Thursday, May 15, 2008

10 Years Of Crap - Recycled

I finally did it. Shira will be thrilled. I recycled 10 years of dead computer hardware - from Shira's first college computer (which had the iMac form factor years before Apple invented it), to gigantic Gateway towers (remember those? What a terrible idea those were) to obscure SUN hardware. All of it was delivered to the Arlington Household HazMat Program.

Check out this overhead view of all the crap I got rid of:

This probably raises a few good questions...

How does one manage to accumulate so much electronic flotsam?

Here are some reasons: (1) I Run Linux - Linux does well on hold hardware. Have a slow PC that can't run windows lying around? You can always throw Linux on it. Or, you can say that you're going to throw Linux on it and never do. (2) I worked for a startup that went under - when a startup starts to die, inevitably, it will move to a smaller location. When this happens, the System Administrators will gladly give away free crap rather than move it themselves. This is a fun and effective way to inherit obscure, pricey hardware. (3) I can never turn down a good deal - when someone is offering free computer hardware, who can say no?

Why hold on to it so long and let it accumulate?

Some of it is pure laziness. But, honestly, I'd love to have played with the hardware I just chucked. I just haven't found time. If I haven't had time in the last 10 years, I doubt I'll have time any time soon.

Was it hard to recycle?

This was the big surprise - not at all! Arlington has a terrific program to help their residents get rid of stuff like this. I called (703-228-6832) and easily made an appointment. A guy met me at the drop-off point and helped me unload my car. He couldn't have been nicer. He explained to me that all the recycling happens domestically and that the older hardware I was giving to him was especially rich in precious metals - so they were happen to take it. The service is free accept for the monitors I recycled - those were $15.00 a piece. He explained to me that the fee covers the labor it takes to disassemble and deal with all the hazardous stuff in a monitor. And besides, he said, we are a water treatment facility - we can't be polluting the water by taking short-cuts, can we?

Why recycle it, why not sell it on eBay?

The stuff I recycled was absolutely ancient, and much of it barely working. On the working stuff, the cost of shipping alone makes it a crazy thought to try to sell. I could have put an ad in craiglist, but even then, there would be more hassle than just recycling it. If folks want crappy hardware, there's plenty on eBay.

Did you really fit all this stuff in your small Acura?

I did! And here's proof:

Are you really out of the ancient hardware business?

Not at all. I didn't recycle any of the half working laptops I have. So there's still plenty to tinker with if I ever do get the time.

So, with that task done, I think we can go to the next stage of the plan - fill the hardware void with new hardware. Hmmm, time to go shopping...

1 comment:

  1. In south florida we had the best recycling program, simply place it by the curve and some wanting soul would pick it up. That said.... I too have oodles of 'crap', it is good to know that Arlington has such a program, I'll have to add that to my agenda for this summer.