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The Washington Post Sunday - - G3 -

Q: What are my op­tions for do­nat­ing or re­cy­cling old com­put­ers and elec­tron­ics? A: They don’t in­clude throw­ing them in the trash, be­cause most elec­tron­ics hide toxic in­gre­di­ents like lead and mer­cury.

As I sug­gested last year, you should start by try­ing to sell the old hard­ware or giv­ing it away through the likes of Freecy­cle (freecy­cle.org). You can also try sell­ing smaller de­vices di­rectly to sites such as Gazelle (gazelle.com), YouRe­new.com and BuyMyTron­ics.com.

If you’re un­load­ing a com­puter, re­mem­ber to wipe your old data from it, as ex­plained in last week’s col­umn.

If you can’t find a taker for an old PC, you can try hand­ing it over to or­ga­ni­za­tions that will give it a tune-up be­fore plac­ing it in a new home. Two lo­cal op­er­a­tions, the Cap­i­tal PC User Group (re­boot.cpcug.org) and MacRe­cy­cleClinic (macre­cy­cleclinic.org), as well as larger non­prof­its like the Na­tional Cristina Foun­da­tion (cristina.org), re­fur­bish do­nated ma­chines be­fore pass­ing them on to char­i­ties, schools or other wor­thy re­cip­i­ents.

Older hard­ware will re­quire re­cy­cling. You can of­ten hand off an old com­puter to your new model’s man­u­fac­turer at no cost; see, for in­stance, pro­grams from Ap­ple (ap­ple.com/en­vi­ron­ment), Dell (dell.com/re­cy­cle) and HP (hp.com/re­cy­cle).

For larger items — in par­tic­u­lar, bulky cath­ode-ray-tube TVs — find a lo­cal op­tion. For ex­am­ple, Best Buy stores (best­buy.com/re­cy­cle) charge $10 for re­cy­cling most TVs as well as lap­tops and mon­i­tors but of­fer a $10 store gift card in re­turn; other gadgets are free to drop off.

For other re­use and re­cy­cling op­tions, see the Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics As­so­ci­a­tion’s myGreenElec­tron­ics (mygreenelec­tron­ics.org), Con­sumer Re­ports’ Green­er­Choices.org and the Elec­tron­ics Take­Back Coali­tion (elec­tron­ic­stake­back.com). The last or­ga­ni­za­tion re­quires the re­cy­clers it lists to avoid ship­ping “e-waste” to de­vel­op­ing coun­tries and to meet ex­tra en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards.

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