From the Kenosha News on 10-1-06

Getting rid of old computers isn’t so easy

If you have unwanted, old or dead computer equipment at your house, getting rid of it responsibly can be a challenge. While the current DNR rules do not ban computers from landfills, there are many toxic or undesirable substances used in computers, so you should avoid putting them out with your regular trash unless no other options work for you. Below are several environmentally friendly options.

For not-so-old computer equipment that still works, first try to find it a new home with a charity or non-profit organization. You might consider a local church, private school, women’s or children’s organization. Making a few phone calls may result in a happy charity and a solution to your problem. Remember that if your monitor is dead, your computer itself may still work well, and you can give away just the part that works. Even working keyboards and mice are appreciated. Be advised that Goodwill no longer accepts computers or components. One group in Racine that is looking for working computer donations is Techasoarus; you can contact them at 633-0818.

Note that any time you sell, give away or donate a computer, you must remove any software that you have re-installed on another computer. For example, if you purchased a computer in 2001 and installed Office XP on it and have now purchased a new computer in 2006 and have installed the same Office XP on it (as opposed to buying a new copy), then you must UNINSTALL Office XP before you can give the computer away. However, if you have an old computer that had MS Works pre-installed on it, and now you bought a new computer also with MS Works pre-installed on it, then you can leave Works on the old computer and give away that software since you have a separate copy on the new computer. The best way to clean off all separately licensed software is to use the restore CD that came with the computer; this will return it to its original state before you donate it.

Tech Corps of Wisconsin is an organization in Racine that specializes in taking working computers and components and preparing them for new uses. While they used to accept computer donations, they now charge a fee to accept computer systems. They still accept some items with no charge. You can find them on the web at www.tcw.org.

If you are an individual with computer equipment that no longer works, you can dispose of it at the State Corrections facility at 6353 14th Avenue in Kenosha. Place the items in the black bins in the parking lot. The items will be recycled appropriately. Check this web site for more info on the program: http://www.wi-doc.com/Computer_Recycling_Program.htm.

If you represent a charity that needs used computers, you can e-mail me at csabbar@yahoo.com. I will keep a list to give out when I get inquiries. Please indicate what equipment you need.

By Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 10-1-06