E-waste is growing at an astonishing rate, mainly due to the introduction of new technologies. This is concerning as the waste items frequently contain an amount of toxic components. Computers, mobile phones and other electronic devices can contain toxic heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. The plastic casing and wiring of computer equipment can also contain hazardous materials, such as brominated flame retardants (a neuro-toxin!). If this waste is not-recycled and sent to a landfill there is a risk that hazardous substances will pollute our environment by leaching from landfills into surrounding land and waterways. (Read article here.)
Computer equipment encompasses monitors, printers, hard drives and circuit boards.
These items contain significant amounts of recyclable materials which will remain hazardous in landfills for years if not recycled: glass monitor, keyboard, plastic or aluminum casing, cables, CD-ROM drive, ray tube, power cord, circuit board, batteries and printer cartridges.
There is approximately only 2% of a computer that cannot be recycled. This portion is separated at the time that the computer enters the recycling facility and is disposed of properly.
Read about e-waste to understand why it should be recycled.
Reduce e-waste by taking your obsolete computer equipment to a reputable recycler.
Computers can be expensive items to purchase. Where practical choose a good quality and energy-efficient model. Consider how easily it can be upgraded (for future hardware updates). Alternatively you could purchase a pre-loved computer or lease the equipment.
Before buying a new computer, check out whether your old computer can be upgraded. Generally upgrading components and/or software is a cheaper option than buying new equipment.
Rather than replacing a broken computer, see if it can be repaired. Check out Computer Services agents listed in the Yellow Pages.
Find a new home for your pre-loved computer equipment with family or friends.
Donate to a charitable organisation.
See e-waste for a list of places to take computers, peripherals etc for recycling/reuse.
Computers and accessories do not biodegrade in landfill.