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What Should I Do With My Tech Junk?

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the i-got-a-whole-closet-full dept.


Thomas Matysik writes "I'm attempting to de-clutter my house and I've hit a rough patch: the computer room. I've got a bunch of wires, hardware and software that (I think) were useful at one point in time, but these days it doesn't do much more than take up space. Selling it seems like it'd be a huge hassle and it seems really wasteful for me to just pitch all of this stuff in the dumpster. I've considered giving it away to Goodwill, but I'm afraid that's not the right sort of outlet for this stuff. My question: what should I do with all of my tech junk?"

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put it on ebay (5, Funny)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 5 years ago | (#24566883)

...and use the cash to fund more future tech landfill, obviously.

Re:put it on ebay (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24566913)

I think one of his points was that selling it, either in real life or online, would be too much of a hassle.

There comes a point... (5, Informative)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567263)

I've gone through this, as I'm sure many of us have...with tech and not-tech clutter. You try to give it away, sell it, kid yourself that you'll find "some use" for it some day.

Short answer is...at some point, you really do have to say fuck it, and throw it in the trash.

Once I've accepted that, my home suddenly isn't cluttered, has more space and room for me to actually use the stuff I do have that is useful!!

At some point, it IS worth it to throw it all to the curb, and let the garbagemen take it away.

At the very least, put the stuff you think might be useful outtside or on top of the cans. Down here in New Orleans...often that stuff will disappear overnight. I've left old monitors and computers and gear out overnight for the trash, and very rarely do I ever see it in the morning still on the pile. If the stuff isn't good enough for the dumpster divers, then off it goes to 'trash land'.

Re:There comes a point... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24567429)

I've found the best way to get junk to disappear overnight is to put a sign on it reading "For sale: $10"

Give It Away (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24567293)

Ive been working on computers since i was 12 (im 21) and 50% of everything i learned has been from computers people gave me.
I think one of the most beneficiary things you could do is put an add in the paper for some kid to come and take it. Especially if its routers/switches, mobiles devices. You could give someone the chance to learn from equipment that they cant afford to buy (or their parents). I know that myself getting stuff like that helped me get the IT job i have today. And Every chance i get I try to pawn my computer 'junk' off on a kiddy so he has a chance to mess around with different technology. Some of the things I always liked to get:
- Sparc Stations (non PC platforms are like tech pr0n)
- routers/switches (anything to connected computers together, token ring? i never got any of that :( )
-scsi (een if its old, its still the whole point, an old scsi storage unit, or tape drives)
- laptops, PDAs, (always fun to have)
- odd systems (486DX with Overdrive(R) technology) Even the old computers are still fun (386 with scsi ?)
- old servers (especially)

the plus side to this, is then you dont hav to worry about throwing it away, and you'll be Serving a full portion to a kids appetite for knowledge. Hope this helps

Re:Give It Away (5, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567475)

I think that it is a great idea when it comes to Linux adoption. For example, you take the old Pentium II you have and install DSL on it, (because the old Windows that was on it is most likely unusable anyways) and the kid learns Linux. Knowing Linux, he saves money on technology throughout his life and gets a good job as a sysadmin.

I Keep My Junk (5, Interesting)

kmsigel (306018) | more than 5 years ago | (#24566895)

I've been working at home as a consultant (software engineering) for over 15 years. Doing a lot of embedded programming, I've accumulated lots of custom and COTS hardware over the years that I almost never use. The problem is the word "almost." On a rare occasion some suspected bug gets reported and I have to dig out some hardware that I haven't used in years and get it working again. After verifying that the suspected bug is really user error, I then pack it away in the basement.

So for me, I just keep everything. It's all worthless, anyhow. How much would someone pay for a Hayes 2400 baud modem? Or a 68040 based Mac running System 7? Or an 802.11 (not a, b, or g) Access Point? I also have early 802.11-draft wireless equipment if that sweetens the deal for anyone. :)

Re:I Keep My Junk (2, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567269)

I literally have an entire extra bedroom in my house that's just filled with old tech crap. 3 old DVD players, 2 Xbox 1's (one of which is broken), a wide assortment of A/V converters/switches, enough cabling to reach the moon and back, about 10 video cards, 3 modems, 3 soundcards, 2 motherboards, 4 computer cases, one full Pentium 2 computer, 2 CRT monitors, 3 VCR's, 2 laserdisc players (the DVD player of its day), some 20-odd remote controls, one CED player, one turntable, and so many countless obscure tech items that I often even surprise myself going through one of these boxes o'crap.

I keep telling myself I may need some of this stuff one day (and a few times I actually have). But mostly, I'm just too lazy to throw it away and wouldn't know how to if I wasn't (hate to just dump this stuff into a landfill).

Re:I Keep My Junk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24567491)

RE: Hayes 2400 modem

Someone just bought my hayes 1200 for $10, plus $5 handling. Sans power supply, even!

Just Imagine! (2, Interesting)

Kyokushi (1164377) | more than 5 years ago | (#24566897)

Turn them into a beowulf cluster, obviously.
And use them to sun some distributing computer projects, like folding@home etc.

Re:Just Imagine! (5, Insightful)

Disoculated (534967) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567185)

Compared to even today's bargain hardware, stuff 5-6 years old doesn't even have the processor power to justify the electricity/waste heat/noise.

Re:Just Imagine! (5, Insightful)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567289)

You have to be a total moron to use old computers for distributed computing. The amount of electricity you waste and heat you generate is ridiculous considering you can replicate the computing power of dozens of older systems with a single new box which uses the same amount of electricity as a single node of the old systems.

Sure, there's something to be said for using them as an educational tool, but again, you're still better off getting a newer high powered box and just running a virtualization environment on it to mess around with distributed parallel computing environments.

Flea Market (4, Interesting)

hahafaha (844574) | more than 5 years ago | (#24566899)

It depends on where you live, but there may be a flea market specifically for this sort of stuff that you can give away for free. If you are within traveling distance to Boston, MIT holds an event called the "SwapFest" which is precisely that. You need to pay a small fee to sell, and then can give away stuff for free, or actually take money for the more expensive equipment. More info at http://www.swapfest.us/ [swapfest.us]

Re:Flea Market (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24567127)


I'm not affiliated with them, never used them, but according to wikipedia, they are a good outfit, and donate/recycle stuff, including electronics.

Greater Baltimore Hamboree and ComputerFest (3, Informative)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567159)

In the Baltimore area, there's the Greater Baltimore Hamboree and ComputerFest [gbhc.org] every spring. My uncle, an electrical engineer, took me once when I was in high school, and I've been back several times since.

It's a blast! Make sure you browse the outdoor tables, too. This place really exemplifies the adage "One person's trash is another person's treasure."

Bring it to a recycling centre (5, Informative)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 5 years ago | (#24566901)

I mean it, simply bring it to a recycling centre. Older computer junk often has more gold content than newer stuff and they sell it off to companies that can extract it. The older the junk, the better.

As for goodwill, don't bother with anything below P-III class machines or higher. Even that's starting to be stuff they don't take anymore.

Re:Bring it to a recycling centre (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24567003)

I agree, take it to a local recycling center. Dumping electronics should not even be an option. Every landfill is already laced with toxic stuff, there's no reason to add more.

Re:Bring it to a recycling centre (5, Informative)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567021)

Scrapping it is a very good idea. The copper in wires will yield the most money. My mother works as a sales rep for a large scrap company, and they buy Cat5, power cables, everything. We had a bunch of old PC power cables where I work and we got about $1.50 per pound for them. I think Cat5 is about $0.50/lb. Similar cabling should see similar prices. Aluminum heatsinks will also sell well. You can sell steel cases and whatnot too, but they will not be as valuable (even though steel prices are up, you have to have some serious poundage to get much).

Except for CRTs (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24567071)

I mean it, simply bring it to a recycling centre. Older computer junk often has more gold content than newer stuff and they sell it off to companies that can extract it. The older the junk, the better. As for goodwill, don't bother with anything below P-III class machines or higher. Even that's starting to be stuff they don't take anymore.

I agree with one exception: CRTs. I replaced two home CRTs with two nice LCD screens and wasn't sure what to do with them. Assuming no one would want them, I looked up recycling them which turned out to be pretty expensive.

Since they both worked, I took them down to the thrift store near my house and asked them if they'd take them. They said as long as they worked they would sell for $20 or so.

Re:Except for CRTs (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567331)

"I agree with one exception: CRTs. I replaced two home CRTs with two nice LCD screens and wasn't sure what to do with them. Assuming no one would want them, I looked up recycling them which turned out to be pretty expensive."

Wait a minute....

Are you telling me if you take stuff to a recycling center YOU have to pay for them to take it off your hands??

I thought it was supposed to work the other way around, they gave you $$ for bringing in stuff to recycle. No wonder it isn't that popular....

Re:Except for CRTs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24567457)

Do you also think the garbage man takes your trash away for free?

Re:Bring it to a recycling centre (5, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567217)

I'd have some reservations about taking it to many "recyclers". Some actually perform the recycling and metals reclaimation themselves, but many more just take all the equipment to the Third World (Africa and South Asia seem to be popular) and dump it there [mailonsunday.co.uk].

Anyone taking old IT junk for free or without charging significantly for its disposal is almost certainly dumping. Although there is a significant precious-metals content in them, it's not (yet) worth the labor required to reclaim it in the developed world. (Which is why you don't see people soliciting e-waste in the same way they do scrap metal or junk cars.) It's a lucrative business when you can employ starving children to do it, but not so much otherwise.

Re:Bring it to a recycling centre (1)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567421)

Anyone taking old IT junk for free or without charging significantly for its disposal is almost certainly dumping.

That's probably the case in most places, but thankfully California's Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003 [ca.gov] offsets the costs for recyclers here. Initially I was part of the "Oh noes more taxes!" club, but it's definitely having a positive impact. Many of the local landfills allow you to drop off e-waste and some businesses, like TV stations, organize big e-waste drives as PR campaigns.

Charging a little extra at point-of-sale to guarantee safe recycling might turn out to be a very good idea, just nobody tell the CFL folks about it...

Re:Bring it to a recycling centre (-1, Troll)

Intron (870560) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567439)

So it's better for those children to starve then to make money getting copper and gold out of old e-waste?

Re:Bring it to a recycling centre (1)

nbauman (624611) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567513)

Better for those children to starve than die of lead and other heavy metal poisoning.

Craigslist (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24566903)

I offer up all my old tech garbage to the free section over on craigslist. Never fails to disappear quickly and I'm sure someone's getting use out of it.

This is a question? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24566905)

Recycle it. Duh.

Just pitch it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24566907)

Throw it away - once you get over the thought of it being wasted you will feel better about not having it anymore.

Recycle (1)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 5 years ago | (#24566921)

There are places online that you can ship your tech junk to and they will recycle it. For a small fee they will also destroy any data containing devices.

Re:Recycle (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567007)

My town has a Tech recycling drive once-or-twice a year. They set up a station so they can collect monitor, cables, old computers, etc and recycle them appropriately. They treat the things pretty carefully too, as to not damage them during the hand-off.

I go there every now and then to clean up a little when I want to get rid of my excess crud, though I never give them any storage devices (HD, CD/DVD, Flash drives, etc). That's just asking for trouble.

As for other options, there's: flea markets, extracting the copper so you can sell it, by the pound, donating it to some charity, or giving it to friends/family that might need a random part.

Re:Recycle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24567241)

Used to volunteer at a local e-waste recycling drive called bring out your dead.

That proved to be so successful over the 7+years we were running it, the city opened a full time e-waste recycling centre.

So now while I don't get a nice chance twice a year to find real oddball gear, it means I don't keep filling my apartment with oddball bear :)

Re:Recycle (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567317)

My town had a recycling drive so I took some old computers down there and the guy just took them and threw them in a big dumpster. I'm sure they've been refurbished by now into a nice paperweight.

Isn't it obvious? (3, Informative)

Minwee (522556) | more than 5 years ago | (#24566927)

Have you considered recycling it [epa.gov]?

Similar programs exist elsewhere in the civilized world. STFW and you'll probably find somewhere nearby that will be happy to take your junk off of your hands.

What they will do with it is anybody's guess, but at least it won't be sitting around your house any more.

I've been wondering the same thing... (1)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 5 years ago | (#24566933)

Recently came across a couple of boxes of old-skool Mac SCSI peripherals -- hard drives, scanners, 100mb magneto-optical disks and drives, 650mb CD burners (can't handle the 700mb discs), cabling of all kinds. Who uses this stuff anymore?

Re:I've been wondering the same thing... (1)

ChristTrekker (91442) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567499)

old-skool Mac SCSI peripherals -- hard drives [...] Who uses this stuff anymore?

Were there drives in the enclosures? I need some of those for my failing A/UX box...

(Does that answer your question?)

FreeCycle and computer/metal recycling. (5, Informative)

DamonHD (794830) | more than 5 years ago | (#24566943)

That's how I've gotten rid of most of my accumulated junk.



Re:FreeCycle and computer/metal recycling. (4, Interesting)

mitgib (1156957) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567271)

I was going to suggest this very thing, try FreeCycle [freecycle.org], in the past I had a small computer repair shop and would always offer a home for old junk, assemble decent, yet old, systems with that old junk, load Linux and give it away to area shelters to further pass em along to the (computer) needy in the area. Hopefully somebody found a job with one of those old junkers and is no longer needy.

proper disposal of electronics is key ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24566955)

In my local area we have a charity group that takes old electronics and recycles what they can and then properly disposes of what they can't use.

If you can't find such a group in your local area then maybe that is a sign that you should start one up yourself.

Easiest way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24566963)

Put it in a box on the street with a label saying "Random cables and computer stuff, £10". It will be nicked in seconds.

Oh, *tech* junk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24566967)

I'm glad you specified that it was tech junk. Otherwise my suggestion would have been to get someone to kick it.

Take it to work... (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#24566977)

And make disposal their problem.

Other than that, it's junk. If you live in a poorer area and you think someone might be able to use it, then you can donate it somewhere...Or if you're completely bleeding edge and your old crappy gear is still pretty modern, you can try and ebay it...but by and large old equipment isn't useful for much.

Don't throw it in the trash though; computer stuff is pretty toxic, and there are lots of good things that can be recycled out of it.

Goodwill and Salvation Army won't take it anyway.. (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 5 years ago | (#24566979)

Both organizations wised up to it -- people were dumping electronics that may or may not have worked on volunteer workers who don't know technology enough to figure it out. They then were saddled with the cost of getting rid of it.

Neither organization will take computer equipment or anything but the most basic of electronics anymore.

Most cities have recycling days where you can get rid of stuff at zero or near zero cost.

I Craigslist anything of value to try to get a few bucks. Anything with no value I put up for free on Craigslist (there are whackos on there who will take damn near anything just because its free!).

Anything leftover goes to the town recycling day.

My solution: (1)

snarfies (115214) | more than 5 years ago | (#24566985)

I have a ton of old computer parts as well. Basically, enough old stuff to make 5-6 computers with (old and slow computers, but functional). But I'm moving at the end of the month and don't really want to get involved with moving this stuff. So one day, I'm walking in a part of the neighborhood I'm not usually walking in, and I found a sign for a summer computer day-camp. AH! I haven't called yet, but I'm pretty confident they could make good use of my old computer parts.

Re:My solution: DO IT (1)

jackb_guppy (204733) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567239)

I moved from 5yrs ago and gave 40 PCs, 2 servers, network hardware, AIX and HP, plus racks along with software (OS) to communtity center that was teaching computer repair and helping people get certifications. They did sell some, used other and then placed the last into class room.

8yrs before that, I gave 15 PCs plus network hardware to the Boy Scouts. They used it to work on Merit Badges for computers. If the equipment broke, no one home equipment was damaged.

As mentioned in yesterday's Africa discussion... (2, Interesting)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | more than 5 years ago | (#24566993)

...one great strategy seems to be leaving all your tech "junk" in a conspicuous spot near the curb just before bed. Unless you're in an extremely quiet neighborhood, it seems there's *always* someone around who's interested in an old 486 tower or a Franklin Ace machine. I've used the same method a few times, and it seems that there's always some old-school hacker prowling the streets at 3AM hoping to score some vintage hardware or parts.

It's either that, or homeless people have learned how to eat 25-year-old 5 1/4" floppies of pirated Apple II games...

Re:As mentioned in yesterday's Africa discussion.. (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567473)

When I was in college I noticed the extreme speed with which just about any sort of electronics would disappear from the side of the road. One day we took an old computer case, emptied it out, and poured in about 8" of concrete. That sucker was heavy, but it disappeared the first night it spent out front.

Another entertaining event, I was visiting a friend, and we noticed that a car parked on the street a couple houses down had had all 4 wheels stolen, but rather than just the usual concrete blocks to prop the car up, they had used a couple of old and really heavy duty computer cases.

Nothing is truly useless if you use your imagination.

Re: What Should I Do With My Tech Junk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24566997)

Call the high schools and community colleges in your area and donate it there. They often have classes that teach novice users the basics of system design, diagnostics and repair.

Re: What Should I Do With My Tech Junk? (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567111)

Schools and colleges in the UK have strict rules about electrically safe equipment. This leads to quite the reverse where they throw out expired but still relatively nice computer kit, awaiting salvage by dumpster diving geeks.

They definitely won't take your junk though.

expired equipment? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567255)

How does electrical equipment "expire"? Are the power supplies marked "throw out after 10,000 operating hours" or do new computers come with a warning label "not for use in schools 5 years after date of manufacture"?

Kid's arts and crafts (2, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567001)

Adult arts and crafts too.

A motherboard and paint makes cool artwork.

Disk platters are good for all kinds of things.

Freecycle (4, Informative)

WibbleOnMars (1129233) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567015)

Freecycle it.

I've come to really appreciate the power of Freecycle.

You give stuff away, so it's kinda like taking it to the charity shop, except that (a) the person who gets it is usually someone who really wants it, and (b) they come and pick it up, so you don't even have to take it anywhere.

And if you post it on freecycle and no-one is interested, then you can do what you were planning anyway and take it to the charities.

So consider freecycle for this. And if you're doing a mass clear-out as you said in your post, I'd suggest considering it for all the other stuff you're getting rid of.

Find a kid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24567017)

who is into playing with hardware. It will give them a chance to play with things that they might not get to experience otherwise.

Public schools (1)

raketman11 (807813) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567031)

Find a public school near you and ask if they can use something. Maybe some of the hardware is too old, even for them, but they probably can use some extra RAM, CAT5 or USB extension cables.

Free Geek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24567033)

If you're near a Free Geek co-operative (http://freegeek.org/family.php), they'll take your old hardware off your hands and either refurbish it for the poor, or make sure it gets properly recycled.

Simple... (1)

Pollux (102520) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567055)

As long as the computers are at least a Pentium III class computer, donate it to a school. What they don't take, recycle the rest.

Find a Local Thrift store (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24567103)

Goodwill is a piece of work. They sift through the donations and fleabay the valuable bits so they can make more money to run their top heavy corporate backend. Just like donating to a big corporate charity only worse. Find a smaller local thrift store and donate it to them. Computer geeks like myself and others often frequent thrift stores and appreciate a good deal.

I have bought great stuff at local thrift stores. My Vintage IBM 701CS (butterfly keyboard) came from a local thrift store. I also have an original older vintage IBM buckling spring keyboard that had been covered by a plastic keyboard cover for many many years that is in pristine condition underneath. Fun Vintage stuff without the stupid vintage price. If you enjoy older Vintage computing stuff find yourself a local thrift store and start going through their stuff. You have to go a "few" times before you find anything worthwhile.

Its not just "poor" people who shop at thrift stores so don't think your items won't be put to good use.

What do you have? (2, Insightful)

Chief_Wiggum (1341031) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567109)

You need to find out what you have in there. CAT5 cables are good forever, where as it'll be kind of hard to give away a GeForce 2. You need to sort out the junk and ID as much as you can. Anything that holds some value can be sold or given for charity.

Dangerous contents? (1)

meburke (736645) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567141)

Don't put it in the dumpster. It will just pollute the environment a bit more, especially tubes like CRT's. In fact, in Houston, it is verboten to put your electronics in the regular trash.

It's a hassle to take it to the recycle center, but that's the best thing to do.

Dump it on a third world country. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24567183)

I heard that's the in thing.

Personally, I think you should show so patriotism and choose a local river.

Computer Recycle Center (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567189)

In my area, we have a handful of recycling centers for computers. And no, this isn't just 'dust it off and resell it' - rather shred it to base metals and sell those.

Check around, there may be one near you as well...

Bonefire! (4, Funny)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567201)

I recycle by burning all my old junk; turning crap directly into carbon. The more junk you have the better, preferably stuff that burns really well. If not just chop down a few threes and make a great fire that will melt anything that doesn't burn. By doing this not only do you save the environment the burden of driving the stuff to a landfill; you also have a nice backdrop for a summer party. What could be cooler than burning a heap of potentially toxic materials.

Non-profit organization. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24567203)

I would suggest donating it to one. I attend freegeekchicago.com its amazing what we have there. The hardware goes to a good cause. We put old hardware together to make a computer. We then put linux on them and sell them for 50$ w/ mouse, keyboard and monitor. We also recycle e-waste, which is why we charge 50$. We also donate some computers to other non-profits and schools in need.

http://freegeek.org/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24567219)

Depending on your location, there may be a free geek recycle center close to you. There is one about 10 miles away from me in PA, though they are based out of Oregon.

junk pile cleanup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24567247)

Freecycle is a good place to get rid of stuff, ebay if it has any sell able value. freegeek is another

Donate (1)

ArIck (203) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567249)

If you are in a good mood, why not donate it to a local charity - either for them to use or for them to donate to someone else. This may bring in pennies for you but to someone in need of it, it could be a blessing.

If you have an Office Depot near by ... (2, Informative)

SengirV (203400) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567257)


For a "nominal fee" you can drop it off there to be recycled.

Hobby? (3, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567275)

For a lot of old computers there is somewhat of a cult following, so the obvious answer is to take the old computer and bundle it with the software and perhaps a few cables and sell it on Ebay or Craigslist. You may not think your C64 is worth anything, but there is someone who will pay $25 for one in good working order. You think your Apple ][ is nothing more than a paperweight yet someone else thinks it is worth $15. You say it would be too hard, but, you need to realize that there are a lot of people who collect and/or use old tech. Not to mention that if you strip out all the insides, having an Apple ][ as a case would be cool for a whitebox computer....

High school science club or physics class (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567305)

...will know what to do with your odds and ends. Find a teacher that's passionate about teaching. (They still exist in most places, but are rare. One that runs a science club in their own time would be a good bet).

School Tech Program (1)

ralf1 (718128) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567349)

I recently gave a box of motherboards/nics/videocards, an old Cisco ISDN router, and some other junk I had lying around to a Technical program at the local high school. I went there with the intention that they'd cull out the good stuff and I'd figure out what to do with the rest but they were excited to have it all. The instructor said that between the electronics kids looking for components for projects and the computer kids who needed stuff that they could break without repercussions it was almost all useful. YMMV.

Donate it to a Local Hackerspace (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24567351)

Depending on where you live there may be a hackerspace that would be more than happy to receive a donation of your unused electronics/wires. hackerspaces.org is the site to see if there is one in your area.

Green Disk - www.greendisk.com (2, Informative)

psychictv (136146) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567359)

I saw something about this place on the Planet Green tv channel. The thing that I had saw on tv was how they recycle old cd's and make them into cd cases, but they take all sorts of unwanted electronics stuff.

Here is the site


Just dump it a SWICO collection point (1)

DerCed (155038) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567369)

Well, if its only old crap, just take everything to a SWICO Recycling [swico.ch] collection point and leave it there.
At least if you happen to live in Switzerland.

Donate it to the OpenBSD project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24567371)

I hear Theo wants to port to your toaster and Nick Holland needs more coax for his 10base2 network.

Student run retrofit & donation clubs (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567373)

While attending school at Penn State, there was a small club that was run by the students. It was known as CHIP (Computer Hardware Initiative Project) and I believe it is now known as the ReTekProject. (retekproject.org). However, I do not know if the project is still ongoing or if the site is still up. In short, they took in donations and rebuilt the machines for use by the needy and/or charitable organizations. It is quite possible that similar programs exist at other Universities, I would pose some of the questions there. (use caution when checking the retekproject website. It is blocked at my office, and though even some of slashdot is blocked here, I do not know if that site is still valid or if the club is defunct)

Give it away (1)

Gribflex (177733) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567381)

I've moved three times since University.
Each time, I've found that the easiest way is to just put up an add on Craigslist to the effect of:

"3 bins of random computer stuff, come and get it. You have to take all of it if you want any of it."

Most times, I'll have someone over to the house that evening.

I'l usually do a quick pass over the bins and remove any data storage devices, or anything that may have some value on its own (video card, ram, etc) that I can sell seperately.

donate if possible (1)

doug (926) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567449)

Several years ago I retired my PIII and I looked around. The United Way had an electronic donation group a near my job, where they refurbished and redeployed old stuff. They got my PC, scanner and printer (which I warned them about, but they wanted anyway). Like usual, I got to take something off of my taxes.

I don't know how much usefulness they got from it, but I tried.

Earlier this year the office park I was in sponsored some recyclers to show up and take old stuff. They got an old 17" monitor.

Personally I prefer to donate with the hope that someone, somewhere is going to be better off. But recycling is still way better than just trashing stuff. Even if you know that they're making a profit off of your stuff, at least it isn't going into a landfill.

- doug

How about a list of your stuff? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#24567489)

Some of us are looking for old and rare pieces of hardware, you never know. You may have something worth at least a few dozen $$$.

Use Goodwill - they recycle what they can't sell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24567501)

Some Goodwill locations take old computer/electronics stuff and recycle it themselves, so even if it's really old and completely broken, they'll take it.

Some Goodwills do this recycling, some don't - I know that all of ours near Austin, TX do.

Freecycle It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24567511)


Freecycle is a group of mailing lists where people just give things away. This covers the area where things are 'too good to just throw away' and 'never going to be used again.'

Each Freecycle list is local, so people are within driving distance to pick it up. Amazing what people will take. I recently moved a pile of pre Pentium II machines and another pile of original Mac Pluses that had been gathering dust around the office. People who picked them up were happy to get them.

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