Hey Look, it's Me! I figured this might be a useful little guide, and as I was recycling my old laptop anyway, I thought I might show how easy it is to sell the bits and pieces. I have indeed sold everything off, and got about $200 bucks total, not bad considering the laptop is six years old and I only paid around $1,000 for it in the first place.
The gist of the video, if you don't want to watch it, is that you can and should recycle your old machines when they've reached the end of their useful life. But you should also scavenge any working parts and sell them (or use them) before giving all those valuables to Dell.
I sold the RAM and the screen and put the hard drive in an external enclosure and I use it to carry media around the house. It doesn't need anything more than the USB cord to power it, so it's far more convenient (though smaller) than most externals...totally sweet. I got the enclosure on EBay for around $10.
Sorry if I'm not overly charismatic...I am, after all, still just a geek in my basement.