Recycling is a messy business, and trying to find out exactly how you can get rid of your old computer gear can sometimes be confusing. There are many sites with information on how it can be done, but perhaps the easiest way to rid yourself of old tech gear this month is to use Acer's Recycle and Rewards program, or the joint industry and government initiative called TechCollect. Both of these programs offer incentives to recycle in April.
For the month of April, Acer has a Recycle and Rewards program running in conjunction with Australia Post, and it won't cost you anything. The company has a dedicated page on its site that lists the specifics of the program, but this is how it works in a nutshell: register with Acer so that an E-Parcel return label can be sent to you, pack the computer you want to get rid of in a box (it can be up to 550x400x400mm and weigh up to 22kg with packing material), smack the label on it and hand it in over the counter at your nearest Australia Post office.
It can be any computer (desktop, laptop, all-in-one or tablet), but Acer won't take back CRT monitors or separate (or broken) LCD panels. Lithium batteries are accepted, but they have to be shipped while still in the device that you're returning, or they have to be wrapped in bubble wrap so that there is no risk of them short circuiting. If there's a battery in your package, you'll need to ask the counter staff for a 'road transport only' sticker, which will need to be placed on the package.
Once Acer has received your old computer, a voucher will be sent within three working days to the email address that you registered. It's a voucher that's worth $120 and it can be used on any product in the Acer Store that costs over $599. We like this program because the process seems very convenient if you want to get rid of an old laptop — just pack it and take it down to your local Aus Post office.
Visit Acer's Web site for more details and to register.
Alternatively, you can take advantage of the technology recycling service by TechCollect, which is a free collection service that's funded by over 60 technology importers and manufacturers, and which has collection points set at many council recycling centres and waste facilities around Australia. The best part of this service is that it can accept not only computers and peripherals such as printers, but also TVs.
This service requires you to drop off your gear yourself, and the main challenge might be finding a location that's close to you. The TechCollect Web site allows you to search for your nearest facility based on post code and distance. For the Sydney area, for example, there are four main collection points that are well spread across the metro area, from Matraville to Penrith.
In the week of 20-28 April, TechCollect will try to set a new world record for the "most e-waste collected for recycling", which may or may not help motivate you to get rid of all that old gear you have sitting around.
If you only have old phones, printer cartridges and batteries sitting around at home or in the office, you can make use of the usual programs: MobileMuster for phones, PlanetArk for printer cartridges, and you can take batteries to Aldi supermarkets or Battery World stores.