Computers are an important part of our daily lives these days. We use them for sending e-mails and other office correspondence, and we also use them for surfing the Internet, or for watching our favorite movies and TV shows. We also use the PC for networking with friends or family.
However, what happens when the PC you have at home becomes obsolete? Will you be simply throwing these down the landfill? Let’s have a closer look at the benefits of recycling computers.
Obsolete Computers Are a Good Source of Raw Materials
Even if you’re home computer is already one useless piece of equipment after a few years, it won’t mean that it’s totally useless. An obsolete computer actually serves as a wonderful source of useful raw materials. However, if the old computer is not properly disposed or handled, it can be a source of harmful toxins and carcinogens, which pollute the environment and can cause death and injury to both man and animals.
Rapid advances in technology, coupled with low initial costs has resulted in an ever-increasing surplus of computers and computer parts worldwide. The Environmental Protection Agency of the US estimates that there are 30 to 40 million surplus PC’s in the US alone, and that 63 million PC’s were either traded for replacements, or simply throw away last year.
The Rise in The Numbers Of Surplus PC’s Is Posing A Serious Environment Threat
The EPA further adds that most of today’s electronic waste often ends up in landfills, or gets incinerated. The dumping of these waste in landfills, or their burning in incinerators, is already having a very negative impact on the environment. Because a computer has different components that are made from a wide array of raw materials, these release toxic ingredients like mercury, lead, cadmium, and other radioactive material into the groundwater, soil or air.
Many Computer Parts Can Be Recovered Through Recycling
Because of the toxic nature of most of the computer’s parts, the storage, handling,disposal and recycling of computers is a sensitive task. The good thing is that most of the materials used in making computers can actually be recycled. Materials such as aluminum, tin, silicone, iron, copper, gold and a wide array of plastics, can be reused or re-processed, which help in reducing the cost of manufacturing new computer units.
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 used to be 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 also offering some form of recycling to their clients. The user can request that his old computer be picked-up by the manufacturer, or the company can get them for recycling at specified drop-off points, where they also coupons to customers for use in purchasing future computers or parts.