Columbia's Guide to Green Computing
Extend the Life of Your Equipment
One great way to manage the disposal of your computer equipment is not to dispose of it at all. You may have the option to upgrade your computer inexpensively by installing additional memory or a new, larger hard disk. If you need to buy a new computer, you may be able to use your existing monitor. Repair services may be able to fix a broken printer or copier. Consider your options and try first to use your existing equipment for a while longer before moving on to buy a replacement. By doing so, you'll save money and reduce manufacturing and disposal waste that may harm the environment.
Offer Your Equipment to Others at Columbia or to Local Organizations
If the time has come for you to part with equipment that is still serviceable, try to find a new owner before disposing of it. Those of you who use equipment owned by Columbia can access the Columbia Equipment Re-Use Program to list your equipment as available to others at Columbia and to local community organizations.
The hard disks of all Columbia-owned computers must be cleansed before they are reused, donated or recycled. If after cleansing you prepare the computer for reuse or donation, remember to honor the terms of software licenses. Never offer software for reuse or donation if the license does not extend to the new owner. If you any questions about these important issues, seek help.
If you own your own equipment, ask around to see if someone else might be able to make use of the items you wish to give away. Alternatively, check NYC.gov's list of charity organizations that might be able to put your equipment to use.
Recycle, Never Discard
If no other option exists and you must dispose of your equipment, always see that it is recycled. Never discard your equipment along with regular waste. Computers, monitors, and printers contain toxic metals and other long-lasting pollutants that shouldn't end up in a landfill. Check with Environmental Health & Safety and read our guide to recycling to learn about appropriate disposal procedures as well as. All computers and other electronic devices disposed of through campus facilities are recycled by an outside vendor. Alternatively, contact your equipment vendor about possible take-back programs. Links to some of the more popular vendors are listed below.