Your computer has died, and there is no hope for its resurrection. You have already replaced it, but now what do you do? What options are there for disposing of your old computer in a safe and environmentally friendly way? The answer is computer recycling.
Why Recycling Computers Is Important
Computers and other consumer electronics items make up around two percent of all of the materials in todays landfills. We already know that recycling in general is important, as the landfills are not getting any smaller, but recycling computers and monitors is especially important. These items contain lead and toxic metals that can cause serious damage to the environment, particularly if they end up in the water supply.
Additionally, your computer contains personal information that you may not know how to completely remove. You do not want a computer guru finding it in the dumpster and taking your personal information off of it. This can lead to identity theft and a lifetime of problems.
Advantages of Recycling Your Computer
Recycling your computer responsibly carries many benefits. First, by working with a responsible recycler, you are ensured that your personal information is completely removed from the machine. This will protect you from dumpster divers who are just waiting to find a hard drive to tap into.
Another benefit of recycling your computer is the fact that you will be doing your part to protect the environment. You will be keeping the toxins that are in your computer out of the landfills and away from the water supply. Additionally, the precious metals and other materials used in these electronics must be mined, which takes a tremendous toll on the environment. By recycling your computer, you ensure that these precious materials are reused, reducing the amount that must be removed from the earth through costly mining efforts.
In many cases a recycled computer can actually be put to use again. Even if a major part of your computer is broken, there are other components that can be used to rebuild other computers. This can provide an affordable computer for an individual or organization that otherwise would not be able to access one. Often these computers are donated to charitable organizations, so in this way you could be helping the community simply by recycling your broken computer. When you choose a recycling center, choose one that works closely with a charitable organization.
How Computer Recycling Works
The first step in a responsible computer recycling program is wiping all information off of the computers hard drive. This ensures that your finances and personal information are protected. Then, the recycling program should look at the machine to see if there are any usable components. These are harvested to be used to build new machines. Any non-usable parts are broken down into their basic components, such as metal or plastic, and further processed.
The recycling center will then take these basic components and organize them according to the type they are. These parts will then be sent to a smelting facility to be turned into tiny pieces and melted to be made into other things. For instance, plastic can be melted and used again in another computer or for a completely different plastic item. As part of this process, the precious metals that are in circuit boards are extracted for reuse. This keeps them out of the environment.