Businesses and households across America have seen an explosion of computers and other forms of electronics in their possession. E-waste, as it has come to be called, is a growing problem, and many folks are rightly worried about putting machines in the trash. A host of toxic metals reside inside computers, including cadmium, chromium, and even flame retardant materials. Likewise, a significant portion of a system can be recycled or repurposed. This article will take a look at some of the best ways to deal with this growing challenge.
Planning for Obsolescence
When you purchase new computers, it's wise to think about the life cycle of the machine. There are many small choices you can make early on that will dictate just how much e-waste comes out of a system.
For example, the color choices you make will impact recyclability. Black plastic cases, in particular, are notoriously expensive to recycle. Despite the best efforts of recyclers to address this problem, automating the scanning of black plastics remains difficult.
You should also think about the features that come with your machine. An all-in-one computer might seem convenient, but it also means that the entire housing will be pitched when the system is disposed of. Purchasing a system with a separate monitor will allow greater long-term reuse because the screen can be used with your next system.
The best way to avoid creating e-waste is to repurpose a machine. A desktop computer or a laptop can easily be reformatted for use as a casual web browsing system by Google's Chrome OS or a lightweight Linux distribution. It might not be the meanest and most modern Windows-based gaming machine anymore, but you may be pleasantly surprised by how speedy it is while browsing the web.
Another way to repurpose is to give machines to schools or public organizations. Your local community center would likely be happy to get a few more machines that can be installed in its computer lab.
Find a Computer Recycling Facility
Recycling centers aren't always well-equipped to deal with e-waste. It's best to recycle your systems and components by finding a facility that specifically traffics in computers and e-waste. Don't hesitate to ask companies how they dispose of materials and even what their policies are on unsold recyclables. You have a right to know that everything you recycle is being handled in the most efficient, ethical, and eco-friendly manner possible.
Contact a local computer recycling service for more information.