I got an interesting email from a reader suggesting an article topic, but I’m not sure what I would write at this point. He noted that he, like many of us, has an increasingly large pile of largely serviceable hardware. For various reasons, I’ve been interacting with my own stash of old Macs (many of which are sadly not functional), hard drives, extra keyboards, a snake pit of cables (ADB and SCSI, woo!), and so on.
What are the best things to do with all this gear? Some things that come to mind:
Recycle it. Periodically, Cornell does big electronics recycling days, and I’m sure I could get rid of a lot of things this way. It would be a fair amount of work, but still probably less than any other approach.
Sell it. Some things, largely the old Macs, might still have a little residual value, though it’s hard to imagine it would be enough to warrant the amount of work necessary to evaluate the device, list it on eBay, and deal with shipping it. Actually, no, I can’t imagine doing any of that.
Restore it. I imagine that many of my old Macs could be brought back to life with new capacitors or hard drives or whatnot. But if I don’t have time to sell them, I certainly don’t have time to fix them, and it would cost both money and time to do so. Conceivably it could be a hobby when I retire.
Let it decompose in place. I have a pretty big attic, and it’s far from full. It is outside the envelope of the house, so it cycles hot and cold (which probably hasn’t helped some of the Macs that have died up there). This option is basically putting off recycling for the far future, though if I procrastinate long enough, it will be Tristan’s problem.
I’m sure lots of people here have similar issues. What are you doing? How do you weigh the time, financial, and ecological aspects of your tech footprint?