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syst3merror
04-22-2008, 06:47 PM
Ok, so I have started advertising that customers can drop off their old non-working computers with me (or I'll pick up) instead of them throwing them in the trash since it is illegal to just put them in the trash. (too much mercury in the parts....it's hazardous).

Recently I've been getting a lot of calls of "my computer doesn't work, you can come pick it up since I just bought a new computer but can you wipe out the harddrive first?" Which I always do but sometimes I keep the HD, sometimes I recycle it into a new pc.

My question is, if I find that the computers actually do work, just a bad PSU, or badly seated ram, should I give the computer back?

So far I haven't been returning it because they were going to throw it in the trash anyway, and instead I clean it up, install Edubuntu and give them away to families with kids or put them on freecycle.org.

What do you think Ethically I should do? Give them back? Keep doing what I'm doing?

Simmy
04-22-2008, 07:15 PM
I wouldn't worry about it personally - keep doing what you're doing. Do you charge to collect the machines?

MHCG
04-22-2008, 07:29 PM
I agreey with Simmy. You're worrying about a non-existent problem. If they were going to throw it away and instead they gave it to you, it's yours to do with as you please. Sell them, use them as doorstops, whatever. The only ethical dilemma there would be is if you went ahead and threw the computer in the trash when you said you wouldn't.

Ok, so I have started advertising that customers can drop off their old non-working computers with me (or I'll pick up) instead of them throwing them in the trash since it is illegal to just put them in the trash. (too much mercury in the parts....it's hazardous).

.....

So far I haven't been returning it because they were going to throw it in the trash anyway, and instead I clean it up, install Edubuntu and give them away to families with kids or put them on freecycle.org.


Great idea by the way, I hope you don't mind, but I think I will start doing the same thing.

MHCG
04-22-2008, 08:19 PM
I've been trying to come up with a good way to identify families that need the computers for their kids and won't just sell them for meth. Any ideas?

ComputerLife
04-22-2008, 08:50 PM
MHCG, Try the local boys/girls club. Talk to the people in charge see if they can identify people needing them.

syst3merror, how do you advertise that you recycle them?

syst3merror
04-22-2008, 09:26 PM
I put flyers around town.

"Did you know it is ILLEGAL to throw away a computer?" in bold letters
then put that you can safely dispose of any unwanted/unused computers and you are even willing to pick them up.

I personally don't charge to pick them up as long as it is within a 20 mile radius of where I live.

I have even went as far as to put info about what kind of chemicals a computer contains and what it can do to the environment etc. to make people more likely to dispose of them to me. I normally put too that there is a fine if you are caught dumping a computer into the trash.

Feel free anyone to do this....anything to help out the environment and get some computers to people that can't afford them. So far to date, I think I've collected around 135 computers (in 2 years) and donated probably 90 of them to needy families. The rest I've taked parts from and then contacted and invironmental management company for disposal of what I didn't want.



On a side not, it's amazing how many people will buy a new computer thinking their old one is junk when it is no more than a bad power supply or even smaller of an issue like a bad power CORD! I had one lady once buy a new computer from a local computer store and called me to dispose of the old one. When I got there, the computer still had the stickers on the tower telling what was all in the computer (250 gig hd, 2 gig ram, amd cpu) it was a really nice computer but she said it wouldn't even turn on so she bought a new one. I told her I would dispose of it for her and went about my day. When I got home I was looking at it and thought it was really strange that it "wouldn't turn on" but looked soooooo new. So I opened the case and couldn't find anything wrong with it at all. I looked at the back of the tower and noticed on the PSU there was a switch to switch it from 210 volts to 120 volts....that fixed the problem! :) All it was is that it needed to have the switch flipped on the back to the right power setting. I felt bad about it and called the lady and she said since she had a new computer to just keep it or sell it so I kept it and have been using it daily for 1 1/2 years now. lol

syst3merror
04-22-2008, 09:38 PM
another option you can give people when you go to pick up their computers is to offer to right it up as a tax deductable donation. I've done this on multiple occassions. I just print up a receipt before going and estimate the value of the computer and give them the receipt showing they "donated to charity" a computer worth X amount of dollars.

Believe it or not, sometimes people will give you really nice computers that they don't think work like my example above....but a lot of time it is worth no more than maybe $100.
Since I don't know anything about Macs, I normally always just pull parts out of them and take them to the invironmental management company. At one point I think I had about 15 dvd burners from macs and probably 30 gigs worth of ram sticks that I just sold on ebay over the months.


You might also check with the local dump. My brother told me that dumps won't just put computers in the landfill (just like it's illegal for you to throw one away) so they just put computers off to one side and save them. I checked out our local dump about 6 months ago and I think I counted about 120-150 towers in one area. Everything from Dells, to compaqs, to emachines, and macs.

Nathan H
04-22-2008, 10:17 PM
great idea!:)

you couls always check with the local schools, which kids families are in a financial tight spot (& won't just sell it, but let the kids use it for education purposes) :rolleyes:

syst3merror
04-23-2008, 12:30 AM
the hardest thing to do is find people willing to get rid of monitors. I have had some people give me the entire setup with speakers and all but most people only get rid of the tower and you'll have to fend for yourself for the monitors, keyboards, mice, speakers, etc.

I have one client that I gave a computer to for their daughter and ever since then, they call me for everything!!!! I've probably done around 15 different jobs for them from upgrading the ram, to upgrading the video card and hard drive, and they just recently had me come remove a virus from the girl downloading music with a p2p program.

The girl is I think 17 and upon going into the download folder I found all sorts of pictures that the parents would die if they knew were on there. Not just pictures of the girl, but pictures the girl has been downloading from Kazaa. The girls face turned about 5 different shades of red when I went into that folder. :) She immediately apologized and asked if I could delete them for her. I told her not to worry because I had seen much worse on other computers....she just smiled and left the room.

Come to find out, it was a blaster worm that she had downloaded.

MHCG
04-23-2008, 01:35 AM
"Did you know it is ILLEGAL to throw away a computer?" in bold letters
then put that you can safely dispose of any unwanted/unused computers and you are even willing to pick them up.


Is it really illegal? If so, what law?

focuz
04-23-2008, 02:42 AM
Yeah, I've never heard of this either. Are you located in the states or across the pond?

syst3merror
04-23-2008, 02:43 AM
I'll have to look it up....I didn't know it was either until I was reading up for my A+ cert. In my study guide it says something about it.

Here is some info to read:
http://www.nysscpa.org/cpajournal/2004/704/essentials/p70.htm

jj2000
04-23-2008, 07:04 AM
over here in Europe its to do with the weee directive from our euro overlords:D:D

more info here
http://www.netregs.gov.uk/netregs/275207/1631119/1631167/?lang=_e

and it is becoming a real pain in the arse for the small trader around my local area as the local authorities are really cracking down on this at the moment.

Blues
04-23-2008, 01:38 PM
For one ever notice new PC parts advetising this RoHS which has to do with a lower lead content. In the US we seem to be big about lead waste but I have been aware of this how ever unless you dump alot Im not sure anyone would notice. Still it is perfect business for us to rake in on some free parts for what the gas money hell if you got a store front not even that.

syst3merror
04-24-2008, 05:11 PM
Yeah, I can't say there is going to be a cop ready to write you a ticket at the dumpster or mail you a ticket for throwing away a computer, but it is in fact illegal to do so you can advertise that and it WILL convince people into calling you to take their computers from them. :) Heck, even if you just get a free cd drive and some thumbscrews, it wasn't a bad deal because you got it for free from someone going to throw it in the trash.

And to answer your question, yes, I'm in the United States....Indiana to be exact. :)

MHCG
04-24-2008, 05:56 PM
Yeah, I did some research and there are universal waste laws in the US, but I think what is supposed to be recycled properly is different in each state. I was just hoping for some info in case someone asked me what law makes it illegal.

14049752
04-27-2008, 06:44 AM
I've been trying to come up with a good way to identify families that need the computers for their kids and won't just sell them for meth. Any ideas?

Personally, I'd suggest checking to see if there's a FreeGeek group in your area. They're pretty much already equipped to take care of rebuilding machines from donated goods, and then getting them to a needy family or nonprofit. You can also donate your time to help them tear down machines, rebuild them, greet donors, etc. There's a lot of good Karma in doing something like that.


Another thing to look into, as well: A lot of us tend to see a lot of bad parts that're really bad items to throw away (and as stated, may be illegal to do so).... You might be surprised to find that there are places that will actually accept your "e-Waste" for recycling and proper disposal, free of charge. I found a company near me that will actually come pick everything up, either free of charge or for a small trip fee if I don't meet a certain weight limit.