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The Computer Buzz December 21, 2006

Nome and Paul Van Middlesworth - owners - The Computer Fact


Used Computers

What do you do with a PC that you no longer want or need? It's a question we're asked several times each week. Throwing an unwanted PC in the trash is no longer an option. PCs, monitors, TVs, cell phones, batteries and just about any appliances with electrical cords are classified as "hazardous household waste." Federal and State law requires you to dispose of these items at a "hazardous waste disposal center" or a recycling center. If you have questions call 800-714-1195.

Often users are worried that personal information stored on their PC's hard drive might be used to commit fraud or identity theft. It is a legitimate concern. If you have personal information on your hard drive you should make sure that it is either properly erased or overwritten or that your hard drive is physically destroyed.

When our customers trade in or leave behind an older PC we always make sure that the data on their hard drives is destroyed before we recycle them. We hate to see a perfectly good PC get scrapped so we try to refurbish any PC with a CPU speed of 1.0GHz or higher. We clean them up, reconfigure them to current standards and install a new operating system. These "pre-owned" PCs typically sell for between $150 and $300 and are usually a far better value than the low end "package PCs" from Dell, HP etc.

Most folks who buy a new PC and LCD monitor are eager to get rid of their old CRT (cathode ray tube) monitor. They often give them to us. Here again we hate to see something that can be useful to someone crushed for salvage value. We clean them up and sell them cheap or throw them in with the purchase of a used or new PC system.

Believe it or not, the old CRT monitors have better resolution and color depth than the new LCD monitors and are still the choice of most graphics artists.

California implemented a recycle tax on new monitors and TV sets last January. For most PC monitors (including laptops) the tax is $8. These funds are supposed to support a recycling program by paying "recycle centers" up to forty cents a pound for monitors and other electronic scrap. So far California has been slow in getting the centers established because of the red tape involved. Recycling centers are subject to stringent Federal storage and safety requirements. In addition, California requires an extensive paperwork audit trail to ensure that it does not pay California recyclers for out of state scrap.

Some large electronics retailers offer free electronics waste disposal from time to time. In the near future we would expect Fry's, Best Buy and other major retailers to set up recycling centers in their stores.

In the meantime if you aren't sure whether or not your old PC and monitor have any value, you can give us a call. We will be happy to give you an opinion.





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