What can you do with that old outdated computer

Wednesday, January 7th 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Many people got new computers for Christmas. Now, they may have an old computer and don't know what to do with it.

News on 6 consumer reporter Rick Wells shows offers some ideas on who might put it to good use.

"People are not throwing away their old computers." Michael Patton is head of the Metropolitan Environmental Trust, the MET. He says old computers aren't being tossed out because people don't know where to toss them. "They're in a closet, in the garage waiting to be recycled and re-used."

They can be put out with the trash, but that's not the best solution. Computers, the monitor particularly, are loaded with harmfull stuff. "A 15 inch monitor has about five pounds of lead in it." Some of it is in the glass to protect us from the radiation, it's just not easily separated from the rest of the parts.

Socast-off computers just sit, besides it cost too much new, to just throw away. "We've never had an item that decreased in value so quickly, became obsolete so fast that cost so much."

"Byte Me Again Computers." Joyce Mitchell's company has been repairing, recycling, and reselling computers for six years. While we were there a customer came in looking for a monitor, found an old one that was just what she needed and the price was right.

Sometimes old computers can be refurbished and find a second life south of the border. "We have churches that go into Mexico they need old computers, 486's, 1st pentiums. Use them to set up schools and teach."

There seem to be many more old computers sitting around than places to use them. Patton says 20 states have banned them from landfills, Oklahoma hasn't yet but he expects it will in the future.

It's a growing problem. The MET has a list on its website of a few local businesses like Byte Me Again, that recycle old computers. You can click on www.metrecycle.com for more info.

Before you give your computer to someone else you'll want to reformat the hard drive to get your personal information off. For more information on this subject you can visit www.ontrack.com/dataeraser for more information.