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News > Technology
Recycling used computers
April 9, 1997: 4:12 p.m. ET

Ways to upgrade old systems, help the environment, and make a profit
From Correspondent Casey Wian
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New York (CNNfn) - With computer technology becoming obsolete every five to six months, nearly two-thirds of all new computers are purchased to replace outdated machines. Most of the old computers end up either stuffed in someone's closet or dumped in a landfill.
     Aurora electronics, an Irvine, California-based company, is turning trash into treasure. The company buys tons of aging computers and tears them apart. It then re-sells the components as replacement computer parts, or for use in other electronic products.
     "Our approach to recycling is economic," said Jim Cowart, chairman of Aurora Electronics. "We find buyers for all of the materials and it is very important in terms of the environment. A study was done recently at a major university recently that says there were more computers in landfills than there were on desktops."
     Even obsolete computers don't have to die. Companies like Cerplex are in business to keep old computers alive.
     "We will put in a faster chip to make the machine run faster," said Phil Pietrowski, president of Cerplex North America. Pietrowski said disk drives can also be upgraded.(112K WAV) or (112K AIFF)

     Recycling companies pay for the computers based on the value of their components.
     Computer makers support the recycling business because it encourages users to discard old equipment and buy new.
     "It is a win for us because of the fact they are going to buy newer technology from us, and we will have some older spare parts to service some of the older customers that are not quite ready to retire those machines," said Dan Sheppard, V.P. of Marketing for AST.
     AST will even take old computers as trade-ins.
     When computers are broken down, even gold and plastic are salvaged. Parts of that dinosaur on your desk may someday end up inside another computer, as a piece of jewelry, in a cell phone, or even bringing life to a Tickle Me Elmo doll.Back to top

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Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.