What to do with those old electronics?

Discussion in 'Community' started by Abstract, Jun 24, 2004.

  1. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Oh what to do with those old computers, tv's, microwaves, that just clutter your basement. Throw it out? Hmmm.... doesn't seem e-friendly to me. I think many Canadians tend to recycle as much as possible, hence the 4 section rubbish bins at each street corner in Toronto and surrounding areas. We're quite good at it, but nobody I ask knows what I should do with my 2 old PCs sitting in my basement, as well as my old printer, 2 computer monitors, old microwave, 1991 Kenwood stereo system with the cd tray that doesn't work anymore, 1992 Kenwood mini-stereo, old ugly lamp that still works, old computer accessories, etc. It just sits in my parent's basement, collecting dust and taking up space.

    Should I give it away to groups/people of various sorts, or are there usually programs that take care of stuff like this? Two of my friend's parents told me to just leave it on the curb and see who picks it up. That's what they did with their old microwave and couch, and it seemed to work. ;)

    I want to be as environmentally as possible, so what are the options beside throwing it all into the bin?
  2. LeeTom macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2004
    Down here in the U.S., we have nonprofit stores like Goodwill and The Salvation Army. They sell used donated stuff cheaply, and you can drop off and donate anything you don't want there.
  3. jeffy.dee-lux macrumors 6502a

    Nov 19, 2003
    i think if you sell these types of things to the sally annes, they'll just end up in the garbage anyways, cause whoever picks them up there might not be as environmentally friendly as you are, and they'll end up wanting to get rid of them too, probably.
    this is one of my biggest concerns. Electronics are improved upon so quickly, just look at computers, if your comp's 4 or 5 years old, its outdated and you gotta throw it out and get a new one. One aspect of their design which never seems to improve though, is their recyclability. I'm not sure which of my classes it was, i dunno, some first year mechanical engineering class, but in it, they listed recyclability right up there with repairability and ergonomics as far as desirable design qualities. If you can get back a lot of the materials from your old product, that'll reduce costs for future manufacturing. It makes sense for everybody, con sarnit.
    We had an old dot matrix apple printer, and i completely took it apart. Now i've got two little electric motors, a bunch of plastic casing, rubber belts and stuff, and a bunch of metal rods and so forth. All things which can be reused or recycled. Except that it took me about an hour to take apart. But hey, i'm sure those little motors are worth a couple bucks or something... maybe. Whatever, i'm gonna try to do this with any major electronic appliance i wanna get rid of. i'm keeping my old macs for possible antique value some day (who isn't?).

    Cell phones... i shouldn't get myself started. I've never owned one, i'm gonna see how long i can go without giving in. But man, i'd guess about half of the people living in my city do own one, and i bet the vast majority of those people have owned at least two different models. Cause hey, that new phone is just so cute! I'm very curious to see some numbers as to how many cell phones are thrown out every year.
    Want an interesting read? Google 'coltan', and you'll see how our lust for uninterrupted communication is completely f***ing up an entire ecosystem and obliterating species.
    Maybe we could start making use of all the cell phones we throw out. I'm sure at some point, the cost of using increasingly rare and inaccessible materials will surpass the price of recycling the materials from old products.
    Someone please reply and let me know that they have some kind of cellphone recycling network thing going on, that would make me very happy.
    Anyways, i predict that in the future, as resources for electronics become increasingly sparse, dump mining will become a very lucrative industry.
  4. mymemory macrumors 68020


    May 9, 2001
    Send it to South America, that is the technological trash can of the world. Were do you think all the refurbish equipment goes? and they are sold as brand new.

    Realistically? I have no clue. Today I saw a matress in the street and the first thing came to my mind was that in my home country it wouldn't last 2 minutes in the street.

    But that is the problem in the world, what is trash for you is gold for some one else, everything is just bad distributed.

    I had a pair of Timberland boots that I used for 6 years and before moving to the US I gave it to a guy, the son of my maid and he took them very happy.

    I wonder where all that trash is going because there are tons of it. Actually, I do not want to know. I just do my best to use what I need and the most.
  5. brap macrumors 68000

    May 10, 2004

    People (on the whole) don't give a s**t until it slaps them in the face. Profit comes before resposibility, yada yada. The little man can do... well, little, to put this right.
    It's something you have to come to terms with, accept your slice of insignificance and let the ball roll. I too try to throw out as little as possible, but it's a throwaway consumer society we live in. Old stuff gets ebay'd, cannibalised for bits, or given to charity; interesting stuff gets kept for posterity. My place is full of my junk!

    Anyway, </thread hijack>, go for a charity shop of some description. See if any youth groups or the such want your old stuff, if not, ebay brings people out of the woodwork. Failing that, it's the trash/kerbside...
  6. ziwi macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    Right back where I started...
    Pass it on

    I use a computer, upgrade it, pass it down to my kids and get a new one. At the point where the machine is unuseable I use it as a web server or file server - I would really like to be able to cluster them and have a file server cluster - if it is a totally worthless machine I trash it after removing any components that may be salvageable.
    If it is a TV I throw it out. Radio - Trash, etc.
  7. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    You might consider schools or organizations like the Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts.

    Schools (HS and Uni can usually find a use for old equipment. Especially monitors, keyboards and mice that are in good working order. Old CPUs may be useful for things like trouble shooting classes and the like. Nothing like being able to take a PC apart to illustrate what goes on inside one.

    Private organizations such as the Boy and Girl Scouts are usually way behind the power curve on equipment. What you consider old and useless could be considered the crown jewell for them. This is especially true if the equipment is donated since most organizations don't have much money to spend since they are on a very tight budget.

    One other option is to contact your friends who tinker a bit with electronic things. You never know when someone need parts for a project that they are working on. And if the price is right -- as in free -- that can be very helpful for those tinkering on some fun project.

  8. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    Here in Japan, they have more cell phones than people. Yes, many use two or three.

    Many companies are going to cell phones vice land lines for their workers. However, to cut costs, it is cheaper to wire the company for internal cell phone use. These same folks when traveling outside to a customer, will need a regular cell phone.

    Plus many have their own as well.

    So for example, this type of person would have the following cell phones:

    - Personal cell phone

    - Work cell phone - Internal (in the business area)

    - Work cell phone - External (outside the business area)

    Now days it is really easy to get free ones as well. So folks just change services to get a new phone -- for fun.

    I have no idea how many cell phones are thrown away per year. But if the average is more than one per person, I imagine that the figure is quite high.

  9. FoxyKaye macrumors 68000


    Jan 23, 2004
    San Francisco, Terre d'Ange, Bas Lag, Gallifrey
    Those old cell phones...

    Don't know about Canada, but a lot of women's organizations will collect old cell phones to give to local battered women's shelters and women who live in (potentially) violent households. They can be activated to call 911, so that if a women is in danger she can use it to summon the police to her location. I'd check around your town/city for these types of shelters and other organizations to see if they'd want your old cell phone.

    Hope this helps,
  10. Abstract thread starter macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I never even thought of the effect of cell phones.

    And most people I know just upgrade their PCs every 2-3 years or so, not throw them out. However, lots of people with some decent money just replace their system entirely every 3 years, and don't donate it. They just throw it out. Same with mobile phones. Its really sad. There really should be a central place to eliminate such devices. Larger companies probably have a better way to make use of these devices.

    I have owned a few mobile phones over the past several years, and I still have them all at my parent's house.
  11. mattroberts macrumors regular


    Oct 25, 2003
  12. TimDaddy macrumors 6502

    Mar 13, 2002
    Versailles, KY (and that's pronounced Vurr-sales)
    This month, I opened a booth in a local flea market. It's not the old school flea market where you have to staff your booth. You just stock it, put prices and your dealer number on it, and they check everyone out up front. I had a garage full of stuff that I don't want any more, but still can be used. Now I don't have to throw it away, and I make a few bucks. I pay $20-$30 for pants to work in. Why throw them out in a year when we there are thousands of migrant workers in my little county alone that will give me two bucks for them? I have actually began picking things up off the curb lately, if I see someting sitting out that looks useful. (Just off the curb, I don't actually dive into anyones garbage can!) I make a buck, someone gets a deal, and the items eventual trip to the landfill is delayed. If you can't recycle it, just find someone else that can use it. If it is no longer useful, I dunno! Trash it, I guess!
  13. virividox macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
    first i try to find buyers if no one is interested i just give it of to a org that needs it the most

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