Despite how far technology has taken civilization, computers, and other electronic gadgets eventually turn into electronic waste (e-waste). When buying new equipment to promote sustainability, asking what computer parts you can recycle are essential. Recycling is increasingly important to reduce landfill buildup of toxic pollutants.
Importance of Recycling e-Waste
E-waste has been stacking up in landfills this century, but state and local governments are issuing increasingly stricter regulations on how to dispose of old electronic equipment. You may no longer throw e-waste in the trash collected by local services in many states. E-waste covers a broad range of electronic products such as new or old TVs, computers, monitors, and cell phones.
California's Cell Phone Recycling Act of 2004 requires cell phone retailers to take back used phones from consumers for recycling or proper disposal. The two main objectives of this law are to encourage the use of recyclable materials in electronic product manufacturing and to limit toxic substances within electronic products sold in the state. The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) defines an electronic device as comprising hazardous waste due to exhibiting toxicity and/or containing materials listed in the California Code of Regulations as hazardous waste.
Recycling to Reduce e-Waste in Landfills
Since e-waste contains heavy metals and chemicals that are harmful if unleashed in the environment, owners of electronic equipment must comply with the law to help protect public safety. Compliance will help limit people's exposure to toxins such as mercury, cadmium, and arsenic. Keeping these elements out of landfills is critical because they can seep back into the ground, then contaminate groundwater.
The best way to dispose of an old computer is to give or sell it to a recycler and receive a certificate of data destruction. It's important for security purposes to first wipe all the private data of computing devices before taking them to a recycler.
One of the many major benefits of recycling is that it reduces the need to extract resources from the environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recycling a million cell phones leads to the recovery of 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, and 75 pounds of gold.
What Types of e-Waste to Recycle
The path to investing in sustainable technology begins with the question: what computer parts can you recycle? Almost all electronic parts can be reused or recycled due to being made of metal or plastic.
Electronic equipment of all types and sizes is recyclable unless it contains hazardous materials. A computer case is usually 90 percent steel. Printer circuit boards in electronic gadgets contain silver, tin, gold, palladium, and copper. Everything from smartphones to appliances can be taken to a recycler.
Parts That Cannot Be Recycled
If an electronic part contains hazardous substances such as mercury or lead, it must be handled differently and cannot be safely recycled. According to the EPA, old TVs made before 1991 may contain mercury or lead, which requires special handling instead of recycling. Old electronic equipment containing hazardous waste will not be accepted by a recycler and will likely be disposed of through incinerators. These machines break down and destroy toxins. Otherwise, the materials are stored in a special landfill unit that prevents leakage into the air or ground.
Technological advancements have sped up the cycles of usage for electronic equipment, as trendy new gadgets replace the previous generation at a rapid pace. It has led to e-waste issues that are resolved through proper disposal and recycling. Contact us at West Coast Computer Recycler for more answers to the question: what computer parts can you recycle?