State should lease, not buy computers

Posted: Tuesday, March 18, 2008

There has been a good deal of discussion regarding recycling lately, as the growing landfill has become more apparent to all. In all recycling discussions, it is best to follow the reduce, reuse, recycle sequence which is provided often by experts in the field. In applying this to Juneau (and to other parts of the state) it always surprises me that state, city and federal entities are buying rather than leasing computers and peripheral computer equipment (printers, copiers, etc.).

We are buying these units only to send them to the landfill after their four- to six-year life cycle. Some are purchased from the state surplus, but there are limits to how many old computers and peripherals the private sector can absorb. They could be leased and, at the end of their life-cycles, returned to the companies who have better recycling programs than we can afford in Juneau. Many smarter folks than me have been pointing this out for awhile, but nothing seems to change. I would be interested in learning why this is so.

I would assume that perhaps this lack of interest in leasing such systems would be because the costs of leasing would be much higher than buying, but in checking articles regarding leasing as opposed to buying, it turns out that assumption is not true.

Many corporations, schools and individuals lease computers and peripherals rather than buy them. Even if the cost were slightly higher it would be offset by the amount of space these items take in the landfill and by the fact that they are not like glass, which we are recycling. They have some toxic by-products that don't just go away when put in the ground. It seems to me that we should be able to vote for ideas as well as candidates, and the idea of leasing these systems is one for which I would vote, if I were offered the opportunity.

Bob Mitchell


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