One of the challenges in regards to living in a Geek Household is what do we do with our computers once they become obsolete. My hubby’s workplace recently wanted to recycle many old computer items (computer cases, CRT monitors, power supplies, printers, old servers). We decided to hop on the band wagon and recycle some of our old servers and other computer bits and pieces.
One of the things to be aware of is the difference between end-of-use versus end-of-life products. The first can be reused while the latter requires environmentally sound disposal.
Due to his enthusiasm for recycling and other green matters, my hubby was tasked with recycling these “e-waste”. What he quickly found was that it can be extremely difficult and expensive to recycle e-waste in Canberra, in particular, bulk loads of computer items. From a quick look through the items, I’m guessing that some of the items were end-of-life while others were end-of-use for their business (including good quality working 21″ CRT monitors that were surplus to their requirements as staff had upgraded to 30″ LCD monitors).
So if you’re in a similar situation of recycling bulk loads of computer gear, what are your options for getting rid of your unwanted computer gear legally (dumping of computer items is illegal in the ACT)?
Mitchell Resource Management Centre and Mugga Lane Landfill and Resource Management Centre
The Mitchell and Mugga Lane Resource Management Centres are located in Flemington Road, Mitchell ACT and Mugga Lane, Symonston ACT. You can drop your unwanted computer gear there. The computers are sent to Melbourne for recycling where plastics and other easily recycle materials are extracted.
Disposal fees apply as follows: computer box $15, monitor $22.50. Note that with bulk loads, the website states that it’s $30 per 10 kg. When hubby brought a trailer load full of computer items to Mugga Lane, they refuse to charge per 10kg. He was told that it was charged by the tonne. The Mitchell centre said that they didn’t do bulk loads.
More information over at www.nowaste.act.gov.au
Charity Computers is a not for profit organisation and registered charity run by Canberra Christian Life Centre. Charity Computers receive donated computers in both working and non-working order. They don’t seem to accept bulk loads, unless it’s all computers than can be reused in a home situation (rather than the mix of business computer gear from hubby’s workplace).
For the donated computers that are working, these are repaired and reused. These computers are sent to individuals in need or not-for-profit organisations. Charity Computers are involved in training the unemployed for jobs and are also involved in charitable activities locally and overseas.
Disposal fees of $25 apply to Apple items, 14″ monitors, faulty monitors and monitors without stands. Disposal fees of $5 apply to printers requiring ink or are faulty, and dot matrix printers.
Dell offers recycling for any brand of computer, keyboard, mouse, monitor or printer. Dell will arrange to pick up the equipment at your home for a flat fee of $10 plus $13 per item in metropolitan areas or $15.50 if you are more than 40 km from your capital city. You can also take your PC to one of two drop off points in Sydney and Melbourne for $8.50 per unit. Contact Dell Recycling on 1800 465 890 or email email@example.com for more information.
Dell also offers free recycling for Dell branded products.
I’m not sure about bulk loads but it’s likely the same as the costs for the home recycling (i.e. paying for each item to be disposed).
More information at www.dell.com.au/recycle
Green PC is located in Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and the ACT. It is a not-for-profit organisation that states its dedication to “breaking down the digital divide” that separates the information rich from the information poor. They refurbishes donated computers and make them available, at a price, to those that may not be able to afford a new computer system. They also provide IT services at affordable rates to registered charities and community groups.
At this point in time, they will only accept Pentium 4 desktops and laptops and LCD monitors.
More information at www.greenpc.com.au
Lioncom is located at 8 Pirie Street in Fyshwick ACT. They handle recycling and disposal of computers and are committed to a 100% No Land-fill policy.
They handle bulk loads (call to make an appointment). Disposal costs are $8 per computer, $18 for small monitors (can’t remember the price for 20″ and above monitors), and $1 for miscellaneous items like keyboard, mouse, cables etc.
More information at www.lioncom.com.au
An anonymous reader kindly provided the following suggestion:
On freecycle act (a yahoo group) working monitors are snapped up very quickly.
EzyScrap recycles metal in the Canberra region but reader Tiffany noted that they picked up and recycled her printer for free.
Printer cartridges (including both toner and ink based ones) can be dropped off at ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark’ boxes. View a list of ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark’ boxes in Canberra.
Find a geek – geeks are a great people to pass old printers, mobile phones etc to. They can pull the items apart and use components for various projects. Usable components include LCD screens from your mobile phone, printer gears etc. Not sure where to find geeks? One option is to try the mailing list of your local Linux user group.
Hubby ended up going with Lioncom as they seemed to be the only organisation that would accept bulk loads of computers. I was really surprised to find out how difficult it is to dispose of bulk loads at the Mitchell and Mugga Lane Resource Management Centres. They would have been my first choice for bulk loads, but it seems that it’s only worth going to the Mitchell and Mugga Lane Resource Management Centres if you have at least a tonne of items.
We’ll have to do another computer recycle and disposal run in a few weeks. Looks like Lioncom will be the choice again.
If you’re aware of any schools or other organisations that can make use of old unwanted computer gear (probably a mix of working and non working items and will possibly include server gear as well), please drop me a comment. I would have thought that there are schools out there who may want to have the opportunity to strip down a computer. Anyhow, drop me a comment if you have any other recycling/disposal suggestions or resources that I can add to this post.
DISCLAIMER: The prices above are provided as a guide. Please ensure that you check the websites mentioned for the latest prices.
- Added Freecycle to the list.
- 5 May 2009 – Added ‘Geeks’, EzyScrap, printer cartridges and updated the Charity Computers information.