Published on February 7, 2017
slide 1: Computer Recycling and How to Recycle Your Computer Computers can be a great asset while they are working but once they are broken they can be difficult to dispose of. Computers are filled with toxic chemicals carcinogens and heavy metals to make them work. However if they are disposed of improperly it can lead to problems. The recycling of computers is not a new trend but it can be a bit difficult to do responsibly. For many years developed countries have sent tons of electronic waste to China for cheap labour-intensive recycling and disposal. Since 2000 importing electronic waste to China for improper recycling and dumping has been illegal. However that has not stopped it from coming into the country. For more information visit http://www.xtremeworx.com.au/data-destruction-and-eradication.php How to Get Clean Recycling The best way to obtain clean recycling of electronic goods is to ask questions. Any reputable recycler should be able to inform you as to where electronic components are sent and if the company exports these recyclables or uses prison labour. The recycler should also be able to inform you as to how they handle data destruction. If you are donating a computer it is important to have the hard drive wiped clean for you so that any personal information that may be contained on it cannot be shared. If you have chosen to donate your old equipment to an organization that can reuse it be sure to ask if the equipment is tested and if they only ship working equipment. You can also ask which organizations receive the old equipment. If they are unable to answer these questions it is best to find another place to donate to. Another great option is to check and see if your computer manufacturer has a recycling program. Although these companies often charge fees and require you to pay and do the packing and shipping it is still a very safe option. The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition is a great guide for responsible recycling of electronic goods. They currently publish a report card on the environmental effectiveness of manufacturer take-back programs. eBay hosts The Rethink Program which has an excellent recycling FAQ section along with many links to recyclers. Some other great sources for e-cycling information are from Comp Mentor’s Tech Soup Site and the EPAs recycling website. However it is important to keep in mind that the recyclers that are listed have not been checked out or approved by these organizations in any way. The Basel Action Network houses a list of electronics recyclers that have all signed their stewardship pledge. Under this pledge recyclers agree to not export electronic waste add it to landfills use prison labour and to document where equipment is sent. If your electronics still work then try to find a way to reuse them. You can give it away to someone in need of that item. There are also companies like Retro Box and Free Geek that rebuild computers using salvaged parts. Free Geek also has a list of similar organizations that can be a great place to start your electronic recycling or the reuse of your machine.