Recycling Memories: 2002

March 4, 2012

These early Bondi iMacs were refurbished by the old Washington Apple Pi "Tuesday Night Crew" that is now MacRecycleClinic. They all went to good homes. Note the G4 towers providing support!

As I have time – I will reprint some articles about recycling that I (or others in what is now the MacRecycleClinic group) wrote about our efforts over the years to refurbish and return Macs back into the community. I’m doing this not only to preserve the articles but to show just how far back MRC and our old Washington Apple Pi Tuesday Night Crew goes – how our efforts to recycle have gone back to Apple II days in fact. I’ll add photos as well when possible.

Note that in 2012 MCPS – Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Schools – basically only supports PCs these days. That said, MRC has had luck working with school counselors and PTSAs to get computers to students and families that don’t have computers.  If you have a group that is trying to recycle computers, be sure to check and see what your local school district will – or won’t – accept. But there are many non-profits, students and families who would appreciate a refurbished computer. I just read the newspaper, work with local churches and school groups and never have a problem finding someone who could use a recycled Macintosh.

Dave Ottalini
February, 2002

Recycling remains one of the best things you can do with computers. Especially if they’re Macs or Mac peripherals. Recently, when I posted a note on Montgomery County School’s First Class BBS asking if anyone was interested in a recycled laserprinter, I got 4 quick replies. Despite the fact that MCPS has sold its soul to Dell, there are still many schools in the district that are all Mac or are dual platform. Unfortunately, the elementary schools have been almost completely lost. This summer, MCPS will be converting some 44 schools to PCs (though there are many teachers who are refusing to give up their Macs!).

At the Middle School and High School levels, Macs remain and continue to provide excellent service. Blair High School is a good example here – look in the office and the staff is using Macs, the Communications Arts Program (CAP) uses Macs for video editing and many other projects. They even have iBook labs for students to use. In the library, however – you’ll find PCs. The students are at home with both.

In 2002, Linda Panchura was the User Support Specialist at Herbert Hoover Middle School in Montgomery County, Maryland. The old Tuesday Night Clinic (now MRC) donated Mac monitors, printers and other equipment.

Tilden Middle School has 250 G3s connected to an Appleshare LAN and the MCPS network. Linda Panchura, the User Support Specialist at Herbert Hoover MS has worked hard to make sure the Macs at her school are all using Mac Manager. An accomplishment since this replacement program to the older “At Ease” application has had a varied history for many schools trying to implement it. The programs provide a “front end” for users and allows different levels of usage based on whether you are a student, teacher or staffer.

I was able to keep the Macs going at Forest Knolls elementary for years by getting the PTA to allocate money for memory, making sure teachers all had computers to use at home, and bringing in recycled computers, monitors, mice and more. The computer lab at FKES was made up mostly of pre Power PC Quadras. The school got them new and they provided decent service for many years. They needed to be replaced – and they have been – with PCs. And frankly, it’s hard for me to complain since the primary goal is to make sure students, teachers and staff have the tools they need to educate our children. That said, officials note that the computers will basically run the same programs the Macs were running! The district is using a PC-based administrative program, which is driving the quick conversions. Too bad Apple’s Power School program was never given a chance.

So while Apple has lost some battles here, there are still many, many schools, non profits and other organizations continuing to use Macs even as they continue looking for used equipment. Your used Mac (anything Power PC these days) can help fit the needs of any number of organizations or individuals. WAP’s own recycling efforts were put on hold in early 2002 to allow volunteers to consolidate and get equipment out the door. By the time you read this, the club may be taking donations again, so please give our office a call. If not, ask at church, at a PTA meeting, etc. to see if someone might be interested in your equipment.

Be sure to clean out all your personal files and pass along any manuals, etc. that you might have as well. Be prepared to give some initial instruction if needed. Depending on whom you donate to, you can also get a tax deduction but please don’t make that the only reason to donate. Finally, if you decide your equipment is too old or no one will take it, Montgomery County offers a excellent program to recycle your computer equipment – tearing it all down to basic components that can be reused for any number of new products. Do NOT throw old monitors away – they contain toxic metals that can leach into the soil and contaminate ground water. If in doubt, you are welcome to give me a holler at and I’ll be happy to offer some additional suggestions.

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