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Green Electronic Garbage

No, I'm not talking about nasty little computer viruses or worms; in this case, I'm talking about an environmentally friendly recycling program for computer-related digital detritus.

My wife forwarded me this link because her company just got a few of these things. The Technotrash Can is designed to hold up to 70 pounds of electronic waste, and the $30 pricetag includes a scheduled pickup. The company then makes sure that its contents get sent to the proper recycling centers.

Greendisk, the company that makes the cans, predicts that over the next five years individuals and corporations in the United States will throw out 500 million obsolete PCs, 750 million cell phones, 1.5 billion empty inkjet cartridges and more than 10 billion old computer discs and CDs.

Might as well recycle the stuff, in some cases you or your employer may already have paid for it, as some states add taxes to specific electronics to cover the costs of recycling them.

California places the financial burden on consumers, charging a $6 to $10 disposal fee on every computer and television purchased. Maine puts the onus on manufacturers, demanding they pay the full cost of recycling their computers or televisions and pick up a share of the recycling tab for products of unknown origin. Starting next year, "computer makers that want to do business in Maryland must kick in up to $5,000 annually to help recycle their products under a new state law designed to cope with the roughly 60,000 tons of 'electronic waste' that pile up in Maryland each year."

I know, it's not exactly related to computer security, but I thought it was such a cool idea that I just had to link to it (plus it gave me an excuse to finally try out using photos in this blog).

Oh, and if you're getting ready to recycle an old hard drive, it might not be a bad idea to check out our primer on removing data from your hard disk before you junk it.

For our readers in the Washington region who'd just as soon handle the recycling on their own, The Post's Rob Pegoraro has a comprehensive list of places you can go to recycle old computers and other electronics.

Greendisk lists cell phones among the devices it encourages consumers to place in its containers, but if you're willing to do a little legwork, you could turn in that old cell phone for cold, hard cash. CellForCash.com collects 8,000 to 10,000 used cell phones a month. Eighty-five percent of them come from consumers who visit the Web site and find their used cell phones among the 200 to 250 recyclable models listed. They fill out the online form to receive postage-paid boxes for shipping. When the company receives the phone, it sends the check. How much depends on the make and model. Customers get $5 for a Nokia 5165, one of the oldest models CellForCash.com accepts. An NEC 523 earns $43. A Panasonic GU87 goes for $60.

Nextel also pays customers who return old phones for recycling. For sending back an old handset, current Nextel customers can receive a credit on their account ranging from $5 to $55. See their Web site for more details on which models qualify.

By Brian Krebs  |  June 10, 2005; 10:30 AM ET
 
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Comments

Why isn't there an "email to a friend" link with this? I frequently find info of great info and interest (like green electronic garbage article) and will have to cut/paste url in email.... not impossible, but why not provided by you??? Thanks for good info!

Posted by: Aspen | June 13, 2005 1:42 PM | Report abuse

thanks a load for posting this, i'm doing a project for science on this and it really helps!!!!

Posted by: Amanda | May 5, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

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