on 13 November 18
There is pressure on individuals and organisations to regularly upgrade their IT equipment. When this happens, there is an issue of disposing of old equipment. Instead of just throwing computers away in a rubbish bin or skip, a computer recycling company should be used.
Why you should not throw computers away
Computers and other IT equipment contain toxic substances and can be hazardous. Computers can contain dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), cadmium, chromium, and mercury which are all toxic. Furthermore, a desktop PC can contain up to 2kg of lead. On no account should they be disposed of along with other household or commercial waste.
A law was introduced in 2007 that covers waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) which stipulates that businesses must dispose of computers separately from other waste. If you give your computers to a waste management company, they must provide a certificate to confirm that the computers have been disposed of in an environmentally safe way. However, it is better to send them to a computer recycling company.
Although some metals and other materials used in computers can be stripped and sold as scrap, it is better that the computer is recycled rather than for it to end up in a landfill.
The WEEE legislation is designed to protect the environment by preventing computers from ending up in landfills or being illegally dumped.
Old computer equipment contains your data on hard drives. Even if a computer fails due to a faulty hard drive, the data on it can still be recovered, meaning if you dispose of your computer incorrectly, then your data is liable to being stolen by cybercriminals. Therefore, it is important that part of the computer recycling process should include the secure erasure of hard drives.
Alternately, the hard drive can be removed and destroyed with a heavy hammer so that no data can be recovered.
The recycled computer market
Some computers are fully working, but have been replaced by better specification computers. Computer recycling companies delete all company data, then after checking and testing the computers, sell them as used computers to people who do not need the latest models.
If the computer is not working, the computer recycling company will be able to repair it using new parts and sell them as refurbished models.
Many organisations and individuals cannot afford brand new computers, so are happy to buy recycled ones.
Charities and non-profit organisations often want cheap second hand computers. People and organisations in less developed countries may not be able to afford new computers, so are ideal customers for used ones. Computers regarded by some as outdated, have not outlived their usefulness.
Many companies dispose of computers that are only a few years old. Companies with even older computer systems still use operating systems such as Windows XP or Vista will be glad to buy Windows 7 computers at discount prices.
A computer recycling company may also be able to recycle printers, scanners and other IT equipment.
If your company is considering upgrading its computer systems, make sure that you have plans to send your old computers to a computer recycling centre that can make sure they are recycled in a responsible manner.