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The Berkeley Ecology Center: Resources for Green Computer Users in California

written by: localcitizen•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 6/27/2011

The Berkeley Ecology Center, a community start-up in San Francisco, helps educate individuals and businesses on the waste issues around computer use and helps managers figure out plans for old hardware and materials.

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    Green Resources from the Berkeley Ecology Center

    Ever since the late 1960s, the Berkeley Ecology Center has been playing a role in how Californians think about the environment. The BEC is a central resource for many areas of "green living", and included in that list is the issue of how we use technology. Green computing is one way the BEC serves the San Francisco community by helping all kinds of businesses and computer operators think critically about their hardware.

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    How to use the BEC

    The main way that the BEC helps with making computer use more efficient is in computer recycling and other forms of common recycling for hardware, like batteries and accessories. Their website also has pages about what to do with old computers, list easy curbside recycling services and local sites for depositing a laptop, desktop or other hardware that has served its purpose and become obsolete and unusable. Organizations like the Alameda County Computer Resource Center (ACCRC) accept electronics of all kinds. Computer users can find the depository closest to their homes or businesses.

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    Waste to Landfill

    Beyond just a directory of computer recycling centers, the BEC also includes green resources for learning more about what happens to a computer or accessory after it is sent off to a recycling center. The sometimes complicated process can result in computers being sent overseas (at high cost to the environment) and scrapped in inefficient ways. Sites like the Com-Cycle boast a Zero Waste to Landfill policy as well as commodity dismantling inside the U.S. Other green community centers like the Computer Recycling Center, with several local chapters, promotes re-use in keeping with EPA recommendations. This kind of link is how the BEC connects computer users to real computer recycling solutions.

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    Green Computing Education

    In addition to getting the best computer recycling solutions to locals, the BEC wants to get people thinking about the best use of all of their hardware: pages linked to the list of directories talk in-depth about hazards caused by improper disposal of LED screens, circuitry, and all of the stuff that resides inside your laptop or desktop computer. Other parts of the site address related issues like disposing of the packaging that comes with your computers, printers and accessories.

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    More Green Resources

    The BEC resources for green computing and optimal use of hardware are just a start: there's a lot available for businesses from this central green community site, from material handling to power and water efficiency. Take a look at what BEC has to offer for maximizing good environmental stewardship as well as your own bottom line!