Get Rid of E-Waste by Reusing, Donating, Or Recycling Computers
Have you ever been to the basement of your office building and seen hundreds of obsolete or broken computers sitting in the hallway? What do you do with those CRT monitors you have at home after you replace them with flat screens? What do you do with all of that e-waste? Previously, many people would just toss the computer or monitor in the trash. Thankfully, recycling computers is now easy even for the home user.
Computer technology changes faster than we can keep up. That coupled with the lower cost of computers means that we are replacing obsolete machines at an alarming rate. Why is it important to recycle? If not disposed of properly, computers can turn into toxins or carcinogens when left to rot in a dump. This causes materials such as lead and mercury, to seep into the soil and invade the water table.
Computers contain many resources that can be removed during the recycling process and eventually reused. These elements include tin, silicon, and plastic. Some reclaimed minerals, such as copper and gold, are too valuable to be left in a landfill.
For consumers, recycling e-waste is becoming more and more convenient. One popular method is donation. You can give your computer to a charity. Some common organizations that use the donated computers include libraries, foster homes, animal shelters, or community centers. This helps a cause, and will help you get a bit of a tax break at the end of the year.
Before purchasing a computer, consumers should research to see if the manufacturer offers some type of recycling or take back program. Most of the major manufacturers do offer some sort of program. They will typically require consumers to mail in their obsolete equipment or arrange for a pickup from the company. Some programs are free, while others will charge you a nominal fee if the machine is not their brand.
Companies may also exchange your old computer for a new one. If the computer is still in good working condition, the manufacturer will refurbish the old machine and offer it for sale at a discounted rate. These typically come with some sort of warranty for the new owner. This program is helpful to those that may otherwise not be able to afford a computer.
Businesses, unfortunately, do not have as easy of a time with getting rid of their bulk e-waste. Most manufacturers have corporate recycling programs but will not take back bulk computers that are not theirs. This typically leads business to contact third-party e-waste recycling companies to handle their bulk waste. Corporations must be careful, however. Even if they contract out their e-waste recycling, they are still held responsible if the computers are not disposed of properly.
People may view e-waste recycling and disposal as unnecessary. However, when you think of the number of toxins we are adding to our environment everyday, recycling is vital. By doing a little research and maybe making a trip to a store or post office, you can do your part to help our environment.