The good people at the Alameda County Computer Recycling Center, a fantastic Berkeley, California-based non-profit group that recycles anything that plugs into the wall, is now under siege by the EPA. Its director, James Burgett, is a champion of the do-it-yourself culture, and has won many awards for his efforts to get used electronics back on the street. As the ACCRC slogan goes, "Obsolescence is just a lack of imagination."
Now though, the ACCRC is in trouble. The Department of Toxic Substance Control of the California Environmental Protection Agency has issued the ACCRC a violation that could make it very hard for the group to stay in business. The violations center around the fact that they computers are classified as universal waste, and must be inventoried and disposed of properly. What is ironic is that households are not subject to such rules - it is only because they are a collector of such materials that they are under the lens.
After reduction, reusing electronics is the best way to promote a sustainable computing practice; we have recommended giving them away and in fact, the Federal EPA recommends this practice on their own eCycling site. Uh, just like you say, the three R's are a hierarchy.:: Boing Boing :: BAN