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Re: [greenyes] Austin's got a new computer recycling program


Some of us have been fighting against the "free recycling" myth for our whole careers, so when I read your email I cringed. You know, and we all know, that nothing in life is free, and that is especially true for the responsible end-of-life management of all the toxic e-scrap that has swept the planet. There is a cost, and that's OK. And the reason that is OK is because there is also a current cost to the bury/burn approach to dealing with these discards. In fact, I would maintain that when looked at from a particular angle, the current costs are higher than what the costs of a "total recovery" system would be. This is the crux of our challenge today ... how do we prove that?


Eric Lombardi
Executive Director
Boulder, CO

----- Original Message ----- From: "Stephen Roberts" <sroberts@no.address>
To: <greenyes@no.address>
Sent: Friday, November 19, 2004 7:23 AM
Subject: [greenyes] Austin's got a new computer recycling program

FYI -- check out this article about an innovative project for computer
collection and recycling that was recently launched here in Austin, TX. The
1-year pilot project between Goodwill of Central Texas, Dell and the City of
Austin allows people to drop-off any kind of computer for FREE at Goodwill
locations in Austin, which of course helps out Goodwill, gets you a tax
donation and means your computer won't wind up in a landfill. The article
below says they'll pick them up from your house, too for $10.

Based on some conversations I've had with all three of the groups, their
goal is to make it a financially self-sustaining venture that can be
replicated in other cities.

The program's website is

Here's a copy of the article that ran when it launched a few weeks ago. I
already dropped off my old 486 (yes, it was that OLD).

Got a PC to recycle in Austin? You can request curbside pickup for $10
October 22, 2004
By Dan Zehr

Austin's latest recycling program won't leave many excuses for the stack of
computer equipment in the garage.

The city, Dell Inc. and Goodwill Industries of Central Texas today will
announce a partnership that expands the nonprofit's current PC recycling
program to include a $10 curbside pickup service.

The three partners said the curbside pickup is the first of its kind in Texas
and only one of a handful of similar programs nationwide.

"Replacing old computers is getting cheaper," said Jerry Hendrix, spokesman
for the Austin Solid Waste Services Department. "More people are buying new
computers, so more have older computers they need to get rid of."

Dell is the world's largest computer maker, and Goodwill is a large computer
recycler, receiving about 20,000 systems per year in Central Texas.

The curbside pickup program makes recycling easier and cheaper, Hendrix said,
increasing the chances that computers will end up being reused instead of
deposited in a landfill.

Goodwill expects pickup service could increase the number of donated
computers by half. The City of Austin found in a survey that more than
one-third of its roughly 692,000 residents had computers to dispose of and
that 84 percent of them would prefer to give the systems to a charity.

The hardest part is getting the equipment from the house to the recycling
center. Under the new program, Austin residents have to do little more than
make a phone call and a $10 payment.

Dell put up a small grant for the program, spokesman Bryant Hilton said, but
all three partners expect the program to become self-sustaining. The company
hopes to use the program as a model of a low-cost, public-private partnership
it can replicate in other cities and towns to promote recycling.

Beginning Monday, Austin residents can call (866) 487-3873 to learn about
Goodwill's drop-off locations or set a curbside-pickup date. The city's solid
waste department will schedule the pickup, then Goodwill representatives will
come and collect the equipment.

Residents will receive a bill for $10 to help cover the cost of the pickups.
They also are responsible for removing data stored on the computers.

People living outside the city's limits can drop off their old computers at
one of 37 Goodwill locations in Central Texas.

As it does with its current recycling program, Goodwill will take the
computers, refurbish them and sell them at its Computer Works store.

On Nov. 22, it's opening to a new store at 1015 Norwood Park Blvd. The
charity recycles computers it can't refurbish, using an approved electronics

Goodwill uses the roughly $200,000 in profit each year it gets from reselling
donated PCs through its Computer Works stores to help job seekers with resume
preparation, and interviewing and job skills, spokesman Malcomb Gardner said.

The organization works with 200 employers in the area, he said, seeking to
place most of its 7,400 clients, many of them disabled, in jobs that pay
about $10 to $12 an hour.

Stephen Roberts, Account Supervisor
Tuerff-Davis EnviroMedia Inc.

Advertising and PR with a conscience.

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