Talking E-Trash

WHERE DO COMPUTERS GO WHEN THEY DIE? IF THEY'RE LUCKY, TO ONE OF A NEW BREED OF RECYCLERS UNLOADING MOUNTAINS OF OBSOLETE COMPUTERS SAFELY AND LEGALLY

The main task of computer-network manager Mike Nisbet at Rheem Manufacturing in Montgomery, Ala., is to keep 500 PCs and laptops virus-free and humming. Last year he was haunted by another worry: averting an avalanche. The obsolete or trashed equipment that he and his staff routinely piled in a storage room was in a heap 6 ft. high and growing. "I was afraid someone might get hurt," he says.

Nisbet could find only one state-approved electronics hauler, which promised for $6,000 to entomb 300 pieces of e-waste in concrete before taking it all to a landfill. The price, along with Nisbet's...

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