– 12 complete PowerMac systems went to the Cheverly (Md.) STEM Education Center located in the Cheverly United Methodist Church. The school provides Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) classes for area home schoolers.
– 6 additional towers went to the Chance Academy, which is located in the Michigan Park Christian Church in Washington, D.C.. This school provides the homeschool network in Maryland and the District of Columbia with academic programs in the sciences.
All of the machines (including monitors, keyboards and mice) from the MRC are donated Macs that are reconditioned to make sure everything is working properly. We have a “master” hard drive that we clone (copy) so that all machines have the same set of software when they go out the door.
Since all these machines were PowerPC Macs (pre-Intel chip machines), the software is all optimized to work with OS 10.5.8 – the last OS version that works with PPC Macs.
Recyclemac.wordpress.com is now recyclemac.org – either will work but the “primary” URL is now much easier to use. Thanks to everyone for following us! There’s lot to talk about so stay tuned. 🙂
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.
Thanks to the Patch’s Ben Gross for visiting MacRecycleClinic’s Monday Night Clinic a few weeks back. His article appeared online and starts:
According to the EPA, between 2005 and 2010, more than 250 million computers became useless, with less than 10 percent of them being recycled. In fact, more than 85 percent of the computers “thrown away” wind up in landfills.
At the same time, many individuals and families lack the financial resources to have a home computer. One local company has found a way to address both problems at once – Silver Spring’s MAC Recycle Clinic.
(The Patch got a little excited with the caps – but we’re thrilled to have the story out there!)
If you’d like to read the entire story – the URL is: http://bit.ly/fo9KqX
Time to get some feedback! Tell us what you think of RecycleMac and how we can improve. We’ll try the WordPress Poll function (which uses polldaddy) to make it easy.
We’ll leave this up for awhile. There’s space for you to contribute as well – so don’t be shy! And thank you.
RecycleMac has been getting some positive feedback so thanks to all of our readers out there. This is really a long-term project that tries to build a quality voice in a room filled with many folks who are passionate about the environment and recycling. We’ll keep working at it with your help!
So here are the questions:
- What’s different about recycling Macs than other computers?
A Mac is a PC – that is, it is a personal computer or a personal appliance or a personal electronic gadget. So essentially you would recycle it the same way you might any other computer. All the folks we’ve talked about – from Apple to Dell – will take your computer and many times other electronic equipment and recycle them.
Unfortunately, Apple has taken some heat in past years because its computers were not made of materials that were easy to recycle or were toxic. To its credit, Apple has made some major changes and is much greener these days. I won’t go into depth here but you can read all about it on their website. If you’re interested, you can also see what Greenpeace says these days – it has an entire website devoted to the issue.
Please know that the Macs that are donated to us are thoroughly checked and cleaned. Hard drives are securely wiped of all data and an appropriate version of the Mac OS is installed. If the machine can not be made to work (and we get some that just don’t want to work no matter what we do) we will take out any reusable parts – hard drives, memory, batteries, sometimes the power supplies and optical drives – and send the hulk to Montgomery County’s Processing Facility and Transfer Station in Derwood (Gaithersburg), Maryland – which is the closest county recycling center to us. Here’s a map:
(Updated 3/16/2011 to fix photo links)
When I first started working with computers – my old Apple /// (like the one at
left right) back in the early 80s – computer users groups like Washington Apple Pi had already sprung up across the country. Their motto at the time was “Users Helping Users.” WAP was a club whose members wanted to learn more about how their computers – Apple II series, ///, and increasingly, Macintosh – worked. They really wanted to know what made them tick – not just how to upgrade them by adding memory, a new, larger hard drive, new graphics or other internal cards. They were willing to spend the time, effort – and money – to do that.
Today, computers have, for all intents and purposes, become appliances. They are SPECIAL appliances of course, but most folks are not interested in opening the hood and tinkering. They just want to turn them on. They expect them to work.
Users today still may want to add memory or a new hard drive, but Apple has made it pretty difficult for the user to do much of that except for their higher-end MacPro models. At the Clinic, we usually suggest external drives when that’s possible – they come in a wide range of sizes, USB and Firewire are on virtually every Mac – and the price is reasonable. But we do have the tools and expertise to dig into the internal workings when necessary.
The question is – when should you replace what you have? When is it time to spend the money for a new Mac? We get those kinds of questions all the time and each answer is really tailored to the individual owner.
But in general, If you have an older PowerPC Mac you are a prime candidate unless you are happy with what you have and the programs continue to do what you need them to do. Apple and most vendors no longer support the PPC platform, but most of the later-model machines – towers and laptops – remain highly capable and able to do what you need. If there’s a problem, we have the tools and expertise to help (that’s us working at left). If we don’t we’ll tell you up front.
The Macs of today are Intel based and OS X continues to grow in power and ability. Macs can run both Windows and OSX easily at the same time. In the future, OSX may well morph together in some form with the iOS we all know from the iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad. There are rumors Apple will stop including optical drives in all their machines as well. If that happens, third party vendors will be making lots of money because folks will still want those peripherals. I certainly do even with the App Store.
So while the decision about when to buy a new (or refurbished) Intel Mac is a very personal one, there will come a time when:
- Your old machine just won’t work anymore;
- When you are really ready to move up for the power, speed and improved graphics;
- You want a Mac but still need to run Windows;
- You need to run the latest version of Office or other software;
- You need to do video editing;
- You want a better computing experience.
As one of the volunteers at MacRecycleClinic I can tell you we have a group of folks who are passionate about helping you keep your Macintosh working – but we are also happy to provide suggestions about your next step should you want to upgrade to a new computer.