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What to do with old (example: 7+ years) PCs?

I have seen the what to do with a spare computer question. I want to know what to do with a spare computer that does not work any longer. It's too old and parts are too expensive to consider repair.

All I can think of:

  1. Trash can
  2. Recycle program
  3. Part it on craigslist/eBay (requires buying conversion kit to access hard drive for wiping data, laptop)

Is that all? know of any good recycling programs?

Also, is it ok to throw a computer in the normal trash?

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    Convert it into an indoor garden ;) – Shekhar May 20 '11 at 13:52
  • Sell it to a museum? Seriously I don't see any other option. If some parts where functional I would have suggest to give it to association or school... but if it is unusable... – M'vy May 20 '11 at 13:54
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    Some companies (in the UK, PC World/Currys) will take old computers for disposal. I don't know Best Buy will do this. – tombull89 May 20 '11 at 13:56

What I've done in the past is take it to a metal salvage location. The case will probably be worth a little and the power supply will be worth a little. Also take any copper off the motherboard, that should be worth something too. It won't be a lot, but it's better than nothing.

You can also check out something like gazelle.com, Amazon just started taking electronics too. You may no get anything for them but you can probably recycle them for free.

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  • +1 Good suggestion. Something I never thought of – P.Brian.Mackey May 20 '11 at 14:21

Well, IMO some parts are worth keeping. While new cases look better, older cases were often a lot more solid - if you're going to build a low cost box, ATX form factors are still the standard, and you could save some money on the case.

CPU Heat sinks make good paperweights, and the ones on north bridges and inside PSUs are useful for small electronics projects.

Hard drives can be taken apart, platters make good (cool and fairly hard to damage) coasters, hard drive magnets.. are just plain awesome. The case can be used as a bookend or door stop. That also neatly solves the issue of wiping it.

The rest, its best to check if there's a electronics recycling programme and leave it with them - there's a fair amount of things in there that can be reused, or recycled

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