Trash or treasure?
There comes a time in life when it is time to clean house, or office, or place of business. Marlin Buchholz of Marion Health Mart Pharmacy hit that threshold Jan. 9 and he decided to empty his storeroom of ancient and outdated equipment he no longer needed.
“I haven’t thrown any computers away since the pharmacy got its first one in 1984 or 1985,” he said. “It seems like every two, three years, you’ve got to get a new one but I’m like a pack rat. I never throw anything away.”
One reason Buchholz took his time in throwing out old equipment was that he thought they might have some value.
“I thought I might be able to use old parts or something,” he said. “But now I am just ready to get rid of them. I need the space for something else.”
In addition to throwing out old computers, Buchholz disposed of printers and fax machines.
He said he destroyed anything with memory or data by shooting a bullet through it first.
Great Plains Computer Networking owner Lloyd Davies said parts in old computers not destroyed by natural or other causes did have some value to him, and he often keeps a good supply in his own back room, just in case.
“Sometimes I can use memory cards or power supplies from one computer to the next,” he said.
“If the motherboards haven’t been damaged, I can reuse those, and sometimes the processors can be removed and salvaged for another use.”
Davies said it was not unusual for parts from old computers to become obsolete, making it difficult for his computer repair service to meet customer requests.
“It takes a lot of time to tear down those old computers, so I don’t do it much, but I keep a few for those replacement parts,” he said.
Davies said computers struck by lightning or with major problems were not worth saving to him and he had people come to his shop to pick up those he wished to dispose of permanently.
He said there were people, like Joe Vinduska at the Marion County Transfer Station, who strip down computers and get the precious metals and other parts out of them.
For Buchholz, the biggest value of getting rid of computers and other antiquated equipment was the relief he felt once it was gone.
“I feel like a new man,” he said. “Now I have some room in my attic to store Christmas merchandise.”