I've been trying to clean out my home office, so that I can give any supplies I don't need to my volunteer organization. But what I found the most of in my desk? Electronic waste. I had about 15 floppy disks, 2 cell phones, and a portable CD player.
The portable CD player still works just fine, so getting rid of that should be easy. I can post it on Freecycle or give it to Goodwill or Food on Foot. But what about the cell phones that don't really work and the floppies?
Well, at first glance, the sensible answer seemed to be to take it to a center that recycles e-waste, right? Except, that a lot of these e-waste recyclers send this electronic waste to poor countries like China and India. So you have to do your homework and make sure that your e-waste recycler is not just transporting hazardous waste halfway around the world to be some other poorer country's problem.
Luckily, I found a really convenient company called GreenDisk GreenDisk, an e-waste recycling service that does not ship e-waste overseas. So that's where my floppies and used cell phones will go.
6 months ago
Uh-oh. I'd better look into the place I just took my defunct DVD player...
Consider calling a local women's shelter... around here they are always looking for donations of old cell phones to preprogram with 911 access for domestic violence victims and such. They don't have to be new or recent...
When "experts" say "being green is easy", I often use electronic recycling as an example to illustrate the complexity behind many so called green activities. Thanks for bringing up the e-waste issue. Locally (bay area, CA), we have a company also that recycles e-waste responsibly. I actually wrote about it a couple of months ago: http://www.organicpicks.com/blog/2007/10/30/where-did-recycled-laptop-really-go/
Basel network (http://www.ban.org) has more responsible recyclers near you :)
Do you know what e-waste recycling places do with electronic devices that have data on them? I think with a lot of devices, data can be recovered even if you've erased it, and I'm a little concerned about privacy issues, etc.
Thanks for posting about Green Disk.
As for privacy issues on data disks, in linux you can easily remove all data by writing 0s over everything. Your local unix geek should be able to help in that regard. Although, we've never had any drives fail on us. Its usually been a faulty wire or other small replaceable part.
Mad Hatter, to answer your question, Green Disk promises to erase your material and will even provide you with a certificate or something to guarantee that the data was erased.
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