Library Recycling Wiki

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Patrick Hutchinson

What is Techno-Trash?

A few examples (I'm sure you can come up with more):

  • Many commercial CD cases are brittle and the little toothy things snap off before they even get to cataloging; drop them on the floor and they crack; I replace them with preservation-quality cases. What to do with the carcasses?
  • Yet another Region 2 DVD featuring The Matrix 2 in Greek, free with the Greek newspaper. If the Language Resource Center had a multi-region DVD player we could send them there, but until then, what to do with them?
  • Just bought an I-Mac? So that leaves you with several dozen (at least) floppy discs, and no drive to put them in. Get them copied to ZipDisk or to your hard drive. And then?
  • Ooh look, a parcel in the mail box! Oh, no, it's just YET ANOTHER 12,000 free hours on AOL. If you're a true activist send it back to the manufacturer, or the Providence Phoenix, or whatever magazine it came with, and complain loudly. If not, then where should it go?

    Chuck it out. Who cares?


What kinds of things can be reused?

  • Unbroken parts of jewel cases, mindisc cases, cassette cases etc.

Please don't throw out unbroken cases; Keep them, relabel and reuse them, or send them on to me.

What kinds of things can be recycled?

1. CDs, DVDs, and other optical disc media of any size

2. Broken jewel cases from any of the above

3. AOL etc plastic cases

4. Floppy discs of all sizes

5. Cassettes and broken cases

6. Ink cartridges, cell phones, videotapes, pagers, PDAs

7. Computer peripherals, fried hard disks, laptop batteries

What to do with it all

PREPARE: I would appreciate it if you would remove any paper or cardboard inserts and sleeves first, and recycle them separately yourselves

SEND: Then collect any and all of these items and forward or bring them to me in Rm. 104 at the Rockefeller Library

I will prepare them for shipping to GREENDISK. We have so far kept over 350 pounds of trash out the landfill

BETTER STILL: At present we cannot accept trash for recycling from outside the Library. Can your Department do better? Set up your own TechnoTrash recycling box, tell people all about it at every opportunity, and find out for yourselves!

At left: the recycling box that started it all
Rockefeller Library, Room 104

Other types of trash


Builders wrap houses in it because it's indestructible. But it can be recycled and re-used, and DuPont makes it easy do so. Small quantities of used Tyvek envelopes (less than 25 per month) can be sent back to Tyvek at

Tyvek® Recycle
Attn. Shirley Cimburke
2400 Elliham Avenue #A
Richmond, VA 23237

For details on how to recycle larger quantities, go here. (Thanks to Marie Malchodi for this information)


Brown has a recycling and surplus program for Brown-owned computing equipment (they recycled 41 tons of eWaste last year). University guidelines for the disposition of surplus property can be found here

Consider donating your out-dated computer to your favourite women's shelter, homeless shelter, school, or other worthy cause. Just transfer the stuff you need to Zip disks.

The Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation will accept personal home computers FREE (see their pages for drop-off times), and larger amounts will cost an institution $0.20 per pound, which is cheaper than the commercial recycling alternatives, which average $35 per computer or monitor.

Computer peripherals, fried hard disks, etc can be added to the TechnoTrash recycling box.


Consider donating your used cell-phone to your favourite women's shelter, homeless shelter, school, or other worthy cause. Starbucks often collects phones for local women's shelters. You can also check here to locate local drop-off points, and for information on how to erase personal information before donation. (Thanks to Lori Jargo for this information)


RIRRC (see above) says to put alkaline and flashlight batteries in the trash. Can't say I'm a fan of this idea.

You can drop them off at Whole Foods Market on North Main, Bread and Circus on Waterman Ave., Staples, or Radio Shack.

Laptop batteries can be added to the TechnoTrash recycling box


are most welcome...

Many can be answered by visiting Earth 911, the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation, or Greendisk


Post them right here! or e-mail me

Answers and Other Recycling News

BrownIsGreen has information on "Brown's efforts to create a more sustainable environment," and "charts the University¹s progress toward greenhouse gas reduction and includes updates about related courses, initiatives, research, community projects and the work of student groups." Good links page too.

Media Services at the Sciences Library does indeed have multi-region DVD players available, so if you can figure out how to make watching Gigli in Greek, Plan 9 from Outer Space in Cantonese, or even (my personal favorite) Percy the Parkkeeper in English can be part of an accredited course, it's free. If you can argue that watching them "supports the focus and purpose of the University" then you'll get them at a reduced fee.

You can now bring your #5 plastics to a drop-off bin at Whole Food Markets in Providence and Cranston. They will send the plastic to Preserve, who makes recycled household products including toothbrushes, razors, tableware, and kitchen products. (Thanks to Norine Duncan for this information)

If you ask nicely, Starbucks will give you coffee grounds for your compost for free. You might want to reserve them for acid-loving plants such as blueberries.

Wright's Dairy Farm not only sells the best Hermits in the state, but you can take as much cow manure as you can shovel yourself for free. Or they'll fill up your pickup truck with a front-loader for $5.

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