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Plan to discard an old computer? Read first! September 12, 2008

Filed under: Computer Hardware — angie79 @ 7:34 pm
Tags: ,
Picture this, an eighty pound elderly lady standing in the middle of piles of wires, circuit boards, broken glass and medal. She’s diligently stripping whatever is left of the pieces of electronics in front her. By her side is a young man catching medal on fire. Puffs of black smoke ascend into the air all around them. This is what it looks like if our computers aren’t discarded properly.
I assumed that I was in the know when it came to living a “greener” life but I didn’t have any idea about this. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever thought twice about it. I trusted that the major companies who produce the many electronics available to us today had it all figured out. When we irresponsibly discard of electronics we are allowing lead, arsenic, mercury and even flame retardant chemicals potentially permeate our land, air and eventually water supplies.  
The reason our so called “e-waste” is shipped out to China, India Ghana and others is all about money. These countries don’t have strict occupational laws and the labor is much cheaper. The workers expose themselves to the carcinogenic smoke from burning the wires and other hazardous chemicals on a daily basis. In developed countries, there are laws to protect workers from this kind of exposure. So, we ship it out to the countries that can’t afford to say no.
Some companies will give discounts on new equipment when you recycle. It is suggested to also look for recycling centers that have signed the pledge to not send waste to developing countries like China or to discard in municipal landfills. It forces manufactures and recyclers to take a different approach to recycling and thinking ahead. If we turn in these electronics to a proper facility or donate if the device can still be used we are one step closer to a greener life.


2 Responses to “Plan to discard an old computer? Read first!”

  1. young42 Says:

    I have never thought of what happens to old computers, I have always donated mine to the schools, but I haven’t even done that in 5 years. I have one I am ready to get rid of that is 7 years old, I am sure the school won’t want it because of its age.

    I will have to do some research on who may want an old computer, maybe a retirement home, home for the elderly, or a childs day care so the kids can play games. I won’t just throw out in the dump.

    Thanks for the information.

  2. kenk124 Says:

    I also never considered just how detrimental to our environment improperly disposed of computer hardware can be either!! I’m glad I chose this topic to blog about for class as well, because it really opened my eyes to how crucial it is to recycle in one way shape or form our old equipment. Either recycling at a facility that specifically handles this type of recycling, or donating your old equipment to charity, or even selling it to someone who refurbishes and resells used equipment are all excellent options to keep that old toxic pile of stuff out of the landfill!!

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