With the rapid speed with which technology needs upgrading it is estimated that the average computer user will dispose of 3.5 tonnes of computer and electronic equipment in their life time. This practice is not just bad for our bank accounts but also bad for the environment. To help combat this many countries have bought in laws that regulate the disposal of electronic equipment, if you want to help do your bit for the environment whilst ensuring you aren’t breaking the law you would be advised to think carefully next time you decide to get rid of your computer equipment.
The problem with modern PC and Apple Computers is that they contain great number of toxic materials; in fact your computer’s monitor alone is likely to contain around 5lb of Lead if released into the environment can cause serious health problems for all those around. These materials are harmless whilst they are sealed in your computer but if you dispose of it in the way you would your regular refuse as the computer is broken down these toxic materials are introduced into the environment.
Most countries have introduced strict laws governing how electronic items must be disposed of to try and reduce this kind of pollution. Regardless of weather these laws apply to your country or not everyone has an ethical responsibility to avoid improper disposal of toxic materials.
The cleanest way to get rid of your electrical items is to find a new home for them, the vast majority of computers being thrown away still function perfectly fine it’s just that there owners have decided they need a more modern machine to meet there needs. If this is the situation you find yourself in there may be other people around you who could use your computer. Look for friends and family or even charities who may be interested in finding homes for out dated computers; to some people a computer is still about word processing and spread sheets to these people your computer could be of real use.
Even if your computer has stopped working it’s still likely that there are people out there who could find it useful, computers are made up of many components and the chances are a lot of them will still be working, there are people out there who build computers out of spare parts from other machines. Ask around and look online to see if you can find anyone in your local area that could benefit from your computers parts.
Sometimes you really will have to dispose of your machine, if it does come to this make sure you do it in the most environmental way possible. Many local councils will have sites where you can take computers or sometimes even collection services. Computers at these sites are broken down properly with all the hazards components treated with the care needed.
If you’re not lucky enough to live in an area that offers this services for free, ask around in shops that sell new computers and electronics, these shops often have their own disposal service or can point you in the direction of one, it’s not always free but paying a small fee is better than breaking the law and damaging the environment.
It will always be easier to just throw your computer out with the rest of your house hold waste but doing this leaves lasting damage on the environment around you, this is one of those times in life when the easy option is definitely not the best one.