Green Benefits of Computer Recycling

Computers have become an impo
rtant of our daily lives. We use them in business for correspondence in place of “snail mail”, for e-mail, billing, statements and much more. Computers are used at home to stay in touch with our family and friends. It is used for e-mail, school work and classes, social media, shopping and surfing the web, etc. Computers are even used to stream our favorite movies and television programs.

When your computer is no longer functioning or you have decided to upgrade and get rid of your current computer do not simply toss the computer away in some landfill. A discarded computer can stay for in a landfill for many years and cause harm to the environment. Computers are a source of harmful toxins and carcinogens which pollute the environment and may cause death and injury to both man and animals.

The rapid advances in technology coupled with the low initial cost for a computer has resulted in an ever increasing surplus of computers and computer parts worldwide. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the United States estimates that there are 30 to 40 million surplus PCs in the United States alone. Worldwide it is estimated that 63 million PCs were either traded for replacement or simply thrown away during a single year period.

The ever increasing number of surplus PCs is causing a serious threat to the environment. According to the EPA the bulk of today’s electronic waste either ends up in landfills of gets incinerated. Dumping or incinerating the electronic waste is already having a very negative impact on the environment. The toxic materials in a computer such as mercury, lead, cadmium and other radioactive material is finding its way into the groundwater, soil or air. For this reason, the storage, handling, disposal and recycling of computers is a sensitive important task.

Are you aware that even obsolete computers can be a good source of raw materials? Most of the materials that were used in making computers can be recycled. Obsolete computers can serve as an excellent source of useful raw materials. Materials such as aluminum, tin, silicone, iron, copper, gold and a wide array of plastics can be reused or reprocessed. This can help in reducing the cost of manufacturing new computer units.

The Resource Conservation and Recovery of 1976 was at one time the main federal law governing the recycling of computers. However, new federal bills, such as the National Computer Recycling Act have been introduced to reduce electronic waste and mitigate their environmental impact. Many computer manufacturers are now offering some form of recycling to their customers. Some computer manufacturers will arrange for pickup of the old computer when a new computer is purchased. Some other companies have drop off points where you can dispose of your old computer.

Many communities have recycling centers where you can safely dispose of electronic equipment. The old equipment is then processed and raw materials recycled.