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Lifestyle :: Computers :: Tech Tips :: New Year Clean Up

New Year Clean Up

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It is the start of a new year and time to get rid of your old computers and other electronic equipment taking valuable space in your house or garage.  You can try to sell it on e-Bay but in a lot of cases, your stuff maybe too old to sell.


So can you just dump it in the trash along with the gift wrapping paper and other household waste?  Well, in some the cases the answers is no and there may even be State and Federal fines for doing so.  For example it is illegal to dispose of lead acid batteries in the trash or dump: http://www.hawaii.gov/health/environmental/waste/sw/pdf/oldcbats.pdf .  So what is allowable?


Household batteries:
Take rechargeable batteries from cell phones, computers and power equipment to retailers. Some retailers have special drop boxes for collection. For more info: http://www.envhonolulu.org/solid_waste/Rechargeable_Battery_Recycling.html or to get a list of retailers who accept rechargeable batteries go to: http://www.rbrc.org/call2recycle/dropoff/index.php.
Regular alkaline household batteries (A, C, D type) can be safely disposed of with your regular household refuse. For more info: http://www.envhonolulu.org/solid_waste/Household_Hazardous_Waste.html

Lead acid batteries: Return your old auto batteries to the dealer when purchasing new ones (State law requires the dealer to accept and recycle them) or you may take them to the City Convenience Center nearest you.  This also pertains to the disposal of other lead acid batteries (e.g. computer UPS and alarm systems).   So what happens to those batteries?  Bill Ogawa or better known as Battery Bill (http://batterybill.com/) says that lead acid batteries can only be recycled by a certified smelter.  We don’t have any here in Hawaii and the closest one would be in the City of Industry. The smelter smashes up batteries and separates plastic and lead which go to recyclers. 99% of the battery is recycled.  As a responsible battery retailer, Battery Bill will take in old battery when you buy a new one and they will take care of getting it to the proper place.


Computer disposal: So what about your old computer equipment (e.g. CPU, CRT, printer)?  If your computer is not too old (less than 5 years), then it possibly can be used by someone else.  See the City’s website for a list of computer reuse/recycling companies: http://envhonolulu.org/solid_waste/archive/Computer_Recycling.html.  Also be aware that computer recycling for businesses is different than residential disposal.  In most cases there is a per pound recycling fee. Some services will pick up by appointment for a fee.

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So what about other electronic equipment (e.g. digital cameras, camcorders, game consoles, fax machines)?  A great tip from Leslie Mow of Honolulu, if you are a Costco member, is to trade-in or recycle your old equipment.   Costco has a program to trade-in or recycle all types of electronic equipment.   The website determines the value of the equipment and sends you an pre-printed mailing label if the item qualifies. You box it up and take it to a UPS location and once Costco (actually a company called GreenSight) receives it, you get sent a Costco Cash Card.  Check it out at:  http://www.greensight.com/CostcoTrades/Common/equiptypes.aspx?SiteXfrMsg=1


For general information on recycling,  call 768-3200 or check www.opala.org for locations of community recycling bins and other information.

One last thought on why we should try to reuse or recycle used equipment.  An artist named Chris Jordan brings the point out in his art work.  He has created photographs of what one day might come true.  For example, what would 426,000 used cell phones look like?  Here is the image he created: http://www.chrisjordan.com/images/current2/1175742494.jpg.  To see other of his works go to http://www.chrisjordan.com .

Food for thought.

 


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