September 3rd, 2008
On September 1st, a new Texas law went into effect, a computer take back and recycling program.
Today the Houston Chronicle says that Texas is the 4th state to have such a law, which requires computer makers “to take back old computers, keyboards, monitors, mice and other parts,” rather than putting them in the garbage. These old computers and accessories contain toxic materials like mercury and lead. HB 14, the bill for this law, was supported by TLCV and the environmental community, and passed unanimously through the Texas House last session thanks to support from industry leaders like Dell Computer, Inc. (This bill was one reason no legislator earned a goose egg in their score in TLCV’s legislative scorecard.)
Before dumping your old machine (or mice) in the river, visit www.texasrecyclescomputers.com, a TCEQ website that links you with the computer recycling websites of more than 100 computer makers. For example, the TCEQ site links to you Texas-based Dell’s recycling program here.
It appears to be a little cumbersome – you have to click around for a while and you have to find a serial number or service code before they will accept your item for recycling, and the program isn’t centralized — i.e. you can’t take your HP printer and your Lenovo desktop down to the computer recycling box on the courthouse square — but rather each manufacturer runs their own program. Still, it’s a tad bit of progress, and your Texas House of Representatives voted for this law unanimously.
I suspect you may have a box somewhere, full of old keyboards, cables, mice (are you sure it’s not mouses?), dead printers, etc. Now you can give it all back to the factory for them to reuse or recycle. If you can find the service codes and serial numbers.