Do you have an old computer or two that have seen their last days? If you've considered throwing your old computers in the trash, think again. Computers are not only worth recycling, they also pack a few harmful components that if not recycled properly could end up leeching into the environment. So if you have a pile up of old computers and parts, take them to your local electronic recycling center.
Computer screens, monitors, circuit boards, and terminals contain lead.
Needless to say, the health hazards of lead are quite apparent, and if you're worried about lead paint, then you should be worried about the lead present within your old computer screen. Screens, monitors, and terminals are filled with glass tubes called cathode ray tubes, which could contain anywhere from two to five pounds of lead.
Computer circuit boards are also made from lead. This lead can then go on to seep into the surrounding environment if it's ever thrown into a landfill.
Laptop batteries can pose hazards, too.
Lithium is an alkali metal almost always found in computer batteries. The problem with lithium is that, as an alkali metal, it is a highly reactive element. This is the reason this metal is used in batteries; it's an excellent conductor of heat and electricity.
So what happens when these batteries are thrown into the landfill? Lithium's excellence in conducting heat and electricity can lead to combustion if it ends up sitting under the hot sun. If there are other lithium sources in the vicinity, they'll be more likely to be set off in a chain reaction from just one battery setting fire. This can then send noxious gases and contaminants into the air and surrounding environment.
If hazardous materials aren't enough to deter you, think about all the precious metals.
Computer and electronic parts almost always have a small amount of precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum within them. These precious metals aren't toxic to the environment like lead or lithium, but they do go to waste when simply thrown away. When you take your computer to an electronic recycling center, these facilities work to extract the hazardous materials, then go on to separate the precious metals from other parts.
Once this precious metal is extracted, it can be sold to precious metal companies who work to melt down the metals in a smelter to amass larger quantities.
So the next time you have a defunct or broken computer or laptop—or more than one—consider taking the time to bring it to a proper recycling facility, like Mid-States Recycling & Refining. You'll give the precious metal industry more material and keep the toxic metals out of the landfill.Share
6 August 2015
About 10 years ago, I moved into my current home. Without being environmentally conscious at the time, I didn’t give much thought to how I moved my belongings from my old place to my current abode. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to appreciate the environment much more. I realize that we only have a certain amount of resources and should do everything in our power to conserve them. Nowadays, you can plan a green move easier than ever before. Some moving companies offer reusable containers for you to pack your stuff in. The amount of green transportation options is constantly increasing. On this blog, you will learn how to get green on your next move.