Monday, May 14, 2007


Last week in The Diskard entry I described my difficult, but ultimate triumph in disposing of an accumulation of 5.25" floppy diskettes, and advised that this was part of my multi-faceted Electronics Discard Project (EDP), discussed in Digital Spring Cleaning. For The Diskard's "Removal step I used Green Disk, which turned out to be a really easy solution! Just the way I like them!

According to their website, "GreenDisk began on April 22, 1993 (Earth Day!) . . . [and] was founded by high tech industry veterans who had a particular passion for the environment." I had actually first heard of them many years ago through a professional list serve I subscribe to. Someone on the list asked if anyone knew of an environmentally friendly way to dispose of disks and CD's, and Green Disk was suggested. Packrat that I am, I tucked this bit of information away for future reference. Once I decided it was time to finally get rid of these floppies, I untucked it and decided to give GreenDisk a try. You see! Hoarding can have its advantages!

Through a series of partnerships with both for-profit businesses and non-profit agencies GreenDisk takes advantage of existing recycling centers to process what they call "technotrash". This arrangement also provides employment opportunities for disabled adults. Certain of the refurbished "technotrash" items are sold as GreenDisk's branded line of office supplies. Those items that cannot be refurbished are dismantled and properly disposed of, and they will provide a certificate to that effect. Everyone wins!

There is a fee to take this stuff off your hands (varies depending on the service you use), but for me, this was well worth it. Another great thing about GreenDisk is that they handle both small (30 lbs or less) and large amounts (over 300 lbs) of technotrash, so this deklutter solution is one that is suitable for both individuals as well as businesses. They accept quite a wide variety of electronic refuse:

  • desktops
  • laptops
  • monitors
  • printers
  • CDs
  • DVDs
  • videotapes
  • cell phones and other PDA equipment
  • but this list represents just a smidgeon of it. For a complete list visit their FAQ.

    I used the Technotrash Pack-It service, although there are other service options available: Technotrash Can and the Computer and Component Recycling Program. With the Technotrash Pack-It service you use your own box and fill it with up to 20 lbs worth of whatever technotrash you can fit into it. At this writing the cost was $6.95 plus you have to pay for shipping. Anything over 20 lbs will costs 0.30¢ per additional pound. It took mere moments to set up an account. Placing my order and the final checkout process was also a breeze. The mailing label was included as a .PDF attachment to the order confirmation sent via email. Regular users of their services can manage their account and product orders through the site.

    The Technotrash Pack-It service is good for small amounts of such items as floppies, DVDs, CDs, mice, cell phones, PDAs. Smaller, computer-related stuff like that. For larger volumes of this type of trash, you should use the "Technotrash Can" service. Various box sizes and pricing are available, however all the ins and outs are clearly spelled out at their site.

    For computer components like monitors, printers, laptops, or complete desktop systems, they require you to use the Computer Component Recycling Program. If you or your business has unique needs, you can contact them to arrange a solution tailored to your particular situation. Note: "Technotrash Can Service is available only in the 48 contiguous states. Service is not available in Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, or outside North America."

    I packed up my floppies and just for the heck of it, tossed in a bunch of promotional CDs that I had (such as might be received from a certain internet and email service provider that starts with an Amer...?). I took the box to the post-office in order to weigh it on the self-service scale. It came to a little over 9 lbs. Later, I placed my order and printed out the label, then went back to the post-office to mail it. I used US Postal Service Media Mail, however you can choose whatever shipping method you like (e.g. UPS, FedEx or whatever). A week later, I received a Certificate of Destruction, which GreenDisk states is a bonded guarantee that the intellectual property and all of the physical materials were disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner.

    And that was that! Diskard Mission accomplished!

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