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(Information taken from the state of Texas guide)

More than 300 million computers have become obsolete in the last 20 years. Placed side-by-side, those computers would stretch back and forth across the country 57 times.
Unfortunately, computers contain many toxic chemicals. The monitor alone contains up to four pounds of lead, and other parts of the system contain chemicals such as cadmium, mercury, and flame retardants. These chemicals can cause problems when they leach into ground water from a landfill or are released to the air from incinerators. 

But, the good news is that many of those computers didn’t go to landfills when they faded to black. Thanks to computer recycling, many found a new home, while others were broken down and transformed into something new. 

If your machine is less than three years old, chances are you can donate it to an organization that will get it into the hands of someone who can still use it. Older models can be turned in to a recycling center to extract the reusable elements. Here is an option to consider when recycling a computer: 

*The National Cristina Foundation matches donors with those looking for low-cost options for obtaining computer equipment. The foundation only accepts PCs that have a Pentium IV or newer processor and Macs that have G3 or newer processor. Learn about the National Cristina Foundation at A list of common donation items includes: PC Desktop Systems, PC Laptop Systems, Mac Desktop Systems, Mac Laptop Systems, PC CPU (Partial System)s, All-In-One Units, Answering Machines, CDROM Drives, Copiers, Digital Cameras, Pen/Drawing Tablets, Fax Machines, Flatbed Scanners, Hard Disk Drives, Keyboards, Modems, Switch or Routers, Monitors, Mice, Tablet or PDAs, Network Interface Cards, Plotters, Printers, Software Items, Sound Cards, Video Cards, and Miscellaneous Items. The needs of each partner organization is unique depending upon the type and size of program(s) they operate.

Also, check with your local city to see if they collect unwanted computer equipment for recycling. My city, Allen, Texas, offers residents four one-day computer / computer peripherals collections every year with a drop-off site.  If your town does not have this type of service, ask them for suggestions on where you can either donate or recycle your outdated equipment. 

Be sure to either wipe off all your data or physically destroy the hard drive before recycling it to ensure that no one can access your company’s confidential information. The donor is responsible for the deletion of all data that may be contained on the computer hardware. There are several products available for data removal and cost for these software solutions vary with several being free. A Google Search will review numerous options. One such free product is Kill Disk located at If available, the donor is encouraged to include the operating system software on CD or diskette, the Certificate of Authenticity, the end-user license agreements and manual that came with the system.

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