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Recycling Computer Parts: The Adventures of "K"

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Wondering what to do with that ancient microwave oven that you're finally ready to replace with something a bit more modern? A trip to the curb may actually be the best method of discarding used computer (and other) equipment, if your community recycles. Or perhaps a reuse list could help someone in need of those minivan seats, left behind in the garage before the vehicle was wrecked during last weekend's shopping trip. Wendy Wolfson takes a look at the possibilities.

Toss, Hoard, or Recycle?

Choosing to trash or recycle your old computer equipment could be considered environmentally virtuous or disastrous, depending on whether you believe that the eight pounds of lead in your monitor will leach into the groundwater, or that it's evil to send your old computer trash to third-world countries where they dissect it for resalable components and pollute their own environments.

Our neighbor, whom we nicknamed "the environmentalist," drives a car that's not so environmentally friendly, but she's passionate about recycling. She goes hiking for the weekend and asks us take out the trash. She gets upset when we don't take it out early enough. (So do the squirrels next door, who eat the garbage, and the neighborhood bottle pickers.)

The final straw came when we put a computer monitor on the curb for collection. We got an angrily scrawled note saying not to put our monitor with the trash. But our city has a monitor collection service that, if you call them, will send around a truck to pick up the monitor. After a deliberately restrained note to the environmentalist informing her of the city policy, we haven't heard a peep out of her since.

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