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I have a printer that no longer works and several computers that no longer work. I need to dispose of them, but am not sure how to do so properly. What is the best way to get rid of computer equipment that no longer works?

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Good question. Thank you. –  A Dwarf Sep 15 '09 at 14:09
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No, this is an AWESOME question! Thanks for bringing this up!! –  Craig Sep 15 '09 at 17:13
    
Community Wiki? No real answer, but still a good question. –  Phoshi Sep 18 '09 at 20:32
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8 Answers

You should always dispose of electronics responsibly. Google for recycling companies near your home.

Don't let your waste end up in China, where children are being poisoned by burning e-waste for extracting the raw metals.

You could also look around, there are charitable organizations which take old hardware, fix it and give now-working computer equipment to those in need. Unfortunately, I can not give you more detailed hints, since I'm not from the US.

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Bear in mind that old computers aren't all that valuable as computers, since much more powerful and reliable new ones are only a few hundred dollars, and the old ones may not run some place's standard software. –  David Thornley Sep 15 '09 at 15:24
    
I know I could still make a 486 servicable in some capacity (DMZ router or print server for examples). Sure, it won't be a fast or shiny as a new box but it can still be used and free is an great price. –  Craig Sep 15 '09 at 17:15
    
Even an old computer can serve, at least as machine with, say, Linux on it, for teaching the basics of computer use. –  brandstaetter Sep 16 '09 at 14:30
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Dell has partnered with the Goodwill so you can recycle computers, computer parts and printers at your local Goodwill. I've dropped stuff by there and it is pretty awesome. I just hope the stuff doesn't end up in the third world where people get exposed to the toxic elements when they attempt to extract them for money.

http://reconnectpartnership.com/

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Wow - that looks like a great program. I'll give it a try and report back. –  harmanjd Sep 15 '09 at 13:48
    
I hope it works out well. –  pave Sep 15 '09 at 14:28
    
I'd like something like this in Puerto Rico. –  lamcro Sep 15 '09 at 15:54
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I resell some components on Craigs List, and give others away on FreeCycle.

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Catapult.

Alternatively, there are charity organizations in your city that will take your equipment, try to fix it, and get rid of the stuff that is completely worthless responsibly. They'll on-sell your computers to less fortunate families and students.

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+1 for that first suggestion! –  pkaeding Sep 15 '09 at 15:14
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Well, where do you live? In many European countries, there are communal recycling centres where you can dispose of electronics and many other kinds of waste free of charge (or sometimes for a nominal charge in case of larger quantities).

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i live in the US. –  harmanjd Sep 15 '09 at 14:00
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These nice people are based in Seattle. They take old computer equipment and sell it to a company that strips them down to materials for recycling where possible. They might know of a comparable scheme near you. Goods for the planet

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Remember to physically destroy the Hard Drives. I know you can use software to 'wipe clean' the HD but you can never be 100% sure.

A quick Google search should give you some ideas.

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There are utilities out there that can wipe a hdd with no worries of any previously written data being read from them. Darik's Boot and Nuke being my favorite (using the DOD methods). dban.org –  pave Sep 15 '09 at 14:55
    
Depends on what you want to be safe from. Overwrites will doubtless work against anybody short of the NSA for years to come, provided you can overwrite all the sectors. Security's about balancing levels of risk, not eliminating risk entirely. –  David Thornley Sep 15 '09 at 15:23
    
If you care about high data security the data should never hit the disc in unencrypted form in the first place. –  Christian Jan 29 '11 at 15:15
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