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Why My Purse is Green

Because I believe…

  • the fastest, most effective way to stop polluters is by pressuring them in the marketplace
  • women can be the world’s most powerful economic and environmental force if we intentionally shift our spending to the best green products and services
  • women have the power right now to solve many of our most serious environmental problems by using our green purses to make a difference
  • women must act – intentionally, collectively, and with the full force of our purse power behind us – if we hope to leave our children and grandchildren a better world.
  • « Environmentally Friendly Car Wash - Not in Your Driveway! | Main | Recycling Electronics? Swipe Them Clean First »

    Recycle Computers Locally and On-Line

    Recycling computers is an environmental essential.  Most computer components -- including the monitor, keyboard, and hard drive -- contain heavy metals, like lead and cadmium, which can contaminate drinking water and wreak havoc on human health.Even if they didn't threaten our well-being, trashed computers and other electronics are the fastest growing sector of the waste steam. We're throwing way too many computers away.

    It doesn't need to be so. Many "broken" computers can be repaired to extend their life; even if the entire computer can't be saved, many parts can be recovered and re-used in another machine. My point: Don't trash your computer; recycle it. Here's how:


    Every year, the nonprofit citizen's group evaluates the efforts computer manufacturers are making to reduce the toxic chemicals in their products and increase recycling. Before you buy, review your options and pick the most environmentally friendly option that meets your computing needs.


     HP has a trade-in program that accepts products from any manufacturer and gives you cash back when you purchase a new HP.  Their recycling program accepts HP equipment for free, and other brands for a nominal fee. The company has earned the EPA SmartWay certification by reducing the fuel consumption, greenhouse gases and other air emissions of its surface transportation carriers.  Take note: HP has recently fallen on the Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics because the company says it will no longer honor a promise it  made to eliminate PVC and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from their products by the end of 2009.

    Dell has partnered with Staples to accept Dell products for recycling at all their locations. Dell's exchange and trade-in program buys back old models of all types of electronics, regardless of manufacturer, and gives Dell gift cards to the customer in return.  Dell aims to reduce package size by 10% by 2012; achieve 75% curbside recyclability for packaging; and increase recycled content of laptop and desktop packaging 50%.  (I recently bought the Dell Studio Hybrid, which uses 80% less energy than a standard desktop hard drive and came in minimum packaging.) However, like HP, the company has backtracked on its commitment to eliminate PVC and BFRs in all products by the end of 2009.  In fact, Dell no longer has a timeline for eliminating these toxic substances - what's it waiting for?

    For any computer, search the corporate website for specific suggestions on how to recycle it.

    Best Buy - Rather than hassle with a computer company, go to your nearest Best Buy. Why? "We'll take just about anything electronic, including TVs, DVD players, computer monitors, cell phones and more. You can bring in up to two items a day, per household, and most things are absolutely free. However, there is a $10 charge for TVs 32" and under, CRTs, monitors and laptops — but we'll give you a $10 Best Buy gift card to offset that cost." That's a pretty good deal.

    Goodwill - Businesses and consumers can donate computers to Goodwill for recycling. Check with your local Goodwill office before dropping equipment off.,, and - These sites also enable you to sell, trade or donate your computer rather than toss it in the trash. enables you to find more local computer recycling locations.


    The National Cristina Foundation takes donated computers and matches them to charities, schools, and public agencies in need throughout the US and Canada.  


    Gazelle will pay you to recycle your e-waste.  Gazelle shows you how much your product is worth, sends you a box for free shipping, and upon receiving your product (assuming it is in proper condition), will mail you a check for its value.


    Apple is the only computer company among the top five that has freed its products of PVC and BFRs.  With the exception of PVC-free power cords, which they are working to certify, this is Apple’s greenest accomplishment.   Apple recycles electronics for all customers who purchase a new Apple or Mac product from any of their online or retail stores.  Once purchased, you receive a voucher for shipping any old electronic (regardless of brand) via FedEx.  Fewer restrictions apply to educational or business customers, and for those recycling iPods and cell phones, none of whom have to buy a new product as a prerequisite to their recycling.  There are no drop-off sites for e-recycling at any Apple stores.


    How about a little more info?

    Don't miss this additional information on the environmental impacts of electronics

    Here are ten ways to make your computer more energy efficient.

    Research by Katie Kelleher


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    Diane MacEachern

    You're welcome. Thanks for writing!

    Brenda Bobrow

    Hi Diane,

    My husband and I have a home-based office and I’m trying to green it up a bit. I’m looking into getting something like this internet fax and getting rid of our old fax machine. I’ve heard that a lot of “recycled electronics” actually end up throwing some of the parts into landfills and since it’s not actually a computer I’m trying to recycle I’m afraid that’s what will happen. Is there a reliable source you’d recommend for electronics recycling (i.e., someone who actually recycles every part of the machine?) We’re located in Pittsburg CA and I’m willing to drive long distances to drop off the old machine. Anything you could recommend would be helpful. Thank you!

    Diane MacEachern

    Brenda, Thanks for being so conscientious. Does your county recycle electronics? They might be the most reliable source locally. You could also check to get local recyclers, then question them before you turn over your electronics to them. It's so frustrating when businesses claim to do the right thing, but don't. Let me know what you find out.



    Computer Recycling

    Do you know if there are computer recycling companies that will pick up your computer at no cost? I've heard that there are a few around. Any suggestions on where I should look to go locally?

    Diane MacEachern

    You can check; plug in your zip code to find the nearest electronics recycling companies. Or, take your computer to Best Buy, Office Depot, or Staples - they'll easily recycle them for you. Remember to clean all the data off your hard drive before you turn your computer over.

    Sell iPhone

    Looking to offload old gadgets?You can go to and they'll give you a good pay

    Ginger Yoder


    I am Co-Owner of Bluegrass E-cycle. We offer FREE e-waste removal to many states. I'd like to encourage you to check our services when looking to dispose of your electronic equipment in a responsible manner.

    Diane MacEachern

    Thanks so much for letting us know about Bluegrass E-Cycle, Ginger. Services like yours make it so much easier for all of us to do the right thing.

    Suzy Frame

    This is such awesome news! I had no idea that you could even computer recycling memphis! Can you tell me where I can find more about it in Memphis! I know you can do it, I just don't know where! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Diane MacEachern

    Try checking out Good luck.


    Wow, I had no idea trashed computers were causing to many problems. Its true every few years everyone upgrades their technology. Leaving behind computers. We could all be a little more careful when it comes to computer recycling in Nashville.

    Diane MacEachern

    You are so right! Thanks for the link to computer recycling in Nashville.

    Thanks for posting! I'm actually really interested in recycling and things like that, and I'm so excited they've started doing that for computers and electronics. One more step towards a green world!

    Rave Smith

    Hello Diane, you are doing superb work of spreading the ideas of recycling IT assets. We should all try and contribute from our side. Whenever we buy a new computer/laptop, if the old one is of no use then instead of keeping it in house for dust to settle on, one should sell it. There are some components in computers which are made of metals like mercury, lead, etc., which must be recycled as they are harmful to us. There was a time when I also had around 4-5 damaged hard-disk, which were of absolutely no use to me. When I realized it, I simply checked online and used “Exittechnologies” company for selling it (and got more bucks than I was expecting). Although there are other sites too like "Voxremarketing", "Ecassetrecovery", and some mentioned above, but since I have not used these so not sure. Check it if it’s of any help for you guys. I made my contribution to our mother nature and feeling proud of that. Keep up the good work Diane!!

    Electronic File Destruction

    Great post! Been looking for good ways to get rid of my old computer. Thanks for the info here!

    Diane MacEachern

    Thanks so much for the suggestions, Rave. They're very helpful!

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