When ‘Refurbished’ Takes on an Earth-Friendly Vibe

From the New York Times:

Jared Seltzer faced more than the usual megabyte headaches recently while shopping for a desktop computer for his office in Takoma Park, Md. As the information technology director of the Center for a New American Dream, a small environmental group, he wanted to buy a computer that would be relatively easy on the ecosystem.

His search brought him to the Dell Web site, where he chose an OptiPlex model that had been refurbished.

“I wasn’t losing anything by not buying new,” Mr. Seltzer said. “And it was good that I was being true to what we’re about.”

Refurbished computers, he explained, are not generally made from old clunkers on their last legs. They are typically returned by buyers shortly after delivery and spruced up by the manufacturer. And they often have the same guarantees that new computers do.

Like many other consumers, Mr. Seltzer is concerned about the environmental effects of computers, which can contain hazardous substances including lead, cadmium and mercury, among others.

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