A Place for the Obsolete

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Staying one step ahead of the regulators, IBM has created a recycling service for personal computers. The New York-based computer maker took the offensive by establishing the IBM PC Recycling Service. For a fee of $29.99, IBM will accept whatever computer parts you can cram in a box and ship to Envirocycle in Hallstead, Pa. And they don't even have to be IBM computers. The fee includes the shipping, cost and no purchase of IBM equipment is required in order to participate.

The company's director of corporate environmental affairs, Wayne Balta, says the program was created to address the rapidly growing volume of obsolete equipment. Recent studies indicate that more than 20 million computers became obsolete in 1998, but less than 3 million of those were recycled. Some states have already banned the disposal of computer screens in landfills and incinerators. The ban increases the chance that computer parts containing hazardous materials such as lead, mercury and cadmium could end up in illegal dumps.

The program donates usable equipment to family service and job training organizations as well as to the nonprofit Gifts in Kind International. Unusable equipment is dismantled and recycled or disposed of in a safe manner. Other companies such as Dell Computer Corp. have a disposal program for large customers and Hewlett-Packard Co. is setting up a program for individual users.

If your attic is cluttered with broken monitors or the garage is piled with old CPUs, now is the time to act. Call United Parcel Service and send your obsolete items to IBM.

Akron Beacon Journal
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Linda is responsible for the PERC web sites, media relations, the national journalism conference, and the media fellows program. She is author of Forest Fires, part of a series of  environmental education books for high school students. She also wrote and produced Square One, a newsletter that introduced grassroots environmentalists to market...
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