If your computer broke tomorrow and it was beyond repair, what would you do with it? Well chances are that after slamming it against the wall in a fit of rage, you’re going to throw it in the trashcan in your garage. Alongside all the other non-recyclable trash your household created this week, the trash men will come pick it up, condense it in their truck, and dump it into a huge pile of waste. The huge pile of waste will be compacted even more, and then sent out to some island where all the huge piles of your garbage go. Sounds simple, right?
Sure, it’s simple enough; until a bird lands on your crunched piece of laptop and dies from exposure to the acid that leaked out of the battery. Gasp! “Alright,” you say to yourself, “I’ll take the battery out and burn it in my backyard instead of throwing it in the trash.” Well unless you’d like an explosion in your backyard, then no, you should NOT burn any old battery solely because you know is it wrong to throw it in the trash.
So what exactly do you do with this battery? How about all the other parts of the computer that still function? After you consider all of the minute details that go into making a computer work, and you realize that your computer might be broken beyond repair but that the tiny pieces could function perfectly in someone else’s computer, it seems like a big waste to be disposing of the entire thing with one careless toss into the garbage. Not only would you be polluting the environment, adding to the amount of waste your family creates, and putting innocent animals at danger with the improper disposal of your computer, but you would also be wasting hundreds of dollars worth of useful items in a computer that can probably be refurbished anyways.
Aside from the battery leaking acid in a waste heap, other environmental concerns are with toner or ink from printers, glass pieces from tiny light bulbs, and other wires and metal pieces tangled inside every computer. Luckily, there are companies that deal with computer disposal or refurbishing to make your job a lot easier. If you feel the need to bash your computer against the wall in a fit of rage, simply wrap it up and send it to a computer disposal company who will, oftentimes for free, properly dispose of your computer. If your computer stops working or you simply care to invest in an updated version, then there are companies who you can send it to who will pay you for the parts that are still useable and will refurbish the computer so they can re-sell it or donate it to a low-income family or agency once it works again.
One might think, “Well, I know of a charity that could really use my old computer. I will donate it on my own”. Not so fast, buddy. Donating an older computer to an organization that you think could really use it doesn’t always work out so well. In many instances, the computer will cease to work after a couple of months, and the organization might have to spend more money to repair it. It is poor etiquette to donate something when you are not quite sure of its value. If you’d rather not give cash, some businesses will take your old computer and send the cash value of its remaining parts to an organization of your choice.
The bottom line is that there are many different things you can and should do with a computer that you no longer want as your own. For the same reasons that you taught your children how to recycle, that you turn off the lights when you leave a room, and because you try to take only as much food as you are prepared to eat at a buffet table, you should dispose of or recycle your PC properly.