The Advantages of Computer Recycling

As technology increases at an exponential rate, the waste of outdated and broken equipment begins to pile up, leading to potentially deadly waste problems. One electronic product in particular that contributes to this environmental damage the computer. Computers contain multiple toxic substances that need to be recycled properly to reduce their environmental impact. Computer are recycled in two main ways, through donation or through breaking them down in order to reuse their parts.

Reduce Waste

Many computers are thrown away due to the users’ needs exceeding the processing power and features of the computer. Computer recycling centers take these used computers that still work and donate them to organizations or individuals who can continue using them. This extends the life of the computer, reducing the production of new computers and reducing the overall amount of e-waste making its way to landfills.

Proper Disposal of Toxins

Computers contain potentially harmful toxic materials in much of their inner working parts. For example, cadmium, which is a known carcinogen, can be found in chip resistors. Mercury is found in LCD and laptop screens, and can cause serious health issues in children, as well as organ damage in adults. Mercury can also cause damage to the environment if not disposed of properly. Lead is found in computer screens as well as circuit boards, and may cause serious health problems including nervous system damage, kidney damage, blood problems and birth defects. Recycling computers ensures that these toxins will be disposed of in a way that will not compromise health or damage the environment.

Secondary Raw Material

Computers can also be recycled for their secondary raw materials, including aluminum, steel, copper and plastic, depending on the brand and age of the computer being scrapped. These materials can then be reused to create new computers, or other metal products.

Don’t try to extract these materials yourself unless you have been trained on how to do so, to avoid exposing yourself or the environment to the potentially harmful substances inside.

Prevent Abuse

Because of the sheer amount of computer waste that piles up each year throughout the world, some foreign countries have become dumping grounds for the e-waste created by the electronics, according to a 2008 article on Recycling your computer at designated recycling centers can help prevent this from happening. E-waste is exported to these developing countries in which the local workforce is used to tear the components apart. Unfortunately, many of these workers are not adequately protected from the potential toxins inside, resulting in the population being exposed to cancer, birth defects and other health problems. Unsafe recycling practices in these nations also results in devastating environmental impacts. Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as of January 2007, requires that companies in the United States contact the EPA before exporting electronic waste, computer parts still make their way to these developing countries from the U.S. and other countries.