Computer Recycling Put Inmates, Staff at Risk

Federal prisoners and prison staff members were exposed to toxic levels of heavy metals for years, says a new report from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. Read more

The School District of Philadephia to investigate its computer recycling program

The school district of Philadelphia is launching a probe into how one of their monitors was found in a landfile in Ghana. After the monitor was spotted in a PBS Frontline documentary and repeated inquiries were made by Technically Philly, the school district announced it would launch an investigation.

“The School District of Philadelphia does not encourage or condone the illegal dumping of any school district property anywhere in the world,” read the statement issued by the district. “As a result… [we are] currently investigating the source and disposal record of the equipment found in Ghana.”

The computer was one of many visible in the Frontline report and illustrates the ongoing problem of e-waste dumping into developing countries. Millions of tons of e-waste are dumped into the West African country, China, and others.

The school district has maintained a “green” policy regarding the disposal of electronic equipment since 2006, and is unsure if this is an isolated incident or just one example from the hundreds of pounds disposed by the district each year. The district had partnered with a recycling company that provided pickup and recycling services at no charge to the district.

This report illustrates the trouble many companies have in identifying responsible computer recyclers for their end-of-life hardware.  You owe it to yourself to personally view a companies recycling processes, and ask about their export policies. While your at it, ask if they are a Basel Action Network e-steward. The BAN e-steward pledge is for a zero-landfill, zero-export approach to recycling.

Technically Philly: School District of Philadelphia launches probe into its computer recycling program

Turning obsolete technology into art

Now this is a pretty cool form of computer recycling: WebUrbanist has a new image gallery of 20 examples of art made from old technology. The examples presented utilize typewriters, old cassette tapes, phones, keys from keyboards, computer cases and more. See how many different pieces you can recognize!

My favorites are the Jimmy Hendrix portrait from a cassette tape, the giant robot (a.k.a. WEEE Man) and the model T-Rex.

20 Amazing Examples of Art from Obsolete Technology – WebUrbanist

Recycle Your Computer AND Feed the Hungry!

In celebration of Earth Day, EPC will be donating all public recycling fees to a local food bank. There is a $5 per item charge for EPC to recycle your old computers and electronics. But from April 18th – 26th, EPC will be donating those fees to a local food bank. Additionally, individuals can donate 5 canned good items and EPC will waive the $5 fee, and include those canned goods in the donation. Bring in those old electronic items you’ve been meaning to get rid of and take this opportunity to help the environment and the community.

Build an under-the-cabinet kitchen PC

Lifehacker is on a laptop recycling kick recently. Last week they showed us how to make a digital photo frame out of your old laptop. This week it is building your own under-the cabinet kitchen PC. Fashioned out of an old dell laptop, some coat hangers, and Puppy Linux, this DIY project looks like it would work great for checking the weather, listening to some internet radio, or looking up some recipies online. Man, what I wouldn’t give for a touch screen interface and software keyboard though.

If you are looking for more ideas on what do to with your old computer, check out these posts:

Computer Recycling: Old Notebook Gets New Life as Digital Frame

Why settle for a digital photo frame that only shows pictures? That’s the question that Justin Griswold asked himself when looking at an old Sony Vaio laptop he had laying around. Justin decided to be creative instead and turn the Vaio into a wall mounted LCD screen. In addition to being able to view image slideshows, the computer could also view powerpoint presentations, tv shows (using software like boxee), game emulators, and more. This is an awesome form of computer recycling.

It looks like the only challenge would be controlling this frankenstein creation after mounting on the wall, having bluetooth in the laptop would be a definite plus. With tons of used laptops at my fingertips, I think I will try to create my own.

Found via: Lifehacker – DIY: Turn an Old Laptop Into a Wall Mounted Computer

English Trashmen equipped with Computers, GPS

From the Across the Pond department: Waste collection crews in England are being equiped with computers and GPS in order to build “rubbish profiles” on residents. These computers will feed crewmembers up-to-the-minute information on the houses they are servicing.

In addition, information will be collected and provided to local authorities so they can issue recycling advice, or fines for residents that fail to obey recycling rules.

These processes are part of a government strategy to increase recycling to 40% of trash collected by 2010, and 50% by 2020.

While I’m in favor of increased recycling, the very idea of automatic fines seems like something out of science fiction movies like “Demolition Man” or “The Fifth Element”.