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I have two old rack-mount servers lying around that I want to get rid of. One is a HP DL380 G2, the other is an IBM from the same era. Both machines boot up, but I don't have any harddrives for them, or any use for them.

Worse yet, both machines appear to have been dropped at some point and the rail kits are bent out of shape and can't be removed, making them unusuable in a rack environment.

I'd like to recycle them or dispose of them in some kind of safe manner, but don't really know what my options are. I'm in western Canada. Any suggestions?


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put them on ebay, local pick up. someone might want them. –  onesysadmin Aug 5 '10 at 8:14
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Most major cities have a computer/electronics recycling company around. Our local one takes working/resellable hardware for free. Try calling any thrift-charity stores in your area (Salvation Army, Goodwill, etc), they would likely know of recycling centers. –  Chris S Aug 5 '10 at 12:37
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4 Answers 4

up vote 18 down vote accepted

You have a few options:

  1. Sell them on e-bay or similar service.
  2. Donate them to your local charity. Many schools are especially interested in computers.
  3. Send them to a recycling center.

The only thing not to do is to toss them into the trash.

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I actually sell them back to HP, I get a credit note against future purchases. They even come and unplug them, take them away, wipe disks, recycle etc. It's worth it to me, and I think IBM and some others do this too.

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Chopper3 - Tell me more. We currently use a disposal company, but if HP do it, I'd like to know how (e.g.: what's the name of the scheme?) –  Simon Catlin Nov 25 '10 at 19:18
    
I talked to IBM and they wanted me to ship it to a facility 500 miles away, then pay a hefty disposal charge for each machine. I declined. –  Nic Nov 26 '10 at 18:24
    
ah, shame, guess it depends on the company, location and quantity sorry. –  Chopper3 Nov 26 '10 at 18:41
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I'm a bit suspicious of "enviromentally safe" disposal companies. One of the popular such companies in the US was exposed on 60 minutes last year. They just paid a foreign company to ship the junk overseas where it was dumped in the open. Furthermore, some of these outfits simply take entire servers and shred them, creating a pile of toxic junk that is difficult or impractical to recycle. Much of the server enclosure could be recyclable as bulk metal.

If the equipment is not usable, your local government should have a safe disposal area for where the heavy metals and chemicals will not run off into the local water table. In my opinion, this is more responsible than shipping it out of the country into the third world.

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I'm tempted to down-vote; you saw one company, publicly exposed, dumping CRT monitors. That's a far cry from 'every electronics recycling company is dumping heavy metals in your local water supply'. Shredding computers is the most common way of recycling them. Also, almost all metal recycling starts by shredding the metal. Once it's in little pieces it's much easier to separate by mechanical means. –  Chris S Aug 5 '10 at 12:53
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Most of these recycling operations are terrible -- they ship the stuff over seas and some kid watches over a flaming pit of PC boards and cables and captures the melted metal that oozes out of the flaming nightmare. –  chris Aug 5 '10 at 13:07
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and @chris, I see a lot of generalization here. Let's tone it down and stick to what we actually KNOW to be true. None of us know what happens at even a large proportion of recyclers, let alone most or all of them. –  John Gardeniers Aug 6 '10 at 5:00
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I'd be inclined to donate them to a charity. I'm guessing you wouldn't get much for them on eBay, especially as they are incomplete. Probably a lot less than the effort is worth.

Despite their age, those machines are still more than powerful enough to do some serious work as file and/or print servers, especially if the new owners use an appropriate OS, rather than going straight for the latest and greatest version of whatever flavour they prefer.

Unlike the rest of us, charities stand a better than even chance of talking some business, possibly even the manufacturers, out of a set of drives to get the machines functional again. For someone who has to buy the drives the servers will have a far lower value.

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This is a great answer, but I picked pehrs' answer because I was looking for a list of options. –  Nic Sep 27 '10 at 15:40
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