Pember hopes to raise funds by recycling

H ow many old cell phones are currently taking up space in your hall closet or the junk drawer in the kitchen or shoved into a desk drawer at the home office?

Cell phones, while becoming ubiquitous, have also become something people change routinely. “Everybody’s got extra phones lying around,” said Pat Wesner, executive director of the Pember Library and Museum.

At least that’s what she’s hoping.

The folks at the Pember Library and Museum are hoping these and several other electronics items can become cash now that they have started a recycling plan for used consumer electronics.

Wesner said she found the program online a short time ago while perusing a museum resource website.

“I was looking for places for recycling electronic devices and also to find a way of making money,” Wesner said.  

Under the cash for used electronics program, the company globalresourcefunding will give the Pember cash in return for everything from laptop computers to iPhones and iPods to cell phones, GPS units and ink cartridges, laser and toner cartridges. “Not all of the items need to be able to work,” Wesner said.  “They’re recycled in some way either for the parts inside or they are re-used somewhere.”

The program allows people to donate unused items by dropping them off at the Pember. When the Pember has enough of an item type, they are boxed up and sent to globalresourcefunding in return for cash. The company also has a rewards program allowing frequent contributors to earn points that can be converted into useful items.

The value of the items ranges from just a few cents for a home computer printer ink cartridge to about $100 for an iPhone.

The only downside to the project is not every old electronic item will do; only some are worth cash. But Wesner said that doesn’t matter to the folks at the Pember.

“We’ll take anything people would like to bring in,” she said. The drop box is near the front door on the first floor and donors simply need to walk in the door. “We have a big box. Put the stuff in; we’ll go through it,” she said. 

Although the Pember has only had the drop box in the lobby for about two weeks, Wesner said she’s optimistic this kind of recycling can help people dispose of unwanted items and help the museum and library.

“Hopefully it will mean income for us. I don’t know, it could take six months to know what the response is,” Wesner said. “Then we’ll have an idea.”

Finding new ways to support the Pember are important, considering the condition of the economy. “At this point every dollar counts,” Wesner said.

For a list of items that are worth cash for the Pember check out globalre-sourcefunding.com.

“So if people check those kinds of things they’ll know what they can bring it but it’s easiest to just bring it in,” she said. 

Along with the list of items that qualify is a list of conditions and accessories some of the recycled items need; for example, a laptop should be able to power up and have the power cord as well as contain the hard drive.

Box: What to do when you recycle a computer (or any electronic gadget with personal information stored in the memory).

Josh Gillespie of Driftek Computer said precautions should be taken when turning an old computer over to anyone for recycling or just passing it on for another to use.

For those who have handled personal information through e-banking or just ordering items online and are not comfortable with computers, Gillespie recommends bringing items in and having a professional restore them to factory settings. This greatly reduces but cannot guarantee the chances any worthwhile information will be extracted from the hard drive.

“The best way for someone to clear the computer would be for them to bring it to me and I would reformat it to factory. It isn’t easy for someone to clean out ALL of their personal information. The steps don’t guard against sensitive information,” he said.

Steps to remove saved passwords and Internet History from Internet Explorer in Windows XP or Vista. Click the start button located in the bottom left hand corner using your mouse, then click on Control Panel. Next, click Internet Options. Go to the Advanced Tab. At the bottom you will see a button that says Reset. If the option is given check Delete Personal Settings. If reset is not an option, you can contact Driftek for a more comprehensive guide to remove this information.

Here are some steps they can take to remove their pictures, documents and most personal information. What this will do is create a new account on the computer and remove your account. In Windows XP or Vista, click the start button located in the bottom left hand corner using your mouse.

Click on Control Panel. Next, click User Accounts, and then Click Create an Account. Name this account whatever you would like. Select Administrative Privileges. Once the account is created click Start and then click Log Out. You will now see there are two accounts on the computer. One is yours and one is the one you have created. Click on the account you just made. Next, click Start then Control Panel. Click User Accounts once again. In Windows XP click on Change an Account or in Windows Vista click Manage Another Account. Now click on your name or the name of the account you normally use. Click Delete This Account and choose not to save your files. You have now removed most of your personal information.

A good free cleaning tool to remove Internet history and personal information is a program called CCleaner. If you point your internet browser to www.download.com you can search for CCleaner and download it at no cost. Once the program is installed, simply run the program; it is very easy and straight forward to use.

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