While desktop and laptop computers play a prominent role in today’s society, they have actually been around for much longer than you might imagine. The mouse intended for computer use was designed by Doug Engelbart back in 1963, and this led to the popularity of the Commodore and Apple II from the 1970s through the 1980s. These devices quickly evolved from being very large devices to being something that we can slide into our desk or backpack.
However, with the increased popularity, the technology has expanded as well, to the point where our computers are becoming outdated within a year of purchasing them. This has led to widespread concern as far as how to properly dispose of these items. According to the United States EPA, less than 20 percent of our computer devices are recycled throughout the country. Not only does this result in dangerous items being dumped into our landfills, but that is a valuable resource that could be recycled or re-used.
The reasons to recycle computers are endless, but let’s take a look at a few of the more prominent reasons for recycling e-waste.
- Resources: Recycling our old computers saves our valuable natural resources that are contained within these items. It can also reduce our reliance on surface mining by reusing existing products rather than tearing the environment up to find more.
- Hazardous Materials: Computer equipment can contain dangerous products such as lead, beryllium, mercury, cadmium and lithium. These substances finding their way into our landfills can poison our soil, seep into our water sources, and harm our environment.
- Pollution: Recycling reduces our demand on energy, as well as lessening pollution. United States mineral processing sends an estimated two million tons worth of pollution into our water and air every year.
- Privacy: This is common sense. Wiping out your hard drives and allowing a certified e-waste recycler to dispose of your system ensures that your privacy and personal information are not compromised.
- Community Cleanliness: Communities that do not utilize a recycling center often have many of their streets and alleyways littered with out-dated electronics. This is because many communities do not allow electronic products to be left at the curb for sanitary pickup.
- Landfill Lifespan: Think of where we would be without our landfills. Properly recycling electronics extends the lifespan of our landfills, and reduces their toxicity. The Environmental Protection Agency states that nearly 15 million computers are replaced each year, and approximately three-quarters of those are ending up dumped into landfills.
- Job Creation: Recycling e-waste creates environmental jobs. Waste reduction, recycling and reusing have a direct effect on an area’s economic well-being. For each job collecting recyclable products, there will be 26 other jobs associated with the processing of these materials and turning them into brand new products.
Disposing of these items in the garbage should never be an option. They need to be properly handled by a professional electronics recycling company to ensure that this e-waste is eliminated in an environmentally-friendly manner.