PC Recycling 101: How to Dispose of Computer Components the Right Way

It used to be the case that motor vehicles were the worst culprit for rapidly becoming obsolete. But these days, that new car feeling seems to last a lifetime compared to the life cycle of computers and other electronic equipment. The computer you bought last month may have been the latest and greatest, but there is every chance that it won’t perform the way you need it to in a few years or less. As computer prices continue to decrease the urge to buy a new computer will be high, leaving you wondering what to do with your old equipment. It’s no wonder so many people are left pondering how to dispose of computer components in a practical, cost-effective, yet environmentally friendly way.

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Why Computer Components Must Be Disposed of Thoughtfully

It is a sad fact that many people are completely unaware of the dangerous toxins found in computers and other electronic equipment. Without even thinking of how to dispose of computer components, many people simply add their unwanted electronic equipment to their household trash without a second thought.

This inevitably means that computer components quickly find their way to landfill. Perhaps if everyone knew just how many toxic substances were found in computers and their accessories, people wouldn’t be so quick to add to the growing landfill problem.

In fact, computers and accessories including circuit boards, hard drives, printers, and monitors contain so many toxic substances that they qualify as hazardous waste. To divert this hazardous waste from American landfill, some less than scrupulous “recycling” programs claim to export unwanted computers to developing countries, usually under the pretext of providing underprivileged people with computer supplies.

In reality, when exporting to developing countries is used to solve the problem of how to dispose of computer components, all that is happening is that the hazardous technological waste is being moved to landfill in developing nations rather than here in the United States. The problem of international electronics dumping has become so dire that the United Nations has become involved, particularly after becoming aware that, for example, China’s Guiya region has become so polluted with toxic electronic waste that safe drinking water cannot be found in a 30-km radius.

In short, dumping toxic computer components in landfill – whether here in the United States or overseas – is not a sustainable solution to the problem of how to dispose of computer consoles and accessories.

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Take Advantage of Manufacturer Take-Back Programs

Various electronics manufacturers have come on board to attempt to alleviate the problem of computer disposal. To mitigate some of the environmental damage caused by their products, some computer retailers and manufacturers will take back unwanted branded electronics and computer components, provided certain criteria are met.

For example, Apple will provide prepaid shipping labels to take back unwanted Apple products for recycling or refurbishing, and – in limited circumstances – will issue a gift card if they determine that the item is in suitably good condition. By way of another example, Dell offers to recycle obsolete branded equipment, with the components then recycled to form new consumer products.

The disadvantage of manufacturer takeback programs as a means to solving the problem of how to dispose of computer components in an environmentally friendly way is that manufacturers impose stringent conditions that must be met before products will be accepted for return. Even if your obsolete Apple TV can be returned to Apple, how to dispose of computer components manufactured by a company that does not participate in a take-back program will remain an issue that must be solved.

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Trust the Professionals to Know How to Dispose of Computer Components the Right Way

This may all seem like bad news, but the good news is that you don’t actually need to know the ins and outs of how to dispose of computer components. All you need to do is choose recycling professionals who know how to dispose of computer devices, accessories, and all manner of electronic assets.

At All Green Recycling, we know everything there is to know about dealing with unwanted IT equipment. And since we operate more trucks than any other recycling or secure data destruction company in North America, having your unwanted computers and electronics picked up is a no-brainer.

When you book a pickup with Al Green Recycling, we dispatch recycling experts to your door – trained professionals who know how to dispose of computer components better than anyone else. We will package, collect, and remove your unwanted equipment, while giving you access to our unrivaled logistics system so you can track the movements of your IT assets in real time.

At All Green Recycling, we guarantee the complete destruction of any confidential data that has ever been stored on your computer or other devices, while always maintaining strict compliance with industry regulations and laws relating to data safety.

Find out more about our industry-standard certified electronics disposal and recycling services, or go ahead and book a pickup today.

References

How to recycle your old computer

Sustainable Management of Electronics

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