Computers contain toxic chemicals that can be harmful to the environment
Many electronic products have toxic chemicals that are potentially harmful to the environment and nearby organisms. This is particularly true of computers, which contain many metals that can be hazardous to people and animals (electronics contain cadmium, copper, lead, arsenic, and mercury). Discarded electronics also contain precious metals like gold and platinum.
These metals have value, and it is possible to extract them from old electronics; however, most e-waste recyclers don’t do this because of concerns over health and environmental impact.
Computers are incredibly difficult to recycle well
Discarded computers do not simply decompose into pure materials again! The extraction of valuable materials out of discarded material can be tricky due to the resistance of the metals and other components in computer systems. Plastic parts must also be broken down in a way that doesn’t release dangerous chemicals. This process requires machines and expertise that few recycling programs have access to. When done poorly, electronic waste ends up in landfills where toxic chemicals may leach out onto nearby land or enter groundwater supplies. Poorly done recycling can also release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere.
Improper disposal of electronic waste hurts communities
Electronic waste can create a burden on local communities in many ways- especially if recycling is poorly managed. Unprotected workers may be exposed to lead, cadmium, and other toxic metals. Poorly done e-waste recycling has contaminated nearby land and water supplies, hurting farmers who rely on them for crops and putting villagers’ lives at risk. Finally, unsafe dumping of e-waste prevents the use of valuable materials that could be used again by recyclers or sold to support disadvantaged people around the world.
Recycling computers saves money and energy
Each year, the United States spends millions of dollars to extract precious materials that have been lost through discarded electronics. Through recycling computers, this valuable material is conserved and available for reuse by industries around the world. Recycling also reduces the demand for virgin resources that are often processed using harmful chemicals like sulfuric acid or chlorine bleach.
When the glass or plastics in electronics are recycled, less energy is needed to create new materials which means that solid waste ends up using less of a natural resource. This reduces pollution and preserves natural resources around the world.
Recycling computers prevents the release of greenhouse gases
The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that discarded electronics are one of the top contributors to air pollution in many locations. This is due to the presence of many dangerous metals like lead, cadmium, and mercury in computer systems. When these metals break down into fine particles, they become airborne where they can be inhaled or ingested by unsuspecting individuals nearby (especially children). The EPA suggests recycling as a way to reduce this pollution and preserve natural resources around the world for future generations.
Computers are widely reused by charitable organizations and developing countries
There are several non-profit groups dedicated to recovering valuable materials from discarded computers and distributing them among people in need throughout the world. Dell has even begun a program where they will take broken computers that have been donated by the public and reuse them in developing countries.
There are many benefits to recycling your old electronics, both for the environment and for you. Not only does it make sense financially but also environmentally. This not only helps those less fortunate than us around the world but reduces our own consumption of natural resources by conserving what we have already extracted once before!