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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my dh is in the computer biz... and we are pretty much a digital household (emails and efiles instead of paper). Yet, I see that computer parts and programs need to be replaced every 5 years (more or less), and I wonder if the impact of those computers (cell phones, palm pilots, etc) could be worse than using paper... Computers use precious metals in the processors and are plastics. When the computer becomes obsolete, there are very few ways to recycle it.<br><br>
I don't see a lot of people talking about this, yet I see the constant drive to get new computers, new cell phones, new gadgets etc.<br><br>
Perhaps using those things is not included in the "green living" But I wanted to start somewhere since I haven't seen this as being a big concern for the general population.
 

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I was JUST thinking about this.....not to mention the toxic stuff in the computers <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
I hope more people chime in on this.....I dont know much about it.....but I know I'd also be lost w/o my computer <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/bag.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Bag">:
 

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For many years our computers were only 'new to us'. Recently we have actually bought new - chose laptops because they use a *lot* less power, and have batteries and so are capable of being solar charged easily. We made a point of choosing computers from companies that seek to or have erradicated the heavy metals etc. from the manufacturing process. My PC has a large amount of european manfactured parts (I'm in the UK), whilst DP has gone with the Macbook Pro (which is a bit bleurgh wrt its country of origin, but they do make some other bits of the range here in the EU) because he needs a lot of the things it comes with 'as standard' for his photography and sound work. He works for Apple though, so I think that even if he didn't need the processor power he would probably have bought one anyway <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
When things come to the end of their life they get recycled - either as components if broken beyond our ability to sort, or off to a friend who is an engineer with a charity who send machines off to Intermediate Tech. situations, or out to the Freecycle world. Although the last couple of things we had have ended up going to the children for basic WP and the playing of games that don't work on newer OS.<br><br>
I don't print things off unless I have no other choice (like banking forms <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/angry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="angry"> ) and print runs for the company are sent electronically to a local guy who prints onto 100% post consumer with veg. oil inks :) He'd do 1's and 10's of things for me as well, but the fuel used in getting that 1 or 10 back to me would wipe out the environmental savings of using him so... lol<br><br>
WRT music etc. - we have some CDs but haven't bought music that way for nearly 3 years now. I haven't seen the figures, but am reliably informed that electronic forms and their transmission uses a lot less power to get to the end user (me!) than the making, printing and shipping of the CD would (even with one of the biggest CD plants in the world being here in the UK) We're trying to move this way with DVDs but DP will keep buying Pixar and Dreamworks films this way! Certainly playing music back on an MP3 player or the computer uses a lot less power than using the CD player through the speakers etc. However I can see silly amounts of hard drive storage being bought in the next few years.....<br><br>
In the big picture - our computer use is a very tiny part of our overall pollution. We have trimmed a lot of that, we are trimming more. The plants go in this week - and I'm hoping to hear on the allotment soon. Spending hours growing veg will drop the computer use somewhat! Well, as long as no one has sorted wireless coverage at the allotments <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll">
 

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Well, without the computer I doubt I would have even learned about a lot of earth-saving things such as hankies in place of tissues, cloth grocery bags, email links to the "100 mile diet", information about cloth diapering, etc.<br><br>
It's not JUST that there are fewer papers being sent around because of internet advertizing instead of bulk mailings, emailing things instead of printing them out, etc. There's also environmental information that's being shared that otherwise wouldn't reach as many people.
 

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<a href="http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/01/high-tech-trash/carroll-text" target="_blank">http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/20...h/carroll-text</a> is a good place to start...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That's interesting about the companies are doing more/less to make their products using less precious metals, however, I would venture a guess that it's more about the cost than the desire to be "green"<br><br>
Perhaps what I'm more disgruntled with is the fact that these items are becoming/have been consumable/disposable. My community is pretty good about recycling, yet I know a lot of businesses are left wondering what to do with their old computers... especially the old monitors. I guess there is a metal recycling place and the local garbage collectors do something with them.<br><br>
I'll look into this further and let you know what I find. Is it just a false perception I have, or is it something that is low on the list of concerns?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well I'm glad to have found some great information. I probably should have started by searching it in the first place. Yet, sometimes I prefer to get my info from moms here at MDC...<br><br>
Anyways here's what I've found:<br><br>
This lists stores that have different recycle programs:<br><a href="http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/recycle/ecycling/donate.htm" target="_blank">http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste...ing/donate.htm</a><br><br>
This is a simple list of what steps to take to donate/recycle your old computer:<br><a href="http://www.techsoup.org/learningcenter/hardware/page5496.cfm" target="_blank">http://www.techsoup.org/learningcent...e/page5496.cfm</a><br><br>
This site tells you what is available in your area!!<br><a href="http://www.eiae.org/" target="_blank">http://www.eiae.org/</a><br><br>
Ok, so I'm glad to have found and shared this information. As my husband just mentioned it's such a diverse issue because it compares many different issues... so anyways, just something I've been mulling over in my mind lately.<br><br>
I have to say that while I have discovered places that recycle computer parts... I have not answered the question about how a computer impacts the earth in terms of what it takes to make them and where they end up... in a landfill vs. recycling. However, I"m sure there is also a difference between the benefit we receive from having/using computers and the continual need to upgrade our technology..............
 
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