As you may recall, last year the folks at my <un-named customer location> graciously permitted me to participate in their Earth Day recycling “event”. During this event, the organization encourages the employees to bring in certain items to recycle, which are picked up and utilized by nearby recycling organizations. This year, the supporting organizations again included those that accept old eyeglasses, old mobile phones for soldiers, etc., as well as computer component recycling by local organization re-Source Partners.
No matter what your opinion of “Earth Day” itself, I think it’s a great idea to utilize this day in a way that fits your motivations. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t think it matters as much *why* you do good things, as it does that you just *do*. So in my busy life, I think it’s great to have these sorts of reminders to make at least a tiny donation (like the eyeglasses, phones, etc.), especially when the stuff doesn’t even matter to you any more. Even recycling old computer junk with organizations like this can be considered a “donation” when you think about all the componentry and raw material that will be scavenged from the old computer hardware and returned to usefulness in new products; so much better than filling up a land fill!
This year, while my part was fairly small (my mother’s old PC and monitor, 2 of my wife’s old laptops, 2 desktops I got off eBay fro Dev/Testing, and 2 Intel clone servers that served me well), I took a moment to reflect on a couple things:
- Even though these are all *working* computers and parts, all of the computing power — combined — is still just a fraction of just ONE of my Virtual Machine hosts that replaced them
- It’s a tiny piece of “mess” in my basement that can’t and won’t be re-made; these types of computer components are just not seen as much anymore (and certainly will not be seen in my home anymore) as smartphones, tablets, and other modern devices (and cloud services) have pretty much replaced the need for these things
So that’s all the good news… The bad news is that my basement still has a ton more of this old hardware.
But I hope Earth Day 2013 helped you in some way, too.