With technology constantly changing, a large majority of people update their computers every few years. It is common knowledge that old computers cannot be disposed of with regular trash due to components in them that could be harmful and require special care.
People often struggle with how to properly dispose of old computers but the best option is recycling them. There are many reasons why one should consider recycling their old computers as opposed to attempting to send them to a landfill site.
1. Better on the environment
Computer recycling is significantly better for the environment than attempting to dispose of it in a landfill site. Computers contain toxic materials such as mercury and lead that are seriously harmful to the environment. These chemicals when mixed with groundwater and air create pollution and they can also mix with soil which in turn can lead to erosion.
When old systems are sent to landfill sites they start to pile up, taking away space from waste that cannot be recycled. Recycling computers will allow them to be reused by another party, broken down to allow the materials to be repurposed, or reused in new computer systems.
2. Health benefits
Not only can disposing of old computers in a landfill site have detrimental effects on air, water, and soil, but human beings as well. Many chemicals found in computer components can be harmful to people’s health if not properly disposed of. Lead found in circuit boards can delay mental development and is toxic to kidneys and reproductive systems. Cadmium, a component in many computer cables and connectors, can cause kidney damage. Mercury located in parts such as switches, relays, and circuit boards can be devastating to unborn fetuses and causes brain and kidney damage.
Most landfill sites either bury the trash that comes to them or they burn it to create space for non-recyclable materials. If computers are sent to these sites, burying them will lead to these harmful components effecting soil and groundwater. Burning it will result in the release of chemicals found in the components and will be devastating to the health of people who are exposed to the contaminated air.
3. Supports those in need
Instead of being shipped to a landfill site, donating older computers to those in need would be more beneficial. Even if the system does not have the newest components or operating system, many agencies are able to perform significant upgrades to them. These refurbished computers can be used by low-income families, schools, employment agencies, and charitable organizations. Donating an old computer to charity is a win-win for everyone.
A person can take advantage of an opportunity to get rid of an old computer not in use and those receiving it have access to a system where they can surf the internet, check email, and compose resumes.
4. Conserves resources
Recycling old computers provides the opportunity to reuse many resources. It is estimated that mining and processing new materials emits 1.5 tons of toxic emissions into the atmosphere per year. Reusing materials found in older computers can reduce these emissions dramatically by reducing the need to mine new materials to be used for computer components.
When a computer is recycled, glass, steel, plastic, and metals found in components such as keyboards, speakers, disks, circuit boards, and cords are removed and re-purposed for new systems or crushed and then used to create new parts. Even if parts cannot be repurposed or created into new parts for electronics, they can still be crushed and sold to a manufacturer who can find an alternative use for it. By recycling your old computer you are playing a direct role in the conservation of natural resources and preventing resource abuse.