When Chicagoist is ready to get rid of an old computer or gadget, we try to donate it somewhere. We know, that 233 MHz, 32 MB RAM PC with a dot matrix printer may not be a hot seller at the Salvation Army store, but as long as it's working, we figure someone could get some use out of it, if anything for a stress reliever. But sometimes the damn thing is just broken, a worthless piece of electronic detritus, and dumping it on someone else isn't a morally acceptable option. Tossing it in the trash doesn't feel right either, because we know there are various and sundry metals and plastics inside that will likely outlive the human race.
Gov. Rod decided that the government should do something about this quandary, and signed a bill yesterday that will require state organizations to safely dispose of their e-junk, making Illinois the first state to do so. He even wants the legislature to adopt a law requiring residents to recycle gear.
So where to recycle our computer junk? The Chicago Recycling Coalition has published guides for disposing of cell phones, electronics, and computers. First of all, they encourage reuse by donating the gadgets, then recycling as a last resort. Many computer manufacturers and cell providers offer exchange programs, and the state EPA holds collection days for your hazardous stuff. But remember, never ever throw away a hard drive without first erasing all your data Department of Defense-style, lest you want someone to find all those bootleg Paris Hilton videos.