Recycling Computers & Electronics
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Recycling Computers & Electronics
Alameda County Computer Resource Center (Berkeley)
We will recycle anything that you can plug into a power outlet. This means we will recycle your computer, VCR, television, copy machine, and even your microwave and toaster, but not your large appliances such as a washing machine or refrigerator. When you give us your computer, you will receive a tax write-off, and we will attempt to fix your equipment and then give it away to someone who is unable to afford to buy a computer. If we are unable to reuse your equipment, it will be recycled in an environmentally friendly manner.
Alameda County Computer Resource Center
Technical Resources for Educational eXcellence (El Cerrito)
Technical Resources for Educational eXcellence (T-REX), an El
Cerrito-based non-profit organization, is seeking the tax-deductible
donation of your computers. Donated computers will be refurbished and
given to low-income junior- or senior-high students in the West Contra
Costa County. Instruction for use, care and maintenance is mandatory
and provided for the student.
Computers must be at least 400 mHz and include CPU, monitor, keyboard
and mouse and be in working condition. T-REX will pick up 4 or more
computers from a single location. Other donations may be delivered to
the El Cerrito United Methodist Church at 6830 Stockton Ave, El
Cerrito on Mondays from 3:00PM to 6:00 PM. To arrange drop offs
Tuesday through Friday call the Church at 510-525-3500.
For more information
Contact Oscar Romo, trex4u at earthlink.net
Recycling an old computer
My old Macbook (purchased in 2007) has finally bit the dust and I've
replaced it with a new laptop. I'd like to recycle my old Macbook, but
because it won't power on, I'm not able to wipe the hard drive and return
it to factory settings before sending it off. According to Apple, they use
a third-party recycler called Power On, and I was told that the hard drive
is wiped and laptop reset to factory settings as part of the recycling
I'm not sure if I feel comfortable sending my laptop ahead despite their
assurances, since I have a lot of personal information (and photos) on my
hard drive. I could physically remove my hard drive before sending, but
then that would be another piece of useless electronic junk sitting around
I've recycled computers locally through the place near Gilman and Second
Street in Berkeley, but I'm pretty sure that the computer has to be able to
be powered on in order for the hard drive to be wiped.
I've recycled quite a bit of electronic stuff through Green Citizen on
Shattuck in Berkeley - they are super nice to work with and don't
charge a fee for most recycling. They will obliterate your hard drive
for you (this service costs $20) - they actually physically destroy
it, so the machine doesn't need to power up for the process to work.
More info about the Berkeley location and what they accept at
and about data destruction at
If you are able to take the hard drive out (and on most older MacBooks
it's fairly easy if you have a Phillips 0 screwdriver to remove the
screws on the bottom), you can give it a few good hammer strikes to
break the disk platters beyond recovery. Many people also ''drill''
old drives with a power drill. One hole through the platters and it
will be a goner...
If you don't want to smash or drill the drive, you can also put it in
an external drive enclosure, attach it to your new Mac and wipe it
from there. I could do this for you, but it sounds like you would be
fine with a hammer...
Once you've rendered the drive dead, the Computer & Technology
Resource Center (formerly the Alameda County Computer Resource Center)
will pick up the remains and recycle or reuse the parts. Pickup is
free within Berkeley and they take all types of old electronics, not
just computers. You can also just drop things off at their Page St.
If the photos and data in your old computer are important you can take
it to Medhi Ammari of Ammari Electronics on San Pablo and have him get
it to power up and then put all the contents of the hard drive on a
memory stick or just move it for you to your new computer. He is very
sharp, reasonable, and trustworthy.
Don't trust Apple to do anything! They probably already have all your
data. Medhi might be able to wipe the drive but true erasure requires
destruction of the drive or exposure to high magnetic field. You can
take it to a junk yard with an electromagnet on a crane and have them
pick it up. Then give it to a ''true'' recycler. Note that most
recycle outfits just want the precious metals and don't really keep
the computer operational for future use. You think some kid in a 3rd
world country will learn to be on Facebook but in reality you promote
the abuse of elderly slaves smashing chips off the circuit boards with
rocks in town square to get the copper leaving a mountain of toxic
debris in a pile for the kid you thought you were helping to play in.
Be sure to find a recycler that truly will keep it operational and in
hands that need it if there even is a good place in the world for
Apple products. Good to know somebody thinks before ''recycling''!
I had the same issue with one of my old Mac laptops. It died and
wouldn't turn on. I took it to this place on Oxford in Berkeley, right
across the street from Cal and down the block from Starbucks. I don't
remember the name. But they were able to extract the hard drive and
wipe the disk, and provide me a copy of the info beforehand. It was
around $50-100 to do it. Very nice technicians. Just go by there, no
Recycle printer cartridges
I have a growing pile of empty ink cartridges waiting to
find a near-by place that collects them for recycling (as a
fundraiser - I know Office Depot, etc. will take them).
Does your schools o non-profit do this? Albany/North
Berkeley would be easiest for us. -wanna recycle
El Cerrito High School on Ashbury Street recycles ink
cartridges. They use the funds for direct school expenses.
Address is 540 Ashbury Street, El Cerrito phone 510 231
1437. Former EC High parent
the middle school at Montesorri Family School has started a
recycling program to support their school trip. here is the
information: Middle School students have started a battery
and electronic recycling program for MFS. Bring in your
used batteries and electronics which will help benefit MFS
and the planet!
Collection started on Earth Day, and is ongoing.
There will be a receptacle in the El Cerrito Campus Lobby.
Berkeley Campus Families can give there items to the
Berkeley Office. Proceeds go to fund the MS Adventure
Trip, with a portion going back to support the overall
school budget. anonymous
I have some non-functioning computer accessories (mouse,
speakers). I want to know if there is a place to recycle or
responsibly dispose of them. Anyone know?
I have old floppy disks I need to get rid of and am wondering if
there is somewhere I can recycle or dispose of them responsibly -
or - if I should just throw them in the garbage. Anyone know?
I often take computer recycling to the Alameda County Computer
Resource Center in Berkeley (nr Gilman), because they dispose of
it ultra-responsibly. But they do charge a fee for many of the
items they recycle. You can check the fees and other details at
www.accrc.org. StopWaste (www.stopwaste.org) has a few more
resources for both computer peripherals and diskettes. And keep
your eye out for electronics recycling drives -- although I'm
never sure the stuff collected isn't just being shipped overseas,
at least it's ostensibly getting recycled.
I simply googled your question. Google's a great resource, try it
Alameda County Computer Resource Center reuses computers and will
re your floppy disk issue:
found a ton of resources here:
Alameda County Computer Resource Center http://www.accrc.org/
takes (and repairs/recycles responsibly) all this stuff, and more.
Just about all electronics except big appliances (washers,
refrigerators, etc.) They are near the Gilman exit of 80. If you
live in Berkeley, they'll even pick stuff up for free.
You could also keep your eyes open for the periodic ''electronics
recycling'' collections that many communities hold.
You can take just about any computer accessories to Alameda County
Computer Resource Center per the BPN page here:
ReliaTech for Great Computer Recycling & Service!!
Your old computer waste can be teaching someone to become a
ReliaTech in Oakland, San Pablo and San Francisco's Mission, is a
great place to recycle your computer for a worthy cause. At
ReliaTech's parent (STRIDE Center), your used computer may help
to train local residents to become certified computer
technicians. Or it may be refurbished as a Gold Star Certified
computer, and offered for sale at $100 and up.
You can learn more at their website, www.ReliaTech.org
http://www.reliatech.org/ , or by calling 510 236-7000.
I don't know where you live, but I am pretty sure that the El
Cerrito Recycling Center on Schmidt takes floppy's. They take a
lot of plastics and items that curbside won't accept. Good
I have a 7 year old Mac I don't need anymore, and was planning
to give it to a nonprofit charity of some sort until my friend
warned me about the possibility of dishonest people getting
personal info from it. Is it true that even if I trash
everything and empty the recycle bin, the info is still there to
be retrieved by people who know how? I'm not even sure what's
there, but I did use it for bill-paying for a few years, so
there might be account numbers, perhaps even my social.
Is this a silly concern? Now I'm leaning towards taking it to
the dump, but it seems so wasteful. On the other hand, maybe
it's so old it would be useless to a nonprofit anyway. How do
you guys dispose of old ones, and how old is too old to be of
any use to anybody?
A computer professional could wipe your computer clean (by reformatting
the hard drive), and then I am sure you could find a school or
non-profit who would be glad to take it. It's also my understanding
that removing all your personal information doesn't make that info
inaccessible but only more difficult to access.
another Mac user
You need to do a ''clean install'' (I think that's what it's called!)
and your info will be gone (well, maybe someone in the FBI could
reconstruct something, but maybe not even them).
That's what I've done when I've sold my old computers. My computer
consultant helped me. It's not a big deal if you know what you're doing.
It's truly a good deed to pass things along to where thay can be used
rather than tossing them!
It is true that until the data on your hard drive is actually
overwritten, it's possible to 'undelete' files even after emptying the
trashcan. So there are a couple of solutions.
There are a few cheap (and probably even freeware) programs that can do
a full detele (actually write zeros to all the bits). You could also
call up whatever place you're planning to donate to, tell them your
concerns, and see if they'll either take the computer without the hard
drive, or have someone that you can bring the computer to and watch them
run one of these erase all programs. It also depends on if the place
you donate to is going to really use that computer, or if they're just
going to turn around and sell it for whatever it's worth in which case
you have no idea what's going to happen to it and who might try to pry
into the trapped data.
The Alameda County Computer Resource Center has some good info on the
options for wiping computer data on its website at
http://www.accrc.org/which.html. They're a good place to donate
computer stuff, btw, although they do charge a small fee for pretty much
everything except laptops (PCs are $5 to donate, for
example). For an extra $10 they'll degauss your harddrive,
which as I understand it destroys everything on it completely.
It's no fun to pay for donations, but they either fix your stuff and
give it to non-profits/low-income people, or recycle the parts, so to me
it's worth it to pay a little and know my stuff's not polluting a
It is true that merely deleting files and emptying the trash can is
insufficient (at least for a PC, I'm not positive about Macs), but you
can reliably and permanently erase your files using a ''DoD wipe''
program. DoD stands for the US Dept. of Defense, which set the standard
for programs that do not merely ''delete'' files (which often can be
''undeleted'') but actually writes over that area of the hard drive with
new information (say, all zeroes) so it is impossible to undelete.
A very cursory search revealed this free DoD wipe program for the Mac
called MacWasher X: http://www.newfreeware.com/utils/1518 and I am sure
there are others. Good for you for recycling.
It actually seems to be getting harder to find public institutions that
want older donated computers, though I noticed that there is a past
thread here in the BPN archives that provides a lot of possibilities
The last time we had a used computer to recycle I took it to Alameda
County Computer Resource Center, http://www.accrc.org/. They are
located at 1501 Eastshore Highway in Berkeley. They charge a small fee
to take used computer equipment for reuse or recycling.
It seems there is a small danger of having one's supposedly ''erased''
hard drive tapped for residual information, but my understanding is that
this is pretty unusual. If you are concerned about this, however, ACCRC
will, for an additional fee, run your computer hard drive through a
essentially large electromagnets which wipe out anything that involves
If you decide to recycle your computer, check out the Alameda County
Computer Resource Center (www.accrc.org/index.html). They recycle all
kinds of electronic equipment so that it won't end up in a landfill. And
they can destroy your hard drive for you if you'd prefer. The fees are
This is a recurring question, and the archives may contain the specifics
of programs you can use. You can reformat the hard drive, which makes
it more difficult to recover information.
You can find programs that either scrub te hard drive or write over it
with so much data that no one would ever be able to find your data.
Personally, I think that if you can find a non- profit to donate it to,
just delete all your files, empty the recycle bin, and don't worry about
it. There are so many easier ways for people who want to commit
identity theft to get the information on many people that they're just
not going to waste the time trying to hack into your little old hard
As a victim of identity theft late last year, and someone who works in
computer support, I would suggest you take the time to make sure you
don't let your information out. Yes, it's relatively easy for someone
who knows about such things to get the information off your hard drive,
even if you've erased it. A couple of suggestions would be: if you want
to donate it, I can suggest you contact DVMUG, the Diablo Valley Mac
Users Group (www.dvmug.org). It's based in Walnut Creek. I am a member.
They would probably take your donation, and certainly could be trusted
not to poke through the hard drive. Alternately, you should remove the
hard drive and you can then do what you will with the rest of the
computer while you keep the hard drive (they're small). Good luck!
We have a computer, 2 monitors, a fax and a tv, none of which work, that we want to dispose of, but don't want to pay $40 each to get rid of them. Anyone need any of these, or if not, is there a place to dump them for cheap?
Alameda County Computer Resource Center will take it all. If you go on Fridays, the monitor and tv can be dropped off free. They charge a nominal amount ($5 or so) for the other items. They either repair/donate, or dissemble/recycle everything. Nothing gets sent overseas for toxic recycle operations. They are conveniently located on Eastshore Hwy. off Gilman in Berkeley. All the details at
Our old VCR just died. What is the proper way of getting rid of it? We don't want
to just put it in the trash and see it go to the landfill. We are in Walnut Creek.
Alameda County Computer Resource Center takes all kinds of
consumer electronics, including VCRs. They charge a very
nominal fee, and either fix and donate, or responsibly recycle
everything they get. They are at 1501 Eastshore Highway (just
off Gilman)in Berkeley. Not close to W.C., but maybe they can
refer you to a similar place closer to you. They can be
contacted at 510-528-4052. Check them out at www.accrc.org
Does anyone know a place that will take non-working computers?
We're cleaning out our school computer lab and have a load of
stuff that's old and doesn't work. I was hoping that someone
would want them for a computer repair class or something but I'm
having no luck. Already checked the (old) archives, checked with
Urban Ore, Oakland Tech, and OTX with no luck. Thanks for any ideas!
I just recommended this group to a friend of mine:
Alameda County Computer Resource Center
You can recycle old electronics (almost everything except items
that have been used for food, like toasters and microwave ovens)
at the non-profit Alameda County Computer Resource Center in
Berkeley (at Jones and Eastshore next to I-80 near Gilman.) They
charge a fee for some stuff like computer equipment and tvs. The
phone number is 528-4053. Website: www.accrc.org
Does anyone know of a recycling center that accepts old computer
hardware for free: CPUs, monitors, printers, peripherals?
Yes, there is! I'm planning on donating a nonworking printer and
CDR there soon. They sound terrific: http://www.accrc.org/
Alameda County Computer Resource Center.
I've gotten rid of a couple of old systems by leaving them out
during the annual pickup days. The city won't take monitors,
nor will most other groups I've contacted, but someone always
takes them. Be sure to reformat the hard drive and scrub it
clean of any data first. There were some helpful postings on
this subject a while ago. Don't know if they're in the
archives, but you might check.
How to wipe a hard drive
Can someone tell me where I can donate/dispose of an old laptop computer? It
still "sort of works." A number of years ago someone came to my home and
took an old computer and its peripherals that were then used in a computer
repair school or maybe they broke them down and used some of the parts. I
can't find these folks now. I'm less concerned about obtaining a tax
deduction than I am with not adding unnecessarily to the landfill.
The Computer Academy program at Oakland Tech High School accepts
donations of old PCs. It might be worth contacting them.
"The Oakland Technology Exchange (OTX) recycles computer technology
for the Oakland Public Schools. Even more importantly, it provides
high school students with incentives to stay in school and learn
skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century. OTX was started in
1992 by Bruce Buckelew, a retired IBM engineer, recycling computers
for use at Tech and by Tech students at home and on their way to
If you are interested in supporting the Oakland Technology Exchange,
please call 510-879-1904 or email otx AT ousd.k12.ca.us, or see
Alameda County Computer Resources Center (ACCRC), telephone
510-434-1325, address 5725 International Blvd., Building D, Oakland, CA
94621 is a nonprofit computer recycling and training organization. A
full description of their work can be faxed to you or you may find same
They take all computer electronics (printers, cables, monitors, etc.).
There is no charge for all computer electronics donated except a $10 fee
for monitors (most local dumps will charge upwards of $25 for
monitors). In addition they will take anything regardless of age or
working condition. They are open 10-4 M-F and 12-3 on Saturdays.
Note: they also will take TV sets but in this instance they request
that it is working (computers do not have to be). All material goes to
places and persons who cannot afford computers, and all material is
updated or made operational as part of a training program.
Does anyone know of any local (Berkeley) nonprofits or groups that
will take donations of older computers? We had heard sometime back
of a group that refurbishes computers and gives them to local needy
families/kids. We don't want to bother trying to sell our system, but
feel that someone can make good use of it (we've recently upgraded
to a nicer setup). Any ideas on who we could contact?
I gave my 486 to Berkeley High last month. They have a computer department
- call them and ask. David
You can donate computer equipment to Oakland Tech
Where the refurbish and send computers to Oakland Public
schools. They also take software, training manuals etc
Great places to donate computers are the local schools. Berkeley and Albany
have mostly what they need, but I bet Oakland is in dire need.
For the person wanting to donate computer equipment: We gave a lot of
Neighborhood Computers in Berkeley. I don't have their phone number handy,
on San Pablo. They do just what you suggested:
refurbish systems and give them to families that otherwise can't afford a
They also provide training and support for the families they serve, and
give you a
receipt you can use when you file your taxes.
We donated a computer to Oakland Technical High School about 3 years ago.
At that time they had a very large lab in their basement where students
time to repair computers. After putting in so many hours in the lab the
was eligible to receive a free computer to take home. The remaining computers
were cycled into classrooms at Oakland Tech
Try the back pages of "Computer Currents" (free, available on the street
throughout the East Bay); sometimes worthy causes run classified ads
there asking for donated computers.
El Cerrito High can use old Macs. Contact Bob Fabini, a very nice science
teacher there. He actually took my non-working Performa (minor power
problem, I think) and said he'd try to fix it and lend it to a student who
didn't have a computer. I was grateful--I made many phone calls before I
found anyone to take my broken computer. Disposing of computers is a major
environmental issue. There was an excellent article in the March 20
Examiner business section (originally a Chicago Tribune article) on the
toxic hazards posed by the lead, cadmium and mercury in discarded computers
and tv sets. The article also described some solutions. Bob Fabini passed
on this useful info: Urban Ore in Berkeley will take old, non-working
computers. They may even pay a little for them. Susan
A while ago someone asked where to donate old computers.
Schools and churches are often a good place, but sometimes
the computers are too old for them to be useful in such an
environment. I found an organization which will take computers
as old as 286's and send them to Cuba to be used to connect
outlying clinics to medical journals in the major cities. They
are a 501c3 and it is completely legal as long as the computers
are no better than a P100. You can see some information about
You can also correspond with my friend Ed who does some of the
pickups/deliveries and refurbishments... His e-mail address is:
"Edmund J. Biow"
I am always interested in 486s that have large hard drives &/or a
good amount of memory (32 mgs) as well as anything newer than a 486.
Since we just got a batch from UC that I haven't gotten to yet, I
passed this on to Berkeley Neighborhood Computers who fix up
computers and give them to low income families in West Berkeley.
The contact for Berkeley Neighborhood Computers is:
Bill Mack bnc AT hooked.net, bnc AT wenet.net
I am very fortunate that Bill takes away the parts from my putting pieces
together to make a "good" computer and helps me out in many, many other
ways. In fact, without Bill, I would not have been able to put our PC lab
together several years ago.
Berkeley Neighborhood Computers is also in need of human resources but I
know he will communicate that with you directly as well. It is a very
worthwhile program that does lots of good with very little money.
Flora Russ, Berkeley High School computer teacher
fruss AT mail.telis.net
RE: Donations to Berkeley High:
Please let the MSO in your departments know that it is possible to
donate equipment, like computers, to school districts. I used to
handle the equipment for our building and we regularly donated our
equipment to Berkeley High school. The department needs to write a
letter OKaying the donation. Talk to Bill Kumpf, UC property manager,
in the Property Management unit, phone: 643-5244.
From: Bob (9/98)
Berkeley High School has a computer lab that accepts older Mac computers.
I've forgotten the contact person, but she was very appreciative.
From: FM (9/98)
Someone asked about places to donate old Macintosh computers: I'd suggest
contacting any school district. In particular, the more hard up school
districts, like West Contra Costa County School District, or the John
Swett School District (out in Rodeo). My sister teaches at John Swett,
and I know she and other teachers there would LOVE donations, but seldom
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