Recycling Computers: A Twitter Chat with the Experts

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In honor of America Recycles Day, Earth911 (@Earth911) gathered a group of experts on Twitter to discuss computer recycling, including Beth Johnson from Dell (@BethAtDell), Lorie Marrero from the Clutter Diet (@clutterdiet), and Tim Murray from Goodwill San Francisco (@SFGoodwill).

We invited the public to weigh in as well on the benefits and challenges of recycling electronics. Here are the highlights from the hour-long conversation. (More of a visual person? Check out the conversation on Storify.)

Question 1: First things first: Why is computer recycling important?

@BethAtDell A1: Recycling your computer helps protect our environment by keeping them out of landfills

@laurenllawson A1: Donating one working computer to @Dell4Good creates 6.8 hours of job training. @GoodwillIntl

@sfgoodwill A1: Responsible computer recycling @Goodwill helps ensure that heavy metals won’t end up in our landfill (and drinking water)

Question 2: What are the biggest hurdles in recycling computers?

@clutterdiet A2: Big hurdle is knowing how to delete data before donating. This holds a lot of ppl back from taking action.

@BethAtDell A2: Search ‘data removal from computers’ to find free software to remove personal info from a computer.

@smallactscount A2: Awareness. Some people don’t even know that computers SHOULD be recycled.

@SarahAtDell A2: Ppl are also skeptical about recyclers being honest and trustworthy in responsibly.

Question 3: How can you keep your computer accessories organized for later recycling?

@clutterdiet A3: A few tips on organizing your gadgets: 1) Write the last date of return on the box.

@clutterdiet A3: Tip 2: Label the cords and cables. Use the “feed” button on label mkr to wrap extra tape around cords.

@clutterdiet A3: Tip 3: After return period expires, recycle manuals & such after finding them electronically online. No need to file them.

Question 4: In what ways does recycling a computer benefit consumers and communities?

@JayyH Recycling can increase access to technology for all. Refurbished products are more accessible!

@Earth911 A4. Recycling creates green jobs for cool people. http://www.earth911.com/eco-tech/green-job-spotlight/

@sfgoodwill A4: In Cal. it’s also in their self-int. since ppl pay an enviro fee at purchase. Recycl’ng ensures they get money’s worth.

@SarahAtDell Refurbished is generally 25% lower than retail prices. Good for the earth, great for the wallet!

Question 5: How can we get more people to recycle computers?

@BethAtDell A5: @Dell we have found that making recycling free, easy and convenient increases recycling rates

@laurenllawson A5: Motivate companies to adopt responsible electronic recycling measures for the good of the planet.

@ReworxRecycling By creating more drop locations so recycling is more accessible

Question 6: Think you’ve got a dinosaur of a computer? Tweet us a pic!

Check out hashtag #Earth911Chat to see some of these gems — anyone remember the Apple Lisa 2?

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock

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Haley Shapley

Haley Shapley is based in Seattle, where recycling is just as cool as Macklemore, walking in the rain without an umbrella, and eating locally sourced food. She writes for a wide range of national and regional publications, covering everything from sustainability and health to travel and retail.

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