Computers and Electronics

California Code of Regulations, Title 22, prohibits the landfill disposal of old electronic components such as computer hard drives, monitors, and any equipment that contains mercury, lead, and other potentially dangerous heavy metals that can pollute the environment.

Prior to discarding any computer equipment, all information must first be erased from the hard drive (in the case of hard drives that are still operational) or physically destroyed (in the case of a non-operational hard drive). Special programs that destroy the data need to be used (for operational hard drives only). Please contact Information Technology Services to request assistance in preparing your computer properly for disposal.

After the equipment has been properly prepared for recycling, a Property Survey Form [pdf] must be completed and sent to the Property Office (408-924-1595) for processing.

Once you receive notification that your form has been received, you may then submit a request to Recycling/Moving Services via an iService Request or call 924-1990 to request removal of the property. Do not leave property in hallways, stairwells, or outside of buildings. Abandoning equipment in this manner is a violation of campus policy and can create safety hazards.

Where Do They Go?

Computers and electronics from San Jose State University are picked up by a local company that dismantles the equipment into separate components (circuit boards, metal, wire, plastic) and recycles them.

Did You Know?

Each computer or television display contains an average of 4 to 8 pounds of lead. Consumer electronics constitute 40% of lead found in landfills, while 70% of heavy metals (including mercury and cadmium) in landfills comes from electronic equipment discards. These hazardous substances can contaminate groundwater and pose other environmental and public health risks.

Source: Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition