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Recycling options available in the Tampa Bay area

By DAVE GUSSOW/Times Technology Editor

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 12, 1998

You have just booted up your hyper-charged new home computer. Now what do you do with that old clunker of a PC and its monitor?

Sure, it's easy to stick it in the back of the closet and let it sit for weeks (months? years?), or you could put it out with the garbage. But if you are willing to put in some effort, you can find solutions that may help others and will be environmentally safe. Here are some options for old equipment:

-- Goodwill Industries in Pinellas accepts old computers, said Steve Hunt, director of support services. Working systems wind up in the organization's stores, while those that don't work might be cannibalized for the parts. People can leave the computers at staffed dropoff centers or at Goodwill stores. For information, call (727) 523-1512, ext. 204.

-- Computers for Our Community in St. Petersburg also takes old computers, which are refurbished by students at Pinellas Technical Institute and then given to individuals and organizations in the community. For information, call (727) 893-4110.

-- Hillsborough County has a Computers for Kids program. People can donate working computers that are refurbished and then placed in recreation and community centers for after-school use. For information, call (813) 975-2160.

-- People also might check with a local school, if the computer works, to see if it can be used there. However, schools may accept only higher-powered machines or those that fit in with its platform of choice, Apple or PC. And some schools don't like to deal with used equipment at all.

-- People with equipment that isn't working can still put it out by the curb to be taken to the landfill or incinerator. Mike Rudd, director of solid waste operations in Pinellas County, says the county gets too few dumped computers and monitors to create a problem. If that changes, Rudd said, the county would consider burying them at a landfill.

F&M Bay/SEER Electronics Recycling has contracts with Hillsborough County and the city of Tampa to process equipment that is thrown away.

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