Green Machines
What are Green Machines?

Green Machines and "Green Technologies" is a new paradigm in computer development. In today and in futures years there is a growing shift toward environmental technologies, technologies that have less environmental impact than today's technologies, and new friendly approaches to the use of natural resources. As technologies progress, old and outdated computers are cast off. What become of these? Efforts have begun to recycle these machines and other new computers that are being created are made so that they reduce the environmental impact. Most companies replace any machine they have in about 4 to 5 years.

 Steps are being taken to reduce the waste of these machines and put them to some use. Computers have unique and reuse opportunities. A typical computer contains a wide range of ceramics, glass, metals, and polymers that can not be easily separated. There are seven different types of non-compatible plastics that go into computers. As much as 97% of a computer can be recycled. A computerís cathode ray tube (CRT) is the only non-recoverable part. This is due to the hazardous waste classification for cathode ray tubes.  This classification causes some European countries to define old computer equipment as a waste and not as a recoverable item.

 Several things can be done with old computers. There are many charity organizations or schools that take used computer and put them to use. The typical life span of a computer is 18 moths before technological changes make them obsolete. One estimate by the Environmental Protection Agency states that 10 million computers are discarded in the United States each year.


Here is an article on donating your old computer to charity.

 Here is a second article on donating your old computer to charity and places where you can donate you PC.

Buying old computers and upgrading is sometimes a cheap alternative to purchasing a total new computer.
Click here for the article.

 Close to home: The Roanoke based Computer Exchange purchases used computer equipment and refurbishes it for resale.
Click here for the article.

Reusing Computers:

Delta College, The Kenyan School Computer Program was started to provide rural schools in Kenya with computer labs, maintenance and teacher training. As many as 100 computers are sent to the African country at a time. Most of the equipment that is being sent is outdated. Yet, many Kenyan businesses need people with computer skills but not many schools have any computers. This project is helping provide schools with that technology.
Click here for the link to the article.


Carnegie Mellon University, volunteers collect used computers from faculty, staff, and students to support the efforts of Goodwill Industries. The volunteers also place computers in community service organizations throughout the Pittsburgh area. Goodwill Industries collects old computers then sells or redistributes to nonprofit groups, special need students, low-income families, and the general public.
Click here for the article.

Current efforts to recycle computers:

San Jose, October 1997: the Environmental Protection Agency and a host of companies established the nation's first centralized collection facilities for used PCs.
Click here for the link to the article.


How Green is your machine?
Did you know?

There is an estimated 324 million PCs worldwide, about 75% of those are in use and the rest are stored in warehouses. Most of these machines were built in the last 10 years.

More than 100 new silicon chip fabrication plants are being built around the world. By the year 2000, there will be between 200 and 300 plants worldwide.

Have you ever considered the environmental impact of disposing of 63 million personal computers a year? That's close to 200 million cubic feet of potential landfill, and there is not one single biodegradable element in a computer. (National Safety Council)

 According to Texas Instruments:

To produce a single, eight inch silicon wafer (250 Pentium CPUs), uses 4,267 cubic feet of bulk gases, 3,787 gallons of waste water, 27 pounds of chemicals, 29 cubic feet of hazardous gases, and 3,023 gallons of deionized water, and generates nine pounds of hazardous waste. A single plant can produce 5,000 wafers a week. Such chemicals include arsenic hydride, hydrochloric and sulfuric acids, and ozone-depleting chloroflurocarbons, which pollute the land, air and water. These chemicals are used in the assembly, cleaning, and etching of semiconductor devices.


The hazardous waste is then stored underground. Silicon Valley alone contains 29 subterranean storage sites. Unfortunately, over 100 toxic chemical dumps have been discovered in California's Silicon Valley, which will require billions of dollars to clean up.

Click here for the article.


Power Management Problems:

An office PC left on for eight hours a day consumes 690kwh annually, costing you a bill of $55.

Only about 10 to 20 percent of PCs are properly configured for power savings.

 Click here for the article.


Other PC Recycling Problems:

Some say the driving motivation to recycle PCs is legal not environmental.

 The PCs recycled are becoming younger not because of technological obsolescence but the drop in prices. The major trend is in monitors where the manufactures keep pushing down the prices.

 Printer cartridges can be recycled too. Toner recycling ranges from 15 to 50 percent. Printer cartridges can be re-used about six times before they go bad.

Of course, there is the ever-present pager recycling. Paper is the largest solid waste problem in the United States. It accounts for 39% of the waste generated.

This article is an excellent resource for finding out information about the environment and computer impact upon it.


 Make your Computer a Green Machine:
(an excellent page that discusses all aspects of green machines)
Turn off the monitor instead of using a screen saver
Use the backside of paper to print out draft copies
Do on-screen editing to eliminate excess printouts
Recycle printer ribbons
Eliminate cover sheets
Use recycled computer paper
Save paper and money: send E-mail
Recycle waste paper
>Use a file compression utility to get more byte from floppies
  What to do with your old computer?  Donate it to a charity.  Many schools and a host od nonprofit and charitable orignizations accept donations of old computer and give them a new life.
Buying used computers, refurbished, or end-of-the-line parts can be purchased for up to 60% less than a new machine.  Used computer buyer's guide.
Recycling old computers.  A Roanoke company purchases used computer equipment and resells it.  How much or a computer is recycleable?  97% of a computer can be recycled.  However, a computer's cathode ray tube is the only non-recoverable part.

The Green PC Revisited
Information about previous attempts to make a "green machine" made completly from recycled materials.  Stastical information about computer production and power mismangement.
Recycled computers go to Kenya
Students and professors at Delta College collect old comters and ship a 100 at a time to schools in Kenya.  Most schools in Kenya do not have any computer and it is the hope of the Kenyan School Computer Program to distribute unwanted computers to Kenyan schools in need of any king of technology.
How to "Green" your office
Tips as to make your home and/or office more earth-friendly.
PC Recycling
Discussion of a computer company that resells old computer parts.
The Goldsmith Group:
Providing New Ways to Recycle Electronics
SGS Computer Corporation
Your Complete Computer Recycling Facility. You've reengineered your systems, upgraded your hardware and outfitted your facilities with the latest management tools that technology can offer. You're efficient, cost-effective and Y2K compliant. Just one problem left to solve. What to do with the pile of old hardware that is stacked to the ceiling in the empty office down the hall. You can't just throw it away. Many of the items contain lead and require special disposal. Some of the old hard drives are still full of your confidential information. Anyway, you paid good money for that stuff just a few years ago.
Computer Recycling for Education
Training Consultants: Helping Education, the Environment and Economic Development around the world.
Computer Recycling Project, Incorporated
May be out-of-date (last entry seems to be in 1996)
Back Thru The Future Microcomputers Inc.
We have computer recycling warehouses located in Lombard, Illinois and East Hanover, New Jersey. We maintain computer collection facilities in Atlanta, Georgia and South San Francisco, CA.
PEP National Directory of Computer Recycling Programs
Computer Recycling Program - Pennsylvania
Volunteers from Carnegie-Mellon University collect used computers and distribute them to educational and community service organizations throughout the Pittsburgh area.
Computers & Education Computer Recycling Center
Computer Recycling Center accepts ALL computer hardware of any age, working or not (yes, EVEN YOURS) and packaged/sealed software from individuals and companies. Our primary goal is to keep electronic items out of the landfill, reuse the best, and recycle the rest. If you have computer hardware, test equipment, or telecommunications equipment that is unused or in storage, please donate it to our creative program, and receive a tax-deductable, 501 (c)(3) charitable receipt.

Last updated 2000/08/07
© CS 3604 Group 11, Fall 1997.
Edited and maintained by J.A.N. Lee.