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Disposing Harmful Elements Safely By Recycling Computers

Saman Rashid

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75% of obsolete computers are just lying around

A study conducted by National Safety Council has found that almost 75% of the computers purchased by corporations, companies and individuals are lying obsolete in some attic, garage or store room. They are disposed of and are not being recycled. Many people aren't aware of the hazards of disposal in land fills.

Many people don't recycle or give away obsolete computers to since the resale value isn't great for outdate, obsolete computers. However, if one isn't looking to sell their computers or trade them for upgraded versions, then they should recycle them or donate them and to charitable organizations.

Computers do contain hazardous elements

Computers and other electronic equipment contain many hazardous elements such as mercury and lead. Other materials including plastic and glass can also be recycled. There are many recyclers who can recover the elements properly. By recycling the materials, toxic elements don't enter the environment and natural resources such as water are free from toxic pollutants.

CRT monitors contain enough lead to poison the environment. Lead enters water resources, can cause significant damage to human tissues and is known to be a carcinogenic agent. Flat panel monitors often contain mercury. Mercury can cause several problems and can even lead to stunted growth if children are exposed to it on a daily basis.

Many computer parts such as printed circuit boards contain lead, mercury and cadmium. Lead batteries are rechargeable, but they can be extremely hazardous to the environment if left in a land fill without proper disposal techniques.

Plastics used in desktop and notebook computers contain many dangerous flame retardants that are harmful to the environment. When released into the environment, they can be quite toxic as well. In many countries, especially in the third world, improper disposal is the rule rather than the exception and hazardous elements are frequently released into the environment.

Once any precious elements have been recovered, the remaining parts are often burnt and the toxins are released into the environment as smoke. This is harmful for the human population as well as the environment.

Recycling is done in a systematic manner

Recycling of computer parts is done in a systematic manner by recyclers. After the extrusion of elements such as tin, aluminum, zinc and copper, precious elements such as gold and silver are also taken out of the computer parts. The remaining computer and electronic components are then shredded into small parts and discarded safely.

Individual components such as glass from cathode ray tubes are sold to foundries to be used as fluxing agents. The gases generated during this process are suitably trapped and contained. They are then treated before they are released into the atmosphere. These are some of the methods that are used recycling computer parts.

Many manufacturers of computer parts also offer programs to buy back obsolete computers for recycling.

Saman Rashid is an experienced writer. She has been writing articles and web copies since 3 years. To contact her, kindy visit


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