The guiding star behind the development of EONS, and many of our projects, is reuse and keeping electronics in use as long as possible. My job, the one that actually pays the bills, is as an eScrap Management Consultant, so managing electronics is my speciality. Electronics are especially toxic, containing 9 deadly elements. So I'll give everyone a crash course in how to increase the longevity of your electronics, and how you can help.
1) Don't throw away your electronics. Landfills are the worst possible location, once allowed to be put in the ground the toxins leach out and into the ground and water. Your local Solid Waste Management District or recycling district will know who to take it to if they don't take it themselves. You can usually find the closest district through your state's Department of Environmental Management.
2) College move-out days are a great time to get good stuff from dumpsters, especially at large colleges. Many students who live a long ways away, and a lot of international students, will throw almost new things out at the end of the year because it's cheaper/easier than hauling it home, and then back to school again. In fact, the computer I do the EONS builds on was from a dumpster, it just needed a new power supply and voila! I had a 2.8 GHz P4, 512mb DDR, 60GB hard drive, and all the bells and whistles I could want in a free computer.
3) Take care of what you have. Don't leave things turned on when they don't need to be, especially if there are moving parts. As an added bonus you will save money on your energy bills.
4) Keep good airflow to your electronics. Don't sit them on carpet, this allows them to pull in more dust and cuts down air flow. Almost all electronics are air cooled, and when they accumulate dust or have less air flow they can't dissipate the heat as well. This wears things out even faster. Keep fans in good shape as well, when you hear extra bearing noise from a fan you should take it out and add some oil to the bearings. Use a source of dry compressed air to blow out computers every few months to keep down dust, compressed air cans are a waste of resources. Make sure the source doesn't have a lot of moisture in the lines or you might turn on you computer only to hear a snap-crackle-pop.
5) Look for ways to reuse items when you upgrade. Find someone who can still use whatever the item is. Local nonprofits may be able to help. If you're in Northern Indiana and need help, you can contact us and we might be able to help you out.
6) Volunteer for local groups doing work with electronics recycling and/or reuse, we always need the help. I even reward my volunteers with points that they can use to redeem for electronics and parts they might need or want.
7) Find reuse parts and do repairs of items you would like. You can look in dumpsters, go to school auctions, or go to recycling centers to find some good parts. They're usually very cheap and you can find some great deals to keep things in use.
8) Buy recertified electronics, recycled content items, and reuse items. They help fund recycling and keep commodities in the production cycle, rather than landfills.
With all that said and done, you can purchase recertified and reuse items from us to help fund our research, education, and recycling programs. Our eBay store is here, or email us (eonsproject at gmail.com) if you are looking for computer parts or specific Mac or PC items, I can get a shipping quote for any item with a zip code.
So do the right thing, recycle and increase your electronics' longevity.