Each year, as new technology emerges, old technology becomes useless. This has contributed to millions of old computers ending up in landfills, to the detriment of the environment. The latest figures show that old computers, TVs, mobile phones, and stereos account for as much as 80 percent of all e-waste. That’s a worrying trend that everyone concerned should take actively participate in preventing. If you just bought a new machine and are wondering what to do with your old one, it’s time to think about computer recycling. But, why recycle old computer parts is important?
According to the United Nations Global E-Waste Monitor, global e-waste is forecast to grow to almost 75 million metric tons by 2030. Each year, the total amount of electronic equipment grows by 2.5 million tons, yet only five percent of users say they would recycle their devices.
If we just keep discarding our old equipment into the already crowded landfills, we are increasing the toxicity that we’ve already exposed to our environment.
Computers and other electronic devices do not biodegrade easily. To reduce the contamination to the environment, think about donating your old computer or finding ways to recycle it. You’ll feel better knowing that you didn’t contribute to the environmental pollution by throwing your unwanted, broken, or old computer into the landfills.
Reduce Toxic Waste
E-waste on landfills not only takes up lots of space but old electronic equipments release harmful chemicals that damage the environment and harm living organisms.
Computers and electronic devices contain chemicals like mercury, lead, cadmium, and beryllium, which are released into water and air, worsening environmental pollution.
Reduces Manufacturing Cost and Energy
Did you know that 98 percent of your old computer can be recycled and reused? Only two percent isn’t salvageable. Parts that can be recycled include keyboards, monitors, computer/laptop casing batteries, circuit boards, and cables.
Reusing these materials means less manufacturing required to create the components again. This also means less energy consumption and reduced cost.
For instance, cadmium is a rare mineral found in low concentrations in nature. When computer batteries are recycled, it allows refined cadmium to be recaptured.
Computers also contain iron, gold, lead, silicon, aluminum, tin, and plastic, among other materials that can be recycled or recaptured. Any metal removed for a recycled computer is a metal that won’t need to be mined.
Exposing Third-World Countries to Toxic Waste
Most developed countries like the U.S. often export electronic waste to developing ones, like India and Africa. Reports show that the United States ships 50 to 80 percent of e-waste abroad.
In Ghana, children scramble over piles of old computers, looking for copper wire to recycle. What they don’t know is that they are exposing themselves to toxic chemicals that will result in health complications.
By recycling old computer parts, developed countries will reduce the amount of electronic waste shipped to developing countries, hence preventing those kids from risks associated with heavy metals and toxic components.
Instead of throwing broken or old computers, people from developing countries or those with disadvantaged backgrounds could benefit from utilizing the old devices. There are hundreds of charitable organizations, schools, and orphanage homes that could use these old machines for basic learning.
By recycling these machines, you’re helping children somewhere who really need them.
Secure Data Disposal
In the UK, dumping your old IT equipment into the landfills without following strict Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) regulations is illegal and liable to attract hefty fines. Keep in mind, just because you deleted your data from your machine doesn’t mean everything has been wiped.
Anyone with expertise can retrieve it and use it against you. By recycling your old machines, you can be reassured that all your data will be wiped clean and no traces of your files can be found.
It’s a Requirement by Law
In the United States, it is illegal to burn or dump a computer in a landfill. More bills are being passed to enforce e-waste recycling, and refusing or failing to do so will attract fines and other injunctions.
So, if conscience is not reason enough to recycle your old computer parts, consider the law.
The more old and broken computers are available for recycling, the more places will be opened to handle such tasks. This creates jobs for locals in such areas. What’s more, once the machines are recycled and are unable to be reused, they get sent to local electronic recycling plants to be processed.
Consequently, the more these electronic waste items are collected, the more people will be required to work in the processing plants.
If you have old computers lying around in your home, consider recycling them. You’ll be saving the environment from potential pollution. Plus, wouldn’t it feel good to help someone else in the community who can’t afford a computer?