According to the EPA, electronic waste accounts for 70% of landfill toxins, though they only account for approximately 1% in overall volume. Why is this? Simply put, electronics – a label that includes everything from computers to even certain appliances – are comprised of complex concoctions of chemicals like cadmium, lead, mercury and a variety of flame-retardants. Thus, the primary reason to recycle electronics such as an old computer is apparent: to stop toxic waste from inhabiting landfills.
Recycling is the environmentally-friendly option that decreases pollutants and prevents excess chemicals from becoming detriments to air and water sources. In fact, in many countries it is illegal to dispose of electronic items and components – such as those found in computers – anywhere but proper recycling depots. Fortunately, nearly 100% of computer components brought in for recycling are able to be re-manufactured and used, completely saving these items from adding additional waste to landfills. In the US, all components are kept stateside and reused as locally as possible. Materials broken down to their most basic of levels, namely iron, plastic and glass, are ultimately sent to the proper refineries and then ultimately repurchased for redistribution in their desired industries.
Recycling old electronics, such as computers, is an important decision that ultimately benefits the environment, and thus, yourself. By making the decision to put a little effort into reuse by turning old items into depots or collection centers, you simultaneously make the decision to reduce waste, reduce energy consumption and contribute to the betterment of the environment. Thus, the next time you’re ready to toss that old computer out, wipe out all of your personal information and head over to the nearest recycling drop off for a small but lasting contribution to the protection of the environment.