Recycling: Does not compute

Dear Ace: As any good modern consumer, over the years I’ve acquired a good amount of computer equipment. Rather than throwing the old models out, I’d much rather take them to a recycling center. Is there any such facility in, or near, Charlottesville?—Electronic Clutterbug

Clutterbug: Just to test the limits of the City’s recycling program, Ace tried to put his old, dusty Apple II computer into
his curbside-recycling bin. When Ace returned home that night, he found his computer still sitting by the street. He also found a mob of middle school kids mocking his obsolete technology. Momentarily demoralized, but not defeated, Ace popped into the Acemobile for a drive to the McIntire Recycling Center. As he poked around the recycling dumpsters, it seemed that eco-friendly facility took everything under the sun, except computer electronics.

   Dragging his Apple II back home, Ace decided to take matters into his own hands. So, he called the City’s Public Works office, where he spoke with Cyndi Kirby. Kirby told Ace that, unfortunately, the City of Charlottesville does not recycle electronics. (Neither does Albemarle; the County’s Engineering Inspector for Public Works, Dan Fowley, says that because there’s no market for recycling computers, the landfill takes it in as solid waste.)

   But, if Ace were interested in recycling (and what true-blue investigative reporter isn’t?), Kirby suggested he try donating or selling his good components to a local computer store.

   Ace had to admit it was a good idea. The Apple II had to be worth something—The Ace Atkins had owned it, after all! Ace then called a techie bud of his, Anthony at PC Pro. He laid it out for Ace. “You see, Ace, a lot of the time, we tell people to just get rid of it since the components are not that useful. Occasionally, if the computer is only a generation or two old, it can be donated to the schools.” A hand-me-down from Big Daddy Atkins, Ace’s two-generation Apple II would be perfect for those school kids, Ace reasoned. But it turns out that “two-generation” has nothing to do with the family tree. Humpf.

   Luckily, there are numerous venues for donation around Charlottesville. Provided the computer is in working condition, the Goodwill, the SPCA Rummage Sale and the Salvation Army all accept donated computers. Computers 4 Kids, a local nonprofit, also accepts PCs with 500 megahertz or higher processors. But unfortunately, for poor Ace, they don’t take Macintosh computers, meaning Ace was left with no choice but to turn his dinosaur computer components into stylish end tables.

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