have a few spots behind certain engineering firms that I do look, and if I happen to see a box when I'm out and about I'll grab it. I can always throw it away again.

      I've found decent SCSI controllers, small and medium SCSI drives, tons of decent size EDO and SDRAM, plenty of optical drives, several 17" good monitors tha
      • P100 is still within the range of what I consider "useful" and worth hauling away. My "luggable" is a lowly P120 and it does what's required of it, while not being worth so much that it's a disaster if it gets broken in transit.

        Sometimes even-older machines have stuff worth pilfering, like a 56k modem (which doesn't care if it's in a 386). If nothing else, there's always fans, screws, and cables. :)

  • by wackybrit ( 321117 ) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @06:52AM (#7807460) Homepage Journal
    Instead of hoarding and facing this problem, you should have done something about it a long time ago. I upgrade all the time, but when I do, I always find someone to sell the old parts to, or can put them in a machine I'm building that someone buys from me on the cheap (this is how I seem to upgrade my CDRW about a billion times a year). But you need to get rid of old parts before they become old, otherwise you end up with the problem you're in now.

    If you sell the parts while someone still really wants them, and will pay good money, then you remove the whole problem of disposal. (Well, technically you push it on to someone else, but that's just as good) So next time you upgrade, go out and get those benjamins! It helps you rationalize the upgrade if you can get 50% of your costs back too ;-)
    • My problem is that I always seem to have enough concurrent stuff of my own that can use the aged-out parts... frex, back when SIPPs were still worth something, my junker test box was a 386 that took SIPPs. So I have 20mb of the things, which outlived said test box. Hate to throw 'em out, cuz if ever they're needed, they'd be a bitch to replace.

      But *I* think it's "normal" to have a dozen systems around the house, mostly built from used and salvage parts. For someone who only needs one newish system at a tim
  • recycle tax (Score:5, Informative)

    by Potor ( 658520 ) <farker1 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday December 25, 2003 @07:02AM (#7807481) Journal
    if you live in belgium, then you can give back the parts to electronics dealers, or dispose of them ecologically soundly at a community dump. we pay a small recycling tax on all electronics over here, and that is used for disposal. ps, this post comes from a p166. merry xmas, potor
  • In Austin, Texas, there are several solutions for disposing of these obsolete appliances. Here is a link to your

    options [].

    I agree with the posters discouraging the donation of old computers to schools. They really aren't equipped to deal with them. If you want to see the hardware creatively 're-used' rather than recycled, perhaps you can donate it to a non-profit hacker organization like the Free Net groups in various cities.

  • by weave ( 48069 ) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @07:04AM (#7807486) Journal
    Check with your state recycling program. For example, Delaware has a free electronics recycling drop off program. []

    If your state doesn't have one, push your legislators to start one too. Point at Delaware as an example! It beats it ending up in a common landfill without proper handling.

  • by aardwolf204 ( 630780 ) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @07:15AM (#7807511)
    I wonder how many other slashdotters have closets full of computer parts. Sometimes I think to myself that this is ridiculous. I've got 3 closets in my apartment and I refer to them as "monitors closet", "case closet" and "parts closet"... Even invested in drawers for the parts closet so I can find what I need (IDE cable, PSU, mobo) quickly.

    Why, oh God why do I keep 512KB SIMMs!! Someone just steal this stuff from me!
  • We have this problem as an organisation and have found a small co-operative in the East End of Glagow that takes them and refurbishes them for community groups.

    When I have a computer that is looking a bit worn, I wipe the drive, reload the OS, adn give to a local group that needs it. So far, that has included a local lawn bowling club, a scout troop and a senior's home. These people don't need a fast machine. Just someone that can dial up to the internet and print newletters or raffle tickets. I get more

  • by smash ( 1351 )
    ... apparently have a pc-recycling program, at least here in Australia.

    I just noticed in one of their recent corporate brochure mail-outs, that they actually offer you a rebate on new stuff if you send them your old hardware.

    Maybe worth if if you're looking to upgrade...


  • Does anyone know how to recycle lead acid batteries? I've got a whole pile of dead cells from UPS's.
    • In the US, most city/county governments have an office that keeps track of local recycling companies. I'd look there to see if they can point you in the right direction.
    • I think any place that sells car batteries is required to accept used lead acid batteries for disposal. They probably just throw em in with the car batteries that get sent to a place that reconditions them.
    • To recycle any sort of battery: - not intended as an endorsement per se, it's just the place I take my old batteries and buy some of the more obscure models of replacement when the need arises. Looks like they're in (almost?) all 50 states.
  • by hazem ( 472289 ) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @07:55AM (#7807567) Journal
    In Portland, OR, there is Freegeek: [].

    They take all kinds of computer equipment. They refurbish what they can and recycle the rest with "responsible vendors" - meaning places that don't just ship it off to China.

    Drop-offs are free, except for monitors, which cost $10 because of the difficulty in handling all the metals and toxic materials in monitors.

    People can also volunteer there in their different programs and get "free" computers for their work.
    • Free Geek charges $10 / monitor to cover the cost of shipping them to a recycler that can break them apart safely. People (and businesses) bring in their old systems and leave with a receipt that's of use at tax time. It is up to the donator to estimate the value of his donation.

      Free Geek runs three programs that are kind of interesting:

      • A, for Adoption program: do 24 hours of volunteer time and you earn a Freak Box (lot's of high schoolers in this program)

        Freak Boxen are currently spec'ed as: 200 - 2

  • Depending on where you are, Computer Aid International [] may be able to help. If you're in the Bristol/Avon or Reading areas of the UK, a great little charity called Computers for African Schools [] might be interested if the machine is at least a P75, 32MB RAM, 1GB HDD. These guys do some excellent work, refurbishing these machines and shipping them out to Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia. I work with them on occasion, not so much because I want to help the third world (though of course that's important) but mai
  • 386 usage (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jacek Poplawski ( 223457 ) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @07:57AM (#7807571)
    on 386 you can still do interesting things:

    • programming in many languages (just without visual shit^H^H^H^Hide)
    • edit documents in text editor (then compile them with LaTeX!)
    • watch picture collection
    • play NetHack

    All you need is good, new monitor, because old one can be bad for your eyes. Other parts of computer are perfect to use with completly new software.

  • Nobody has mentioned what is often done here. Collect old equipment, mix and match parts until you have say thirty or more working PCs and send them to Africa or any other place that can use them. There are NGOs that will see to it they end up where they are needed.

    It's your conscience what OS you use, and while they often think they want Windows, this is probably more harmful than good. It is important for people to learn how the machines work so Linux or BSD are far better choices. (Compile on your fast
  • PC for parents, they will love it and you get a warm feeling out of it*

    *only profitable if you live out of easy travel distance
  • Dell Recycling (Score:2, Informative)

    Yesterday afternoon I received a Dell ad in the mail. On the back cover, they advertise a new PC recylcing service. For $7.50, you can recycle up to 50 lbs of computer equipment, up to three items from any manufacturer. Additionally, they give you a handy 10% off coupon for use toward a new Dell purchase.

    Furthermore, they have also launched a new Dell Donations program to benefit the National Cristina Foundation []. If you have hardware (ad says 'above Pentium I'--ambiguous as to whether or not your P-16
  • Dell Recycling (Score:2, Informative)

    by mmurphy000 ( 556983 )
    Dell runs a recycling program, and they take other manufacturers' equipment as well. They take PCs, printers, monitors, etc. There is a per-item charge, but it's fairly low (PCs are normally $15, but it looks like it's "on sale" for $7.50). That covers the shipping - you just box the item up, and on the day they specify, leave it outside, and Airborne will come by and take it away.

    Check it out at the Dell [] site.

    I've used this program to recycle a dead 17" monitor, and it worked like a charm.

  • pass it on... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by humanerror ( 56316 )

    I donate my geek skills to a non-profit here in San Francisco (an experience which has given me new insight into the phrase "legacy systems")... I scavenge hardware for parts off the free listings on []. The usability and quality is generally better than what we get from donations (usually from local businesses looking to get rid of ancient hardware at no cost, just like you).

    If you live in an area covered by craigslist, just post a listing in the free section... someone will take it off your

  • I would say a Charity would be happy to take them, I know at my church we still have alot of 486s and P90s (I am right now building a new back up server out of an old P133, using linux of cource) and we would be happy to take anything.
  • and to get those old pc's recycled into art installations or access spaces running linux.

    besides the blokes running these projects are cool ;-) and drop by from time to time to party with wolves lug.
  • In Ann Arbor, MI, the recycling center has a dropoff spot for computers. I'm sad they have a "no scavenging" sign there, whenever I go there there's a mountain of machines, monitors, and laser printers on the heap. But it's a college town, if they let people pick it they'd have husks with no RAM/etc. I don't know what they do with them but at least as dropped off they could send them to a refitter that could use the RAM, drives, etc to build machines for the 3rd world, etc. Some machines may even be fas
  • No, I'm serious. I sell all my outdated computer parts via an auction site. Not only it doesn't cost me, usually I earn enough to send them and buy myself couple of blank DVDs or so.

    This way someone who still has some use for them can buy it really cheap too.

    • In a semi-related suggestion, I've donated numerous antique-but-functional parts to the local "computer doctor" guy. Unless the business is a front for a crack house, he's not making very much money, and he can solve your recycling problem. My guy even took a broken monitor, on the chance that it could be repaired economically.
  • contact me (my-slashdot-nick at email d0t com) and I'll happily give you the address. I am in desperate need of a new firewall appliance... ;-)
  • Freecycle (Score:3, Informative)

    by PacoTaco ( 577292 ) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @10:23AM (#7807835)
    Maybe try this []. Also good for non-computer stuff.
  • My local newspaper publishes a special section on Thanksgiving Day in which people (mostly from social service organizations and charities, but also friends and neighbors) describe "Christmas wishes" for certain needy people they know. There are invariably several requests for functional computers of various kinds (e.g. "capable of doing e-mail"), which is a good use for "obsolete" gear, and great for your offline karma. (Suggest this to your local paper if they don't already do anything like it.)

    I'll ec

  • I've got a damaged computer system in my garage (StorageTek 9393-600) that weighs about 1000 lbs empty.

    Any suggestions on getting this thing out? Maybe a salvage dealer would come pick it up?
  • by matth ( 22742 )
    We have a local Prison that works with Unicor to recycle old computers, and then sell what they can as usable computers, we often are able to get some good deals for our company there.

    Unicor []
  • by mr_burns ( 13129 ) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @11:02AM (#7807971)
    If you live anywhere urban the sidewalk is amazing.

    I was walking down the street with my gf at the time in Oakland and there were these old 486's and p60's laying around. I busted out the cybertool and started harvesting ethernet cards. People came by with tools who had seen them 15 minutes or so earlier than I did and I started helping them build machines and pick the best parts.

    However, you can't just abandon the machines or leave them for the dept of sanitation. The amount of lead and other nasties in computers is environmentally hostile. One thing to do is advertise that you're doing this. I see this on (or any other location based classifieds) a lot. Postings like: "I'm gonna leave this stuff on the corner of this and that at 5pm" are common and get the word out to people who need parts and can't afford them.

    After the compu-hyenas have picked the carrion clean you should take responsibility for what's left and decide, based on what's there if you want to recycle or find a place to dump that will do so ethically.
  • by danimal ( 1712 ) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @11:03AM (#7807975) Homepage
    there is the Alameda County Computer Resource Center []. They even have a list [] of fees that they charge to make sure they can properly dispose of the items. They take many types of electronics, "We want everything you can plug in that you don't put food inside of." They also turn around and provide computers and other things that work or are repaired to schools, charities, non-profits, and disabled folks. So it's a win-win situation, you get rid of your computer parts and they help someone else.
  • ...they become appliances.

    Just because the machine is no longer fast enough to be a general purpose machine of modern standards doesn't mean it can't do one specific thing extremely well.

    A school or nonprofit could make good use of a donated 386 as a print server, pbx etc. You can find your favorite needy organization, ask them what they sorely need and use your hardware macgyver skills to do some philanthropy.
  • In my city, we have formed a USENET group meant for the sale/swapping of old parts. I've used this group to buy my Pentium-class server which now runs Linux, the thing cost me $30 because it was someone else's junk. I don't know about 386s, but people still use the group to get rid of 486s because someone is usually interested in parts for salvage.
  • You can dispose of everything there, be it toxic waste, old dirty socks, illegal weapons of mass destruction, your uncle's corpse, multi-tentacle monster, your younger sister, used up ballpens and post-it notes, collection of photos of you and your mare in compromising positions, some curious-looking blue thing nobody can identify, a roll of toilet paper, G. W. Bush or Eiffel's tower. So why not old computer parts?
  • by plopez ( 54068 ) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @11:24AM (#7808047) Journal
    These 'upgrades' are filling up the landfills with potentially hazardous items (lots of heavy metals etc.). So when Microsoft (or Oracle or HP or IBM or whoever) forces you to upgrade the hardware because thier bug ridden bloated software will not run older equipment, they are making profits at the expense of our environment. In addition, individuals and businesses pay taxes and tip fees to dispose of the equipment. This amounts to a hidden subsidy of the profits of the software and hardware companies. It is planned obselecence of the worst sort.

    We need, in the US, a system which charges the disposal fee upfront, so there are no hidden costs. In addition if anyone is looking to innovate, a truly recyclable computer would be a great goal.
  • To get a degree, local (Central California Coast) high school students have to do some sort of volunteer work. It can be pretty much anything so one student I know has organized a computer drive. He accepts anything computer related and when he has enough parts, puts together a working computer which he then donates to families who can use them which he finds through the local food bank.

    Another organization I know of is Oakland Tech, a public high school in Oakland California. They run a training program t

  • in some areas you can put it on the curb and it will be picked up overnight. a lot of cities/towns seem to have collection days for TVs and computers. I know Philadelphia PA (where i live) has collection days that bounce to another location every month or two. The have ones for old TVs, Computers and computer parts. They have a schedule for days like this for a lot of things, even "anmesty days" for things like old motor oil, oil based paints, and all kinds of chemicals you are not supposed to put in the tr
  • I'm recycling old PC's and sending them out with Linux on them.

    I put up ads in all the stores (a sheet with tear off phone # strips) asking people to call me to pick their old computers rather than throw them in the trash piles. But I do drive around with my eye trained on every trash heap I see. I can spot a keyboard cable hanging out of a box at a 1,000 yards!

    I pick them up for free :) clean them up like new, install Linux on them and resell them for a very cheap price as a SAFE Internet appliance for

A bug in the hand is better than one as yet undetected.