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Where Computers Go To Die 303

Posted by Zonk
from the not-a-rest-home dept.
broohaha writes "Salon.com has a featured article on where all our unwanted techno trash gets sent, and what is not being done enough to account for all the so-called 'recycling' we're doing. From the article: 'More than 50 percent of our recycled computers are shipped overseas, where their toxic components are polluting poor communities. Meanwhile, U.S. laws are a mess, and industry and Congress are resisting efforts to stem the effluent of the affluent.' Some sites to visit dedicated to attacking the problem are Computer Take Back Campaign and Ban Action Network."
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Where Computers Go To Die

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  • First Post? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @03:08AM (#15104082)
    That's Basel Action Network, not Ban Action Network!
  • by pair-a-noyd (594371) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @03:08AM (#15104083)
    http://www.systemrecycler.com/ [systemrecycler.com]
    Disabled guy takes old equipment, cleans and refurbishs it, repairs it if needed, loads Linux and gives it away to the needy.
    Some of it is resold to cover basic costs but it's pretty much a non-profit.

    • Suddenly I feel bad for those 286's I *threw away* a few weeks ago. :\
    • Mine go in my parent's basement.

      Or here's some computer recyling in Portland Free Geek [freegeek.org]

      • by jacklarge (843778) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @05:09AM (#15104349)

        I found Free Geek a while back and liked the ideal a lot but as I'm in the UK it sort of died a death. I'm partially involved in PC recycling as an amateur PC builder and Linux advocate so it would be something I'd be interested in doing in my part of the UK. What I'd like to see is if any other like-minded UK Geeks would be interested in a similar 'franchise'.

        They have a recycling system that gives back to the community. The basic idea is that geeky types learn how to strip and make good an old PC load Debian on and then it goes to the poor. After a certain number of builds they get to keep one for themselves. Sounds a bit 'hippy' but then internet grew on hippy-ish ideals and I for one commend the organisers on their selflessness.

        Anyway please take a look at the Free Geek site and see what a GOOD THING it is.

        http://freegeek.org/ [freegeek.org]

        Cheers.

        • The sad thing is that a lot of the stuff that gets thrown away really isn't all that bad.

          My inlaws bought a new pc a while ago because the old one was "broken". What they meant was that the machine was completely bogged down with spyware and crap that Windows had slowed to a crawl. They bought a new machine without asking me, or I could have told them that all they needed was a new Windows install...

          I put a fresh install on it and gave it to my neighbour who needed a basic browsing / MS Office machine. (No,
          • "The sad thing is that a lot of the stuff that gets thrown away really isn't all that bad."

            I know in the past, there were folks that would take older machines, and refurb them, and donate them to schools. Apparently tho...many if not most public schools today no longer accept older machines...so,there goes one venue for recycling.

            When I was clearing out the top floor of my home in NOLA after the flood...I found I had hardware I really had no room for in storage...and was too old really for me to bother w

      • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @06:27AM (#15104486)
        > Mine go in my parent's basement.

        Then where do you live?

    • by bjpirt (251795) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @04:28AM (#15104267)
      I think the benefits of this are slightly blurry - on the one hand it is socially invaluable to do this and I take my hat off to the guy for doing it, on the other it is an old inefficient PC that uses an awful lot of energy to do not that much.

      I was investigating a scheme to get computers to the residents of a village in Kenya and my immediate reaction was to use recycled PCs, then I realised that using something like a low end mini-itx would work far better for them because it would be easier to get out there, could run for a long time on batteries (crucial for intermittent power problems) and is relatively robust (potentially solid state).

      Horses for courses I guess, but I still have an extremely strong urge to get as much out of old hardware as I can.

      • then new PCs. e.g. my 200mhz dell's processor pulls 30 watts as opposed to my Athlon's 90. You really only see low power PCs in business and desktop environments (and laptops). Most users are still buying cheap Dell Boxen with 300 watt power supplies running full on.

        Besides, once you hit 200-300 mhz with a tnt/rage128 class graphics card you can do any 2D task you care to name. That was a major concern for PC venders back in the day: how are we gonna get people to upgrade when this year's models are onl
      • I think the benefits of this are slightly blurry - on the one hand it is socially invaluable to do this and I take my hat off to the guy for doing it, on the other it is an old inefficient PC that uses an awful lot of energy to do not that much.

        Really? Most introductory computer users are going to type S-L-O-W-L-Y into their computer as they type up their homework or email. They'll spend large amounts of time staring at the screen trying to decipher what they're looking at. Does it really make any differenc
  • by egilhh (689523) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @03:08AM (#15104086)
    What do you mean, there's no silicon heaven?

    ~egilhh
  • by $exyNerdie (683214) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @03:16AM (#15104106) Homepage Journal
    Not too long ago, a french ship lined with toxic asbestos was sent to India (finally had to be returned) and had wide coverage in media. The poor are happy to take these things apart and make some quick cash without any knowledge of long-term ill effects. Sometimes, the hunger and immediate needs prevail over any consideration of long-term ill effects.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4577198.stm [bbc.co.uk]

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/469242 0.stm [bbc.co.uk]
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Even if your eventual fate is to die of long term effects ill effects isn't that better than dying of hunger now?
    • You are mixing a number of problems into one:

      There are different kinds of trash we dump on the third world:

      • Dumping toxic trash that does not generate technology jobs and does not promote education. Essentially this is using cheap labour to perform "guaranteed death" jobs. The two asbestos ladden french ships which India and Bangladesh refused entry to recently are good examples.
      • Dumping trash that is not toxic, which does not generate any jobs, promotes black market, feeds the local mafia in the proces
    • Currently there are three US ships laden with asbestos and waste oil in a British port untouched for the same reasons. They were brought over from the US to be stripped, decontaminated and cut up for scrap, but various environmentalist groups have blocked the action, so they sit there gradually decaying rather than being safely taken apart.
    • What's the problem here?

      There's people and places willing to take away the refuse and deal with it in a manner that we don't have to see or hear about. The people ripping the useful bits out of this gear get to make some cash, and the rest of us don't have to fill our basements with our employer's old servers.

      What's the problem?

      There's too much beauty upon this earth for lonely men to bear. -- Richard Le Gallienne

      So let's cut it down and pave it over.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @03:16AM (#15104107)
    Our router vendor told us that some models will not be available in Europe anymore, because they contain lead and other dangerous stuff. He also told us that they will continue to sell it in USA and Asia, "because it is not illegal".

    Companies don't care about the environment, until governments force them to care.
  • BAN = Ban Action Network?

    Isn't that kind of like:

    STOP = Stop Teachers Against Pollution?
     
  • Recycling tax (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kj0n (245572) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @03:21AM (#15104125)
    In Belgium (and maybe also in other European countries), this problem is solved by asking a recycling tax and making vendors responsible for recycling old hardware and household appliances.

    When buying something, a customer has to pay a small amount of money (for instance: 0,5 for a mobile phone), but in return, he can return his old devices to the vendor. The vendor then sends it to the manufacturer who recycles it.
    • who then... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @03:41AM (#15104176)
      Yes, you send it to the manufactuer. The manufacturer then sends it to a 3rd world country where it isn't really recycled at all, it just sits there and pollutes the enviroment.

      That's pretty much the point of the article, and you missed it.
      • Re:who then... (Score:3, Informative)

        by 10Ghz (453478)
        Finland has similar system as Belgium does. And the are NOT sent to third-world countries, but they are recycled. Well, in Finland, they are not sent to the manufacturer, but to recycling-plants (for free). There they get recycled. Refrigerators have their freon collected and processed in controlled fashion before they are recycled. All the useful elements and material are extracted and reused. This system hasn't been in use for long, but it has caused the amount of stuff being sent to recycling to increase
  • Recycling - by law (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hptux06 (879970) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @03:23AM (#15104129)
    Due to an EU directive, computer recycling will become compulsary in the UK in 2008: the related article here [bbc.co.uk] describes how the WEEE[sic] will force computer manufacturers to be responsible for their products, by providing a recycling service for *all* the electronic devices they sell.
    • Unfortunately, I don't believe this law says that they actually have to recycle the computers. They merely can't landfill them in the UK. The lawmakers didn't appear to consider the possibility of shipping the old computers overseas and landfilling them in a third world country.

      The classic trick is to set up a company in your target country, which "reuses" old computers. Then ship all your stuff over there, and write it off as 100% recycled (for which you probably get tax benefits). The receiving company wi
    • Question:

      Does this cover vendors of complete systems only (eg Dell) or also component vendors (ie can I recycle bits of computers I built myself)?

  • Salon.com has a featured article on where all our unwanted techno trash gets sent, and what is not being done enough to account for all the so-called 'recycling' we're doing

    Looks like they've been recycling the grammar manuals over at Salon a little too much...

  • Catch 22 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by caffeination (947825) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @03:30AM (#15104146)
    So you're a savage primitive if you don't recycle, because of all the toxic components in computers, but if you do, you're an imperialist polluter because of all the toxic components in computers?

    Why can't anything be simple? Are people really that greedy? I guess what'll happen is some certification will spring up "100% true recycling" or something. These things tend to work out in the end.

  • by skam240 (789197) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @03:43AM (#15104179)
    As a fairly poor college student who left the computer industry during the 2001 depression I have lots of broken/obsolete computer hardware and not allot of money. The prices they charge at the recycle centers to take this stuff are quite steep for some one like myself (20 bucks for a monitor is a weekends worth of micro brews for me after all :) ) making just dumping them in the dumpster near my house extremely tempting. I'm sure there are allot of people less eco conscious than myself who see fit to just throw this crap away rather than pay the fairly hefty processing fees associated with proper disposal. I wonder how polluted our own landfill is due to this.
    • There was a report on TV some time back (investigative report) which wondered why communities charged for recycling so they decided to find out.

      They tagged some recycling trucks and followed them to their final destination:

      The city dump.

      If the story ended there it would have been sensationalistic enough, but the next day they showed what goes on at the city dump.

      Normal trash, and trash from recycled bins got fed into these giant conveyor belts where workers sorted through the trash and pulled out all the re
    • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @08:56AM (#15104916) Homepage
      Problem is two fold.

      1 - too many people believe that P-III 500 they paid $1500.00 for in 1998 is still worth $1000.00 and will not sell it for less so it will sit in a closet for 3 more years and then silently get thrown in the trash.

      2 - Way too many people believe that you have to have a Pentium4 or better and 2GHZ or faster to do anything. I can edit a full length feature film, do Advanced CG graphics at broadcast quality and everything else productive that is done today on much older hardware. Hell we have a old intergraph Graphics Workstation here with dual P-II 350's in it with a old copy of Lightwave that can do amazing things (and has! the M&M animated characters on TV were done on that same hardware and software revision)

      and that is with windows, install a properly chosen and configured linux on it and it can be faster "feeling" than a XP machine on modern hardware.

      Way too much get's tossed based on a belief that it is un-useable. I fished out of the trash here at work a pair of Dell poweredge servers that had only P-III processors in them. They scream as SQL and File servers at home, and a smaller company would kill for that kind of resources that a larger company happily tosses in a dumpster.

      Obsolete = useful in different ways. I have old obsolete 386 pc104 formfactor computers all over michigan on towers acting as ham radio digipeater data collection nodes running an obsolete linux kernel and had rolled Filesystem to fit on a 4meg flash. that 1.X kernel is supposedly "unsafe" but nobody can hack them unless they want to climb up 200 feet.

      these old computers would rock for a robot "brain" for robotics... adda rat-shack VEX kit and go the next step from remote control erector set to real robot.

      There is lots of life left in "obsolete" computers and computer parts.

      Hell I keep around dead motherboards and cards simply because I never have to buy surface mount resistors and capacitors anymore... Harvest the boards for free parts to feed my electronics hobby!
    • You should contact your local landfill and see if they offer an free recycling dates for electronics. I found myself in a similar situation as yours previously and then I found a program at the landfill.

      Electronics are accepted for recycling three days a month from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The collection is held at the Hazardous Waste Facility located at the Broome County Landfill. There is no fee for residential users. Visit www.gobroomecounty.com or call (607) 778-2250 for collection dates. Materials Ac
  • Isn't it interesting how this topic is framed in terms of pop sociology? It does no one any good to frame this problem in these terms, any more than efforts against infectious disease are helped by discussions of humors and prescriptions for bloodletting. The problem isn't a matter of affluence but of responsibility.

    • EXACTLY, and to reinforce your point, FTA:
      and China's appetite for scrap is so enormous that the shipments just keep on coming.
      Responsibility is a universal thing. Importantly, the Slashdot summary seems to be the only place with the slant, with the Salon.com article dealing with the wider issue (as in the quote above). Not going to click on some fucking "sponsor logo" to read an article though.
  • Freecycle? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gihan_ripper (785510) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @03:45AM (#15104186) Homepage

    Part of the problem is that we junk our old computers or 'recycle' them. There are plenty of individuals and organisations that don't want or need a brand-new computer and would happily take our old machine. When I was a graduate student, I used to buy second-hand computers from my department every couple of years. I passed on my old machine to my 88-year-old neighbour and slapped Debian Woody on it (it works fine, by the way, and she now uses it constantly for keeping in contact with her family and for genealogy).

    These days, if I wanted an old machine, I'd probably use Freecycle [freecycle.org]. This is simply a Yahoo forum for people who want to give away (or get for free!) unneeded items.

    • No, no, NO! "Poor" people from developing countries DO NOT WANT your garbage! A P-350 is junk, no matter what country you're in. In addition, older computers don't have modern power-saving options, and consume too much electricity. If you want to help the developing world, pay to have your old garbage recycled IN YOUR OWN COUNTRY.
      • Perhaps you were responding to the wrong comment? My comment was about giving old machines to people in my neighbourhood, not to developing countries.
      • If it is junk then I must not be typing this right now.
        Sure I don't do high end stuff but it works perfectly well for the stuff I do.
        Mostly text and browsing.
        It might use much power but it could still be more efficient than throwing it out.
        Especially if it can't be recycled and must be put in a landfull.

        P.S. Your site is not working right now.
        I know because I go to alot of user's sites.
        I just had to use "alot" instead of "a lot" to refer to your sig.
        • It might use much power but it could still be more efficient than throwing it out.

          Not just throwing it out, but throwing it out and manufacturing a new machine. I suspect that the energy that goes into making a new Mini-ATX machine would probably run an old P3 for quite a while; pretty much everything in a computer, from the chips to the metal in the power supply to the plastic in the case, is highly energy-intensive to produce.

          It's just like cars: if you're going to buy a new car anyway, then by all means
    • Agreed, I've been on Freecycle for a while and it's a great way to both get rid of extra stuff you have around (working stuff, that is) and sometimes get something neat for free.

      Really the only downside to it is that it uses Yahoo Groups, which I am not a huge fan of, to run its mailinglist, but aside from this I think it's a good concept, well executed.
  • I do my part (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dance_Dance_Karnov (793804) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @03:55AM (#15104206) Homepage
    by keeping all my old computers. They all have a use, if for nothing more than a file server or router or something.
    • Re:I do my part (Score:5, Insightful)

      by prichardson (603676) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @04:20AM (#15104256) Journal
      Of course, your oldest computer probably consumes a lot of power for the meager computing power or storage space it provides. This hurts the planet in an entirely different way.
      • Re:I do my part (Score:3, Insightful)

        by waveclaw (43274)

        Of course, your oldest computer probably consumes a lot of power for the meager computing power or storage space it provides. This hurts the planet in an entirely different way.

        Just how much pr0n are you planning on hosting? An old 10Gb HD will store a full Linux FOTM desktop install. And there will still be lots of room for your 100k of weblog posts.

        You do know how to use a voltmeter, right? When the HDs are idle, my webserver draws less current than the 80W motor and five 100W lightbulbs in the ceili

        • You use 580W to light (and circulate air) one room!?

          I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.

          Try some compact florescent lightbulbs. And JUST USE ONE. You don't really need more to light a room well.
    • Re:I do my part (Score:2, Insightful)

      by amias (105819)
      Reusing old machines as routers is a good idea , but , they do use far more power than
      a small dedicated router would . Of course if you get your electricity from a renewable source then this is not a problem . These providers will then replace the electricity you
      use from the national grid with electricity from renewable/sustianable sources.

      That said , even if you don't have clean power reuse is still better than recycling but
      please consider your power sources .
      • Of course if you get your electricity from a renewable source then this is not a problem

        I'm not sure I agree with the above statement. Unless the supply of 'green' electricity totally covers demand, every unit of electricity you save is one unit less that has to come from 'non green' sources, even if the electricity _you_ are using is completely 'green'.

        Of course this is no reason not to use 'green' electricity, just that saving electicity is always worthwhile.
  • No great solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bm_luethke (253362)
    As far as I know there is no "silver bullet" out there. That is, there is no clean great solution (clean and cheap enough to not drive tech companies out of business). Recylcing isn't that clean, dumps aren't that clean, and even if sending old computers to poor areas that they are still "fast" works now it eventually will not. If there is then I will agree to push to legislate it.

    While I will not purchase from known pulluters if possible (as is my right to choose), I can't say I blame companies if a countr
  • Economics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by quokkapox (847798) <quokkapox@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @04:12AM (#15104236)
    It all comes down to economic incentives and laziness. Right now it is cheaper to mine new metals and process raw oil to make the plastics and wires that make up our disposable electronics. Right now it is cheaper to toss them into a landfill or ship them to China for children to disassemble and extract and recover what's worth recovering. Right now it is cheaper to drill holes in the ground and dig out the fossil fuels than to figure out a new way to produce energy.

    When the equation changes, we'll figure out a better way and we'll gradually start doing something different. This pattern hasn't changed for centuries.

    An interesting business idea (unpatented as of yet) for you speculative investors, would be to collect and safely store (in landfills, or wherever) large amounts of technological waste of known quality (say, cellphones and ipods only, no monitors, or something). Then sit on it for a few decades, and wait for mining and recovery/recycling technology to catch up. Sort of like buying up land that has oil shale on it. You know we'll probably need it someday.

    • Re:Economics (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ajs318 (655362)

      Right now it is cheaper to mine new metals and process raw oil to make the plastics and wires that make up our disposable electronics.

      "Cheaper" in the same way that stealing your neighbour's milk is cheaper than paying the milkman for your own milk. Of course, eventually the neighbour will notice; and the longer the theft goes on, the worse the consequences will be. Solution: impose a tax on "virgin" raw materials wherever it would be viable to use a recycled alternative, so it will be cheaper for man

  • FreeGeek in Portland (Score:3, Informative)

    by whistlingtony (691548) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @04:45AM (#15104299)
    www.freegeek.org

    Freegeek operates in Portland. I do volunteer work there and it's a neat place. They take old hardware, strip it, recycle what they can, and the rest gets put into their rebuilding program.

    They take the decent stuff, and after testing it gets built into new systems (Yes, they put linux on them!) and given to other non profits, needy types, etc.

    The beauty of the system is that they teach volunteers to build these sytems. The volunteers learn a bit, build so 6 systems, then they get to take the sixth home with them.

    So, Freegeek does the following:
    Recycles old hardware
    gives "new" boxes to good causes
    teaches people how to build a computer
    teaches people how to use linux
    gives people who can't afford a computer a chance to earn one

    All around, a damn fine setup... And before you ask them, no they don't have one in INSERT YOUR CITY HERE. :D
  • by Glowing Fish (155236) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @06:02AM (#15104449) Homepage
    Anytime one of these articles comes up, someone posts a link to Free Geek [freegeek.org], your local place where technology is recycled. That is because people think Free Geek is awesome. Because it is awesome. Although, you know, you can also learn a lot about Free Geek here [dyndns.info]
  • by jageryager (189071) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @06:47AM (#15104530)
    > sees as a persistent failure by the U.S. federal government to stop the > dumping of millions of used computers, TVs, cellphones and other
    > electronics in the world's developing regions, including those in China

    I don't see it as dumping if the Chinese are smuggling the stuff in..

    I agree that it sucks to live in a third world country, and it sucks to live in a polluted environment. But what will these people do for food if they can't recycle? Will they starve?

    It's easy for rich fat Americans and Europeans to be critical of situations that put people and the environment at risk.. But we mostly all have food to eat every day, and homes, and money. I'm reluctant to pass judgement on other people I don't know or understand. If was starving I would work a dangerous job to buy food.
  • Pointless Upgrades (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Vollernurd (232458) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @07:01AM (#15104563)
    One problem with the large number of "obsoloete" machines in need of disposal or recycling/re-using is that they are normally perfectly good machines for light use. For example, the person who buys their machine just to email and surf the web should realistically expect to get 5 years+ use out of it. i would expect far more than that if the hardware does not fail.

    There seems to be a lot of forced upgrading among those who don't need more power, whether that be for new OSs requiring more sophisiticated hardware, or that PC manufacturers have redesigned the internals again and you cannot buy a replacement PSU/whatever for your old machine when it blows.

    With more considerations paid to backward compatability as well as component quality I think we could cut waste quite a bit.

    This is just an observation. What do you think?
  • by jridley (9305) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @07:39AM (#15104634)
    Since hearing about the extent of this problem on NPR Science Friday a few months ago, I've decided to just hang on to my stuff until there's some decent way to get it REALLY recycled.

    I mostly reuse computer cases, just swapping out mainboards. Mainboards and old PCI cards can stack pretty compactly. It's the couple of old dead CRTs that are really taking up the space.

    I'll take them somewhere when I can be confident that they'll be handled in a sane manner. They'll probably still be in my basement in 20 years, knowing how fast things move in the environmental regulation area, particularly internationally.
  • Rather than throw old PCs into the trash and fueling the waste problem find new uses for them.

    For example, old PCs 386 or later, can be reused as a router/firewall. They provide excellent security for your home LAN while keeping it out of the waste pile. Being floppy based, Freesco does NOT require a hard disk! Install the software and reuse the PC or give it to someone who will. See:

    http://www.freesco.org/ [freesco.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FREESCO/ [wikipedia.org]

    Later PCs, such Pentium 400 MHz or later, can be reused as My
  • by j2brown (149380) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @09:30AM (#15105099)
    My tab in Firefox says:

    Slashdot: Where Computers Go To Die.

    Struck me as funny anyway.

    jeff
    sdg
  • by atomic_toaster (840941) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @09:59AM (#15105306)
    I've noticed that one of the prevalent comment subjects with regards to this article is that either "I can always find a use for my old hardware" or "I know somewhere around here that has a free swap/refurbish service." Which is great, don't get me wrong. The thing is, computer-techy-types are, by their very nature, not inclined to throw out old hardware, as they will be able to find some use for it, whether it be to re-purpose it at home or create a Frankenstien box that they can give to someone who can use it. Most enthusiasts of any kind are like this -- car enthusiasts will save parts in their garage for years after they've sold the car, just in case they need it someday; handicrafts enthusiasts just won't throw out that leftover/old piece of fabric/paper/etc. because they know that once they do, that'll be just the thing that they have to go out and buy.

    It's not the enthusiasts that fill up junkyards/landfills/ships to China/India. It's people who don't know/care much about the subject that just junk their stuff as soon as it's no longer the "latest and greatest." It's not just individuals, but companies that do this (although larger companies often have a plan where they send their older hardware to be used in schools or community centers or some such).

    Something that every nerd and geek can do to help reduce useful hardware going to junkyards/landfills/overseas is to let their friends and coworkers know that much of the stuff that people are throwing out can be repurposed. This goes for not just computers, but most electronic equipment. A lot of people just throw out their old TVs/VCRs/DVD players/etc. too (even though they still work or just need a tiny repair). And being the person that everyone knows is into recycling/repurposing has the side benefit of probably being the person who receives the hand-me-down hardware!
  • Widernet (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ddkilzer (79953) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @11:16AM (#15105889)
    One of the tasks of the Widernet [widernet.org] project is to take old PCs, install a static copy of part of the Internet on them, then ship the computers to developing countries in Africa so that they can benefit from the knowledge without having a dedicated connection. For working equipment, this would be an excellent way to keep the computers from being junked.

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