One of the fastest growing environmental challenges in the country is the safe disposal of computers and other technology hardware. Computers contain a variety of dangerous toxins including mercury, cadmium, and PCBs. The typical computer and monitor contain an average of 2 to 10 pounds of lead. Throwing computers in a landfill allows these toxins to leach into the groundwater.
Disposing of computers is not just a local or national problem. It is also an international issue. Some estimates indicate that 80% of American electronic waste is sent to China, India, Pakistan, or the Philippines. Poor villagers in these countries place themselves in danger as they work through the electronic waste piles mining for valuable metals. In 2002, groundwater tested in Guiyu, China registered lead levels 2,400 times higher than the acceptable limits set by the World Health Organization.
Outlined below are ways to dispose of your old computer in an environmentally safe manner. To learn about how the state of Indiana is addressing this issue visit the website of the Indiana Recycling Coalition's E-Scrap Action Program here.
"So how do I recycle my computer?"
Option 1: CTEP
By donating to a computer refurbisher such as CTEP, old but still functional computers are provided to others that can still put the computer to use. For information on computers and equipment that are accepted by CTEP, see our Donations page.
Option 2: Tox-Away Events
Local tox-away days provide an opportunity for citizens to drop-off computers at a designated location in the area for either a reduced disposal fee or for free.
The West Central Solid Waste District (WCSWD) regularly hosts a few Tox-Away days in the fall. All events hosted by the WCSWD are open to residents of Morgan, Montgomery, Putnam, and Parke Counties. These events are not open to businesses. Numerous other items are collected at these events. Please contact the West Central Solid Waste District for more information at (800) 211-2750.
Option 3: Office Depot
In the Summer of 2004, Office Depot operated a free collection of computers, monitors, printers, etc. Collected items were sent to Hewlett Packard for recycling. If such an event takes place again, the information will be posted here. The nearest Office Depot stores are located at:
- 10348 East US Highway 36, Avon, IN 46123: Map
- 100 North Gates Drive, Bloomington, IN 47404: Map
- 10255 East Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46229: Map
- 4200 South East Street, Indianapolis, IN 46227: Map
Option 4: Computer recyclers--NuGenesis
Computers can also be taken to one of the electronics recyclers in the Indianapolis area. There is a fee for disposal-usually $20 to $30. You can call NuGenesis, Inc. at 317-834-8200 for an estimate on disposal cost. NuGenesis is located at:
- 1611 Hancel Parkway, Mooresville, IN 46158: Map