Recycling Your Computer

A well-known trend exists in the electronic components industry: every two years double the number of transistors can be inexpensively installed on an integrated circuit board. Gordon E. Moore, the co-founder of Intel, described the phenomenon in 1965, known today as Moore’s law. So far an accurate projection of advancements in computing, the drastic curve implied by Moore’s law also means that older computers are rendered obsolete as steadily as newer ones are released by manufacturer and introduced into the market.

What does one do with an old computer? Unbearably slow and devoid of modern features, in many cases it could be difficult to give away a creaking dinosaur. Garages, cluttered storage closets, basements and attics seem to be the main receptacles for the clutter and consequently forgotten. According to a government program, nearly 75% of expired electronics are in storage. Do not toss that dusty old desktop in the nearest dumpster though! The internal components and circuit boards contain myriad materials that are not biodegradable and need to be processed and recycled for proper disposal. Once properly separated, some of the materials from a computer put to rest can re used to build machines packed with more transistors than ever before. Additionally, old computers can be donated! There might even be a computer-deprived soul out there who would like nothing better than your ancient workhorse.

A number of programs found locally across the United States offer recycling services free of charge to individuals who would like nothing better than to dispose of an expired machine, in the most environmentally friendly fashion. The Environmental Protection agency lists the foremost programs on their website: EcoSquid, Earth911, My Green Electronics, Techsoup and the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation among them. Visit their websites and explore the options presented – in most cases they make the process quite simple and even pay for some expired products like cell phones.
Most manufacturers allow for people to send their tired electronics back free of charge and will recycle them in the proper fashion. Best Buy accepts up to two items per day per household for their recycling program at every store location – a pretty impressive effort toward a green computing industry. Office Depot charges those faced with cluttered computer parts for Tech Recycling Boxes that cost between $5 and $15 depending on the size. Pack these boxes tightly with as many obsolete computers as you can; some may be dismayed that Office Depot charges the environmentally-conscious, but it truly makes a significant difference at the end of the day.

If you reside in the state of California, a government program known as eRecycle.com exists to assist residents with the donation and proper disposal tactics for electronics. St. Louis has also joined the revolution with e-cycle St. Louis, encouraging green disposal tactics and recycling. Unfortunately, the United States government does not offer many more services directly to consumers and electronics owners.

Cluttered computer components can choke the storage space of any individual, but they must be disposed of responsibly. It may seem as though recycling and donation programs are a hassle and truly more effort than they are worth, but that old workhorse served you through thick and thin – wouldn’t the most suitable solution be to set it to rest in the proper fashion?