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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: The Top Benefits of Recycling Your Computer

If you’re like most Americans, you probably have at least one or two old, broken, or unused electronic devices laying around the house.

If they’re obsolete or unusable, they’re not likely to sell. Most people end up getting rid of their old computers by sending them to the landfill. But did you know that electronics can actually be recycled?

Yes, it’s easier to dump your Windows ’95 behemoth into the garbage bin than it is to haul it to a computer recycling center. Even so, recycling your device is worth the extra effort. Read on to learn some of the top benefits of computer recycling.

Preserve Natural Resources

Looking at one from the outside, it’s easy to forget how many valuable non-renewable resources make up an average computer.

The plastic case is made from petroleum. The circuitry is made from iron, gold, platinum, copper, and palladium. And the mining of all these products uses massive amounts of energy while releasing greenhouse gases and other forms of pollution into the environment.

Recycling your computer allows those precious metals and petroleum products to be melted down and re-used in new devices. This decreases the need to mine raw materials and cuts down on pollution.

Conserve Energy

Manufacturing a new computer uses up a massive amount of energy. Energy is used to mine the materials, to transport them to factories, to make and assemble the parts, and to ship them out to consumers worldwide.

When you recycle your old electronics, you help to reduce that energy burden. The EPA estimates that for every 1 million laptops recycled, enough electricity is saved to power 3,657 U.S. homes for an entire year. That’s a whole small town’s worth of electricity!

Keep Trash Out of Landfills

Thanks to electronics companies releasing new models what seems like every other week, we Americans collect and throw out incredible numbers of devices. And all that waste isn’t without its consequences.

Broken and discarded computers in landfills release a number of dangerous chemicals into the air and water supply as they break down. The World Health Organization warns that e-waste can contribute to the release of compounds including:

  • Lead
  • Cadmium
  • Chromium
  • Brominated flame retardants
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

Children are especially susceptible to health problems caused by a buildup of these toxic chemicals in the environment. By recycling your computer, you’re helping to reduce landfill waste and investing in the health of future generations at the same time.

Support Your Community

Schools, career centers, and non-profit organizations are always in need of computers to support their missions. Unfortunately, the high cost of new electronics means they often have to go without.

If you’re recycling a usable computer because you upgraded to a newer model, consider dropping it off at a computer recycling center that also does refurbishing. Refurbished computers may not look as fancy on the outside, but they work just as well as new ones—at a much lower cost.

By recycling your laptop or desktop, you’re not only caring for the environment; you’re also giving back to your community in a meaningful way.

Improve Our Foreign Impact

Did you know that the United States is the only developed nation in the world that still exports its electronic waste to foreign countries like China and Ghana? The US hasn’t yet ratified its signature on the Basel Convention for hazardous waste. It also doesn’t have any federal guidelines for e-waste disposal, meaning that many manufacturers would rather ship toxic electronic scraps off to another country than dispose of them correctly.

These countries process the scrap for valuable metals like gold and copper. Unfortunately, they often don’t have access to safe recycling methods and resort to methods like burning off plastic coatings. Disassembling electronic components by hand without proper tools also bears a high risk of injury.

Disposing of your computer at a dedicated recycling center ensures that it won’t end up harming the health and environment of people around the world. It may not seem like much, but every computer that’s recycled properly helps to decrease our negative global impact.

Create Jobs

Electronic recycling has a positive financial impact, too! Computer recycling centers and refurbishing businesses create valuable jobs that can boost your local economy.

Jobs at e-recycling centers and repair businesses are great for tech lovers and people who want to work with their hands. There are also often positions available that don’t require a college degree.

In order to create work, you have to create demand. So make sure you get the word out about the value of computer recycling! The more people choose to recycle their computers over throwing them out, the more sustainable jobs will pop up.

What Happens During Computer Recycling?

A computer that’s been dropped off for recycling has a long journey ahead of it. If it’s relatively new and in good condition, it might be refurbished. This process involves updating software and repairing any broken hardware so the device can be re-sold.

If your computer is obsolete or beyond repair, it gets sent off to a certified electronics recycling center. There, all the parts are broken down and sorted by material type. Glass, aluminum, copper, gold, and other products can all be melted down and re-made into new items.

How to Recycle Your Laptop or Desktop Computer

Computer recycling benefits you, your community, and the world around you. So the next time you find yourself needing to dispose of a laptop, desktop, or monitor, think twice before you toss it in the trash.

If you live in Tuscon and you’re already searching the web for “computer recycling near me,” make sure you check out Computer Revival! We can help you decide whether to repair or recycle your old computer and select a new one if it’s time to upgrade.  Contact us today to find out more.