Most business processes have now moved online as more people aim for convenience and companies seek to minimize the number of workers in their physical locations. This means that almost everyone nowadays owns a computer. Though smartphones and other gadgets can handle most of the activities undertaken on a computer, the latter is easier to use and cheaper than the former.
Like almost all appliances, even the best manufactured and cared for computers often break down beyond repair or no longer suit users’ needs. Most people choose to leave the computers rotting away on their premises or simply throw them in the trash rather than follow the proper computer disposal protocol to recycle the gadgets. A 2020 study estimated that recycling a million computers can save enough energy to power 3500 homes in the U.S for up to a year.
With such promising statistics, it is prudent to play a role in computer recycling by getting the right waste removal company to take your computer. Below are a few guidelines on the computer recycling process to give you an insight into the critical role you will play.
What Is E-Waste Recycling?
When looking for information on computer recycling, you will often come across e-waste recycling. E-waste (electronic waste/scrap) encompasses all trash generated from surplus, obsolete, and broken-down electronic devices. This includes home appliances like cookers, televisions, air conditioners, as well as information tech equipment like laptops, computers, monitors, mobile phones, batteries, and hard disks.
Issues Associated With Indiscriminate Disposal of E-Waste
When you throw away broken-down electronics in the trash, it often ends up in landfills where it releases toxic and hazardous substances. These usually contaminate groundwater and soil. They eventually end up in the water humans drink and the foods they eat. Some of the adverse effects of exposure to the harmful materials in e-waste for kids include stillbirths, poor birth outcomes, premature births, impaired thyroid function, and increased risk of chronic diseases.
Producing one computer takes not less than 1.5 tons of water, 530 pounds of fossil fuels, and 48 pounds of chemicals. When a computer is recycled, these precious materials are not entirely lost but reused in manufacturing new gadgets, thus minimizing the impact of manufacturing electronics on the earth.
Steps of Recycling Computers
Below are the usual steps involved in the computer recycling process:
When you have an outdated or broken-down computer, the first step in recycling it is calling a junk removal company that handles e-waste to pick it and drop it at the nearest computer disposal plant. Some centers will pay computer owners a small fee as an incentive for increasing recycling and the sale of new computers. Nonetheless, most will charge computer owners for the disposal of their gadgets.
The recycling center will manually sort the computers by type before they move them into reuse or processing. After sorting, the computers will be tested for the possibility of reuse. The ones in reasonably good condition can be repaired or refurbished then sold or donated.
- Manual disassembly
The computers that cannot be reused or repaired are manually disassembled into sound cards, circuit boards, DVD drives, keyboards, hard drives, and speakers. CRTs (cathode ray tubes) are carefully handled to prevent exposure or spilling of dangerous materials like cadmium, barium, phosphorus, lead, and barium. Dangerous parts like rechargeable batteries are often sent to secondary recyclers with suitable machines for battery production and recycling. Highly skilled workers to maintain the integrity of parts handle the manual disassembly. Some parts are re-sold, while others move to the next step of recycling.
- Data destruction
The hard drives and processors from recycled computers will be crashed and shredded into a million pieces. This ensures that all the data stored in them is fully destroyed. The processor and hard drives are made into aluminum ingots used in the automotive sector.
- Separation into material composition
After harvesting a computer’s valuable components, the other pieces are shredded by material composition. This means separating them into plastics, metals, wires, and other components. The resulting debris will be passed through different screening techniques that remove all valuable parts. Smelting recovers metals like silver, copper, iron, and gold from the debris.
The different recovered materials are ferried to their respective material recyclers for further processing. For instance, metals can be sent to metal recyclers to manufacture new steel and metallic materials. However, CRT glass undergoes further recycling to remove lead and harmful materials from it before selling it to CRT recyclers.
Parts of E-Waste That Can Be Recycled
Not all parts of your computers and other electronic waste are recyclable. Here is a guide on the parts that are recycled and what they are made into:
- Plastic that is used to make vineyard stakes, fencing posts, trays, equipment holders, insulators, and sleepers, among other items.
- Metal used to manufacture new metallic products.
- CRT glass is used to make new screens for computers, tablets, phones, TVs, and other gadgets.
- Mercury is used in dental amalgams, fluorescent lights, and metric instruments after undergoing specialized techniques to make it safe.
- Cadmium, nickel, steel, and cobalt from scrap batteries are used to manufacture new batteries or fabricate steel.
With most of your questions on recycling computers answered, you need a company that believes in recycling as much as you do to pick your computer for its recycling. Your answer is Junk King Sonoma that serves Sonoma and the surrounding areas in California. The company recycles about 60% of the waste it receives; statistics that place it among the most eco-conscious waste removal companies worldwide.
It might seem like having a waste removal company pick your computer and other e-waste to take to a recycling center is overkill because most of these devices are portable. Nonetheless, the waste needs to be carefully handled to avoid exposure to hazardous materials and salvage any components that can be reused. Get in touch with Junk King Sonoma today to start the recycling of your e-waste.