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What should I do with my old computer?

PC or Mac, the time comes when we have to say goodbye to our old computer equipment. Before you throw away that computer, a few facts. In 2009, the EPA* reported that discarded TVs, computer equipment, peripherals (including printers, scanners, fax machines) mice, keyboards and cell phones totaled about 2.37 million short tons in landfills. Throwing away your old electronics or e-waste instead of recycling can lead to corrosive chemicals seeping into the ground. An estimated 70% of metals filling landfills come from e-waste. Recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by over 3,500 homes in the US in a year. In an effort to be more “green” here are a few tips to dispose of your equipment in an environmentally friendly manner.

Reuse: If your computer works why not donate to an organization that can put your old laptop to good use. Non-profit organizations like MacRecycleClinic and Project Reboot  will take your old computer, refurbish it and place it back in the community. Needy users can expect to pay a nominal fee for the refurbished equipment.

Recycle: If your old trusted equipment is done for. You can use organizations like Turtle Wings and E-end. They will pick up and can ensure the secure destruction of your company’s data. Other certified e-recyclers nationwide can be found at www.r2solutions.org and www.e-stewards.org.

Reduce: More information can be found through your state or county.

Sustainable DC, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Maryland Department of the Environment