On a recent visit to my local e-waste disposal place I noticed an open PC on the top of the pile with a pair of DIMMs that were begging to be removed. I also noticed three PCI Ethernet cards that were stacked in a manner that made them convenient to grab – possibly some nice person deliberately placed them so someone like me could take them. The DIMMs turned out to be 3G of DDR2-800 RAM and were regarded as good by Memtest86+ – a nice upgrade for one of my test systems that previously only had 1G of RAM.
If you have old hardware to dispose of then please try to take the RAM to your local computer users’ group meeting. In any such gathering there’s always someone who wants old RAM, anything better than PC-133 will find good home unless it’s very small (128M sticks of DDR-266 and 256M sticks of anything faster probably won’t get any interest). RAM is small and light so you can carry it in your pocket without inconvenience. Ethernet cards of all vintages are in demand due to people reusing old desktop systems as routers and PCIe video cards are in great demand, PCI and PCIe cards are small enough that it’s usually not a great inconvenience to transport them.
Hard drives larger than about 100G are in demand as are ATX power supplies, these are really inconvenient to transport unless you travel by car.
For computer systems, anything that can use DDR2-800 RAM will probably be of use to some member of a computer users’ group, if you offer it on the mailing list then you can expect that someone will want to collect it from you at your home or a meeting.
There are organisations such as Computerbank that take donations of old hardware and make systems for disadvantaged people , it’s worth considering them if you have hardware to dispose of. But for me the hardware I use every day is quite close to the minimum specs for donations that Computerbank will accept so there’s no possibility of me discarding systems that are useful to them.