Re: Electronics Recycling Information
Wed, 29 Sep 1999 08:08:13 EDT

I'm writing you all from Cincinnati where I've been attending the NRC
congress and have been to several sessions lfocusing on obsolete electronics.

For those interested in computer recycling, the best single source of
information is the EPR2 website. Check out their reports section at:

As to people's need for "definitive number"s, please note that no one is
really sure how many obsolete computers are out there. Many of the reports
listed at the EPR2 site make this clear. Estimates vary. For those interested
in setting up regional programs though, the real issue shouldn't be what the
national numbers are. You really need to estimate what your local situation
is. Big difference.

Other good resources on these issues are Resource Recycling magazine and
Recycling Today. I published articles in both last year on electronics
recovery. So have a number of very thoughtful experts over the past several

One thing important to note too is that the Clean Computer Campaign has
written in their email: "Most computers that are disposed of are landfilled
because only 14% of
junked computers are recycled or donated."

This is misleading. Most obsolete computers are neither landfilled or
recycled/reused; rather, they are stored in closets, under desks, in corners
of loading docks, basements and attics. Obviously they may find their way
into disposal streams eventually (how many computers can you store?), but the
real problem right now is that the 486s and Pentiums decommissioned today
will seem like 8088's in five years.

Another thing to note is that there are many very vibrant groups and
businesses in most communities looking to find uses for obsolete computers.
Go find 'em and work with 'em. They are usually run by community oriented
environmentalist nerds and other such smart people. Get to know 'em! They are
often hidden treasures and great allies!

Hope this helps.

David Biddle
Center for Solid Waste Research
Philadelphia, PA

In a message dated 9/27/99 7:07:58 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

<< I've seen a wide variety of figures quoted for the number of PCs and
televisions sold in the U.S. and in California in 1998. Does anyone
know a definitive number and source for each, or the trade
organization(s) that might? I've searched with no success. >>