Wednesday, January 2, 2008

More On Recycling, Reusing Electronics

Last week, reporter Tom Abate wrote about places in the Bay Area where you can take your old electronics for recycling, and our readers quickly weighed in with even more options.

Domingo Vazquez, director of curriculum and training for Oakland Technology Exchange West, pointed out that his group collects computers, printers and monitors, refurbishes them, and gives them away to Oakland families and students. Says he: "We are a licensed Microsoft refurbisher, which allows us to install a legal copy of Windows operating system and open-source software. We also provide tech support, extending the life of these machines by many more years."

Meanwhile, Noah Austin of Goodwill Industries brought to our attention that many electronics are accepted at Goodwill sites in San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties -- and it's free.

"All electronics are refurbished as part of one of our training programs, or recycled by reputable, domestic recyclers. Our process is regularly audited to ensure that nothing ends up in a landfill either in the United States or overseas," Austin said. "All revenue received from the recycled and refurbished computers supports Goodwill's extensive job training programs in our local communities." For drop-off locations, see their Web site.

Voices from the East Bay, led by Lindsay Blackman of Walnut Creek, chimed in to recommend Alameda County Computer Resource Center in Berkeley. According to their Web site, drop-off is free, and they charge just $10 to "degauss" your disk drives -- that is, to erase all personal info.

To be sure, there are a lot of options out there. Here's one that came in one of my various bills for city utilities: The San Francisco Clean Coalition will be collecting your unwanted electronics over the next couple of weeks, on Jan. 5 at Ocean Beach and the Marina Green, and Jan. 12 at James Lick Middle School in Noe Valley and Lake Merced. Find details here.