Many people wonder how to recycle their old computer equipment when it becomes so much electronic waste (or e-waste). With the advent of numerous mobile devices and the rapid development of technology, a lot of waste is produced. Be it from defunct devices, or broken ones, the peoples’ constant need for new stuff creates a lot of spare parts and, namely, junk.
Environmental regulations make it illegal to dispose of electronic waste in the trash. Furthermore, one should refrain from this solely because it is so destructive to the environment. Silicon boards and other computer “chips” are manufactured with a lot of heavy metals, including valuable gold and platinum. In addition, there are numerous other materials that are rare, and also toxic. Besides PCB (power control boards) and other chips, batteries and used LCD monitors and panels make up a large portion of e-waste. Batteries, both lithium-ion and nickel metal hydride, contain toxic chemicals. LCD panels often contain mercury, as well as other products we don’t want in our environment.
This is why there is an electronic waste recycling fee when you exchange your TV or computer LCD panel, or get one repaired with a new panel. The cost incurred helps manage these waste products. Because of these risks to the environment and the law, one must seek out an Electron Waste Recycling Center, or other verified location where this e-waste will be processed properly and recycled.
The first step in e-waste recycling is collection of the junk components. A company will take these parts in, and have another party arrive with a truck to collect the materials. These e-waste recycling specialists transport the materials to their recycling centers, where the real fun begins. Computers and other PCB based components are chipped up and the heavy metals are then “floated” in smelting chambers to burn off debris and other impurities. Once collected, these metals are packaged and then resold to manufacturers, often overseas, to start life again in other products. The silicon boards are recycled as well.
All other pieces are salvaged and resold, or dismantled accordingly. This is important, not only because it supports a thriving industry and creates jobs, but also protects the environment and helps make sure the industry does not run out of raw materials. Prices are kept lower and resources are not wasted into oblivion, or the bottom of the ocean/ landfill.
If you have any batteries or excess/ junk electronic components, please do not simply throw them away. Make sure to utilize your local e-waste drop off center or other recycling center, and properly reuse these materials. Oftentimes, they may even pay you for your materials! A win-win on all fronts.