According to the United Nations Environmental Program, up to 50 million metric tons of electronic waste is accumulated around the world every year. The Environmental Protection Agency claims that 3.2 million tons of this electronic waste is accumulated by the United States! That’s because the average U.S. state has about 4.2 million computers that are used in homes or by businesses, and within the next five years these computers will all become outdated. As computers continue to get upgraded and people gradually get more electronic-oriented, old computers will get thrown out and new computers will take their place.
Electronics are quickly becoming America’s fastest-growing trash product, and they are taking up huge amounts of landfill space. What most people don’t realize is that these computers contain toxic chemicals such as lead oxide, mercury, nickel, zinc and cadmium, and they are very hazardous to humans and the environment. Consumers need to be aware that almost all computer parts can be recycled and reused.
What is computer recycling?
Computer recycling is the process of recycling and refurbishing old computer parts into new, usable parts. You can either send your old computer to a refurbishing business to be fixed, cleaned and resold or donated to schools and non-profit organizations, or you can send it to a recycling facility where metal recycling, plastic recycling and glass recycling takes place and parts are broken down and molded into new parts.
What types of computer parts can be recycled?
Here are some parts of the computer that can be recycled:
- Glass monitor
- CD Rom drive
- Plastic case
- Cathode ray tube (CRT)
- Copper in power cord
- Metal from circuit board
- Printer cartridges
What are the benefits of computer recycling?
Here are some benefits of recycling computers:
- Reduces landfill space
- Creates less toxic chemical emissions
- Allows people to buy used computers at an affordable price
- Can be used as source of lead for other products
- Conserves energy use in manufacturing plants
- Provides useful donations for charity organizations
When you recycled computers you not only create more computers, but you also give other people a chance to use their technology. Many of the refurbishing companies give their used computers to school systems, correctional facilities and charity programs, which allows the less fortunate to learn how to use them to prepare for their future careers.
Where can I donate my old computer?
Instead of throwing your old computer out you can donate it to a company that will either recycle its parts or refurbish them to be used again. Here are some good places to donate:
Refurbishes and donates or resells computer in West and South Africa.
Organization that refurbishes old computers to be used again in communities for the disadvantaged.
Non-profit organization that refurbishes old computers for educational use in schools.
Provides collection and drop-off programs for recycled and refurbished computers.
Grassroots and non-profit organization that donates computers and other items to people in the U.S., Europe and other countries around the world.
Non-profit organization that provides computer technology to at-risk students, people with disabilities and other disadvantaged populations.
Provides free computers and computer training to low-income families with students in grades K-12 in the United States.
Electronics recycling should become an important of our everyday lives. To learn more about computer and electronic recycling you can visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s eCycling website or ElectronicsRecycling.com.