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The Trickle Down Theory

From the latest and fastest computers, to the newest cellular gizmos, the American public likes its technology.  There’s always some new “must have” gadget to replace your old one.  And for those who need to keep pace with technology I say “Go for it, and have fun”.

But what becomes of your old equipment?  Unfortunately, much of our very old or beyond repair electronics find their way to the dump.  It’s sad to say, but many people simply throw away old computers, cellphones, PDAs, etc.  But that’s not very eco-friendly and we really should consider recycling.  The problem with recycling is that it’s such an inconvenience.

To help you maintain your eco-conscious, Wired recently released a great list of hardware manufacturers that offer recycling programs.    And retailers like Best Buy, Staples, and Radio Shack offer you a way to relieve yourself of your old “junk” and keep it out of the dumps.  If you must trash your old equipment, I highly recommend looking into one of these programs.

If your equipment is newer and still functional, you might consider online sales forums, like Craigs List or eBay.  These forums are a great way for sellers to get rid of old equipment and also get $omething back.  It also lets buyers benefit by buying perfectly good (though older) technology at a discount.

One of my favorite ways to get rid of old equipment is via Trickle Down.  The Trickle Down Theory is analogous to clothing hand-me-downs, where perfectly good (but perhaps ill-fitting) clothing is given to a friend, relative, Goodwill, etc.  Trickling down used equipment makes a lot of sense.  If you need to upgrade your computer, perhaps a friend, relative, church or school would make good use of it.  Also, if you know ahead of time that you will be trickling down a computer, you may be more likely to replace it faster, giving you the excuse to stay up-to-date and giving the beneficiary a newer computer.  Trickling down makes everyone feel good and extends the useful life of your original purchase. Just make sure you clean out all your private and/or sensitive data, before you trickle down something you did not intend.

Whatever you do with your old equipment, try to keep it going for as long as you can.  Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s useless.  And when it does finally reach its end-of-life, make the extra effort to make sure it does not become part of the 21st century’s e-waste stream.

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