Monday, November 12, 2007

Recycle that old Computer - America Recycles Day

In my post Sticker Shock, I mentioned that I had an old laptop that no longer works and I didn't know what to do with it. Well, in a comment on that post, Janice Brown, at Cow Hampshire, linked to an article about Staples and their computer recycle program.

Since I was going to Staples to purchase my new digital camera, I took the old laptop along. I asked the sales clerk who was helping me if they accepted computers for recycling and he responded in the affirmative. When it came time to check out I made a quick trip to the car and got the laptop. The young man was very nice and courteous but didn't know how to handle the recycling charge. Neither did the other cashier. They called the manager. He said there was a code they had to use. It wasn't at any of the registers so he had to go into the back office to get it. In the meantime, I filled out the paperwork identifying what was being turned in and signing my name stating that I understood that they were promising that the equipment would not be resold or used in any other way, that it was really going to be recycled.

What should have been a less than five minute process ended up taking about 20 minutes. Of course, the sales clerk apologized saying it was the first time anyone had actually recycled anything at their store. I wasn't in a hurry or anything so it was no big deal. But if you plan on recycling any electronic stuff, I'd suggest calling ahead to the store to let them know.

This morning, while on the Staples website checking the status of my camera shipment, I did a search for "recycle computers" but nothing came up. In their page on Media Information they have a News Release titled Fewer Than One in Four Americans Recycle Their Technology Waste that provides additional information on the program and what they will accept.

Did you know that Thursday, November 15th, is America Recycles Day? The Material Recovery Center at Columbia City (in Whitley County, Indiana) has a Saturday in November set aside for turning in hazardous materials, batteries, tires, appliances, etc. that they don't normally accept. Fort Wayne also does this. There is a fee involved with these things, but it is minimal. I'm not sure if they accept electronic equipment such as computers, printers, and scanners though. It might be worth checking your local recycling center, especially if you have multiple items (CPU, Monitor, Printer, etc.) as there is a $10 fee at Staples for each item. There is no charge for cell phones, pagers, digital cameras, mice, or keyboards.

It cost $10 to rid myself of a piece of junk, but I feel good about having done so. It got it out of my closet and hopefully some of the precious metals can be retrieved for other uses. As Janice suggested, I opened the laptop, found the hard drive and gave it more than a few good whacks. After putting the cover back on, the insides rattled a bit, but that shouldn't take away any of it's recycling value ;-)

As a side note, I purchased my new digital camera. A Sony Cyber-shot H7. 8.1 megapixal and 15x zoom. The only one they had in-store was the display model. I'm prejudiced against display models so opted for having it shipped to me. It is supposed to arrive tomorrow (Tuesday 11/13). I just want to be able to check it out for a few days before my trip to Missouri. I'm really looking forward to that 15x zoom. Awesome!
Flag image from the America Recycles Day website.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you Becky, Janice, and Staples. The season for giving will soon be upon us and I intend to give all my obsolete electronics to Staples this year. I'm happy to pay the $10 fee knowing that the equipment will be responsibly recycled.