From AP - News Headlines -

UI Conference Tackles Mounds of E-Waste

Environmental experts are looking for a little creativity this week when it comes to diverting tons of old TVs, computers or cell phones from the landfill - or worse.

Electronic waste can create pollutants as well as lots of solid plastic or metal waste, and much of it will come from machines that are still in working order. A two-day symposium on the University of Illinois campus begins Tuesday to address the large-scale problem.

Tim Lindsey is with the U of I's Sustainable Technology Center. He says everyone involved in the process - from manufacturers to retailers to recyclers - are getting together to talk about reducing the waste stream, and new reuse methods can play a huge role.

"You can take a ten-year old Pentium 3 computer, you could refurbish it, load it with Windows 7, and for most applications it will perform as well as a brand new computerwith respect to word processing, surfing the internet, spreadsheets and so forth. It would do just as well," Lindsey said.

Lindsey says one future answer may be to rethink how we buy electronics. He says consumers might warm up to the concept of buying a shell computer or cell phone and occasionally improving its performance with the newest technology.