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Environmental Issues
Going Green

By Alan J Hartley

Recycling Old Computers



Computers require a lot of energy during their relatively short lifetimes, but it is a sad fact that about 3/4 of the energy that the average computer uses throughout its life is actually used in the manufacturing of it. As we tend to throw away our computers every two years or so, and simply discard our old ones in a tip when we replace and upgrade them, we really should try and recycle them to extend their lives and efficiency.

  1. There are many ways we can recycle our old computers and the first most obvious one is to simply sell them on E-Bay. Of course there are many other ways to sell old systems including a small advert in the local paper, Stafford Post, or on other web-sites such as Gum Tree, or one of the many "Local Village Type" web-sites such as UKVillages.Co.Uk.

  2. Of course you could try trading it in against a newer model as you might a car. This will probably only work in a small computer shop that sells secondhand PC's and not the likes of PC World.

  3. You could simply ask around your friends and acquaintances  to see if anybody can make use of it, but one of the more socially beneficial ways of disposing of your old computer is to make enquiries at local charities who may be grateful of it either to sell it or use it. There are all sorts of IT training schemes being offered by all sorts of charitable organisations all round the country who can make use of an old computer as well and undoubtedly you will find one near you with a little bit of research. Perhaps one of the better destinations for recycled computers is ComputerAid which, although based in London, is a very worthy cause. You can send your computer by carrier which may cost about 10-20, but think of it as a charity donation, because the computers they receive are sent to developing countries for use in schools, hospitals etc. The other big thing about disposing of an old computer in this way is that ComputerAid use advanced software for wiping the old hard drives. It is possible to obtain various programs that claim to do this for you, but the only truly reliable way to destroy information held on a hard drive yourself, is to take a big hammer to the drive and literally smash it to pieces! Silly as it may seem, the remains of the computer can then still be of use in that it's parts can be recycled and a cheap new hard drive can be bought and fitted for a few pounds, to make a fully operational computer again, after the programs have been re-installed!



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Alan J Hartley