I heard the tail end of a conversation on Fresh Air the other day about recycling electronics, and was quite intrigued. You can read the story here.
Pt 1. Essentially, a large majority of the computers used today are put into landfills when people no longer need them, creating a large amount of e-waste. This allows a lot of the materials that went into manufacturing the computer, seep back into the ground, causing environmental problems. Obviously, this is bad for us.
Pt. 2. An option that may help you feel better about getting rid of your old electronics is the fact that there are a large amount of recycling companies out there that can help you get rid of your old computer and assorted parts. A problem with that solution is that a lot of these recycling companies have found a cheap way of recycling computers, send them to very poor countries, hire the people there to be used as labor to strip the good stuff out of the computers and burn the rest. However, there are many recycling companies around that do the right thing.
The EPA has a page designed to help you find a reputable recycler here: Where can I Donate or Recycle my old computer and other Electronic Products
Pt. 3. Look at the EPAs website for a list of companies that either offer electronics that are made responsibly or at least offer recycling programs.http://www.epeat.net/