Tips for Recycling Your Old Computer

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Do you have old computers and electronic gadgets just lying around your home collecting dust? Do not throw them away. Computers contain toxic materials such as lead and mercury that need to be disposed of properly. Laptops contain lithium batteries that also need special disposal. In addition, computers contain many materials that can be recycled. Running a computer takes very little energy, so much of the energy that a computer uses in its lifetime is used in the manufacturing process. By recycling these materials, the energy investment in manufacturing the computer is extended. Here are some tips for disposing of old computers properly.

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Refurbish Newer Computers

If your unwanted computer equipment is less than five years old, consider refurbishing it. In most cases, an expert computer technician can make repairs and install new software so that the machine is usable. This refurbisher can then find the used computer a home. Older machines can be very useful at non-profit organizations, schools that do not have the resources to purchase new computers and overseas in lesser developed countries. Do not just bring the computer to the charity yourself. This charity may not have the resources to refurbish the machine so that it can serve their needs. A refurbishing center will be able to connect your computer with the best possible organization to use it. You can look online for refurbishing center near you.

Recycle Older Computers

Equipment that is more than five years old may not be usable. But it still contains valuable materials that can be recycled. In this case, the computer is broken down into its component parts that are then recycled in a wide variety of ways. Many manufacturers and electronics retailers have take back programs to recycle older machines. You should call ahead to make sure that the recycler can deal with your equipment. You also want to make sure that the recycler is certified by a national accreditation board. Non-certified recyclers may simply be dumping the computers in foreign countries where regulations regarding disposal are not that strict. The ANSI-ASQ Nation Accreditation Board has a list of certifications that you can look for when turning in your old computers.

Protect Yourself

Your computer’s hard drive contains a lot of detailed information about you. Make sure you use good disk cleaning software to remove all your data from the hard drive before you bring the computer to be refurbished or recycled. This will protect your valuable information. While your computer may not have any value to you, it does have some value. If you donate the computer to a refurbisher, you want to keep a record of the donation for tax purposes.

Disposing of computers requires special attention. Taking care to do it right means that others may benefit from equipment that you no longer need. It also protects the environment, saves energy in manufacturing and reduces waste.

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Tips for Recycling Your Old Computer, Seekyt
General Contributor
Janice is a writer from Chicago, IL. She created the "simple living as told by me" newsletter with more than 12,000 subscribers about Living Better and is a founder of Seekyt.