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Guide to Responsible Computer Recycling and Disposal 

An Environmental Protection Agency report shows that over 142,000 computers find their way into landfills and incinerators every day. While some are recycled, they contribute significantly to the fastest growing segments in the solid waste stream. Unfortunately, the current rate of e-waste and computer recycling is not promising enough. Therefore, there’s an increasing need for a domestic and global solution for e-waste disposal and recycling.

What is Computer Recycling

Pile of Old ComputersComputer recycling is the reuse or reprocessing of laptops and computer desktops that have become obsolete or dysfunctional. Computer recycling aims to reduce landfills, promote human and environmental health, and conserve non-renewable resources. Computers and their parts contain silicon, cadmium, lead, hexavalent chromium, and mercury, which can be harmful to human health and the environment.

The Importance of Computer Recycling

When computers and other e-waste materials find their way into landfills, the toxic chemicals leach into the soil. They cause ground and water pollution, putting human, animal, and plant life at risk. Computer recycling prevents this from happening, as computers are put to better use.

Computer recycling also helps save energy. The devices contain valuable components that serve as raw materials for other products. Consequently, fewer raw materials are derived from nature in the creation of new devices. This goes a long way in reducing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

Reusing electronics is also beneficial to the less fortunate people in the community. By giving the computers a new life, you benefit people who would otherwise not afford the gadgets in their new form.

What is the Process of Computer Recycling?

Computer recycling follows a general but well-elaborated process. In the computer recycling facilities, the following happens:

  1. Collection

Recycling companies collect unwanted or obsolete computers from their owners or computer collection points. Each collection center operates differently depending on the collection policies in place. While some recyclers pay the owners of the computers, others charge for the disposal service. Most computer manufacturing recyclers trade in old computers in exchange for new ones at a small cost to reduce the environmental footprint.

  1. Sorting

All the computers brought to the computer recycling center are manually sorted by type. This is before they proceed into the more advanced stages of reuse and processing. All computers with cathode ray tubes (CRT) are processed in one line and the rest in another.

  1. Testing

The next stage involves testing the computers for potential reuse. If a machine is still in reasonably good working condition, the parts are upgraded and brought up to speed. After refurbishing, the computers are sold or given away as donations. The upgrading involves memory wipe and enhancive repairs to make the computers as good as new.

  1. Manual Disassembly

After checking for possible reuse, the computers are taken apart if the repair costs outweigh the benefits of reuse. The recyclers take the essential computer elements like sound and graphic cards, speakers, circuit board, hard disks, keyboards, circuit board, and DVD drives. Only highly qualified personnel are responsible for this process to ensure the quality of the components is maintained.

They can then sell the functional components to second-hand consumers or computer manufacturers for reuse. In some cases, the components may be dismantled further into plastics, circuit boards, ferrous and non-ferrous materials, and CRTs. CRTs are hazardous and should be handled in specialized facilities.

  1. Data Destruction

All the derived hard drives and processors are then crashed in a ten-ton process. This ensures all data is destroyed and can’t be retrieved. Next, the destroyed parts are prepared for use in the automotive industry as aluminum ingots.

  1. Separation into Material Composition

The pieces that remain after the useful and hazardous elements have been harvested are shredded by material composition. The metallic parts, plastic shells, pieces of wire, and circuit boards are separated and shredded. The debris goes through screening techniques to check for any valuable components. Any precious metals like silver, gold, iron, or copper are recovered from the debris through smelting.

  1. Reuse

Each material recovered from the computer recycling process finds its way to its respective secondary material recycler for further processing. They come in handy in the manufacture of new products. For example, steel manufacturers use the recovered metallic parts to make steel and other materials. The same happens for plastics and every other valuable component.

Responsible Computer Recycling Best Practices

Before recycling your computer, ensure you protect yourself by wiping off the components of your drive completely. Doing so will prevent identity theft and other cybersecurity crimes. As such, ensure you backup your data.

If you have important information you don’t want to lose, ensure you create a copy in an external storage device or cloud storage. Crucial information you shouldn’t forget to back up include:

  • Picture, music, movies, documents, and anything else entertaining
  • Browser data like bookmarks, logins, and passwords
  • Email for programs like Thunderbird or Outlook
  • Program data like bibliography tools, games, image editing software
  • Fonts if you have installed any additional ones
  • Serial numbers and registration keys as losing them could cost you money

You also should wipe out private data by overwriting or shredding the hard drive. Put all the other useful parts into good use instead of trashing them.

Final Thoughts

Computer recycling is an excellent approach to reducing land and water pollution caused by toxic e-waste. When you choose to recycle rather than throw away obsolete or computers you no longer need, you also help conserve energy. Repurposed computers are also beneficial to the community as they benefit the less fortunate population. If you need help with computer recycling, reach out to an electronic waste disposal company to do it for you.

Debris Removal: The Beginners’ Guide to Junk Disposal

Everyone has some junk lying around the home at one point or another. You very well know how cumbersome clutter can be especially when moving to a new house. At that point, junk disposal becomes inevitable. You can dispose of junk through donations, recycling, or disposing the items you no longer need.

Sometimes, the job becomes too big that you don’t know where to start. It can even get more complicated if you live in a jurisdiction with strict laws governing junk disposal procedures. That’s where this guide comes in handy to help you. Keep reading for insights on how to be practical in junk disposal for the best results.

What Is Junk disposal?

Piles of Garbage in White BagsJunk disposal is part of the decluttering process that focuses on disposing of junk the right way. In America, junk disposal is a growing segment of the cleaning industry, worth about $49 billion.  Several junk disposal companies exist, where they pick trash from your home and dispose of it in designated and environmentally safe areas.

The process plays an integral part in conserving the environment and extending the life of natural resources. Most junk hauling companies have a green initiative or environmental commitment that represents their recycling goals.

When done correctly, junk disposal benefits everyone that would rather focus on refreshed space. Whether at home or in the office, a decluttered area always positively impacts the quality of life and productivity.

Types of Junk, Waste, Debris

If you intend to get rid of junk without the involvement of a junk hauling company, there’s no denying that you’re likely to heap everything together. While this is the easiest thing to do, it’s not necessarily the safest or eco-friendliest. Therefore, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the various categories that junk falls into before setting out to dispose of it.

Household Trash and General Waste

This category comprises everything you’d put in your waste bin, including garbage, packaging materials, and broken toys. Under normal circumstances, this type of waste is handled by the waste hauler’s curbside collection service. However, it may call for additional services in hoarding situations, special events that generate a lot of trash, and foreclosure cleanups.

You may dispose of such waste by yourself depending on the proximity to the landfill. However, the services of a professional junk disposal company are essential when dealing with appliances that contain lead-acid batteries, Freon, paints, fluorescent bulbs, and other hazardous wastes like:

  • Car batteries
  • Liquids like motor oil and flammable liquids
  • Light bulbs
  • Medicines
  • Explosives
  • Recyclables
  • Tires
  • Asbestos
  • Mold
  • Lead paint
  • E-waste like phones, tablets, DVD players

Construction and Demolition Debris

Residential and commercial construction or demolition projects call for the services of a junk disposal company. In some cities in the U.S., junk from construction and demolition should be dropped at designated landfill facilities for separation and recycling.

Waste in this category includes:

  • Concrete is heavy and dense and should be disposed of in a roll-off dumpster
  • Roofing shingles which are usually recycled in most municipalities and should not be mixed with other debris
  • Wood/lumber that can be recycled if salvaged the right way
  • Carpeting
  • Wood or laminate flooring that is in most cases easy to salvage
  • Sidings such as cedar and vinyl siding is best disposed of in a dumpster
  • Kitchen or bathroom renovation including tubs, cabinets, sinks, toilets, floors, and countertops
  • Metals like steel, copper, and aluminum are best recycled

Yard Waste

Yard waste is organic and is best disposed of by composting. However, sometimes dumpsters and junk disposal companies can help with disposal at the proper facilities. Waste in this category includes bush trimmings, tree limbs, large logs, and grass clippings. In general, you shouldn’t mix it with general waste.

Ensure you check with your state laws as some jurisdictions have made it mandatory to have a yard waste compost. Disposing it at the municipal landfill may be against the law, so check with the authorities beforehand.

Appliances

Your home’s junk appliances are best handled by a junk disposal company, especially when renovating or demolishing your home. Examples of junk appliances are microwaves, kitchen stoves, dishwashers, dryers, washers, and refrigerators. You may also consider donating them to charitable organizations if they’re still in good working condition. Alternatively, you can sell them on specific online marketplaces like Craigslist.

Approaches to Junk disposal/ DIY or Hire

Where junk disposal is concerned, the age-old question is always whether to DIY or hire someone else to do it. If you choose to do it yourself, ensure you familiarize yourself with the appropriate disposal procedures and relevant information. Check the internet for easy topics like environment-friendly waste disposal, best junk disposal practices, recycling ideas, and DIY guides. Ensure you also practice the appropriate habits of handling trash and junk like recycling, composting, donating, or hauling.

Alternatively, you may want to invest in a professional service if the job is too much for you. If you face challenges in getting rid of waste, a professional service company will be the next best option. Most are available online, and you can check their services and charges before hiring them.

Final Thoughts

Junk disposal is an essential job for any home or property owner. Familiarizing with the various categories of junk is crucial before attempting any DIY junk disposal strategies. With the correct measures in place, it’s easy for anyone to improve their waste disposal regime. If the task is too much to handle on your own, hire the services of a professional junk disposal company near you.

Junk King Sonoma
1364 N. McDowell Blvd
Petaluma, CA 94954
Hours: M-Sa: 8A-5P

Providing junk removal services to the Sonoma area, including:

Annapolis
Cloverdale
Cotati
Fulton
Geyserville
Glen Ellen
Graton
Healdsburg
Kenwood
Penngrove
Petaluma
Rohnert Park
Santa Rosa
Sebastopol
Sonoma
Windsor
and these nearby zip codes:
94928, 94931, 94951, 94952, 94954, 95401, 95403, 95404, 95405, 95407, 95409, 95412, 95425, 95439, 95441, 95442, 95444, 95448, 95452, 95472, 95476, 95492