Did you know that roughly 350 million personal computers are sold each year? Keep in mind that for each new computer that comes out on the market, an old one is deemed “obsolete.”
These old computers – and other electronics – pile up because people just don’t know what to do with them. We’ll research new devices extensively, but old ones aren’t given the same consideration.
We should care more about the old devices, and here are 10 interesting facts about computer recycling to help you be better informed:
- The energy saved by recycling one million laptops is enough to power 3,657 U.S. homes for a year.
- 75% of PC energy consumption happens before a new computer has been switched on. It is used during the production phase.
- When you discard a 5-pound laptop, you are also throwing away the 20,000 pounds of raw materials that it took to make it.
- A responsible recycler will want to refurbish and resell your computer if it’s at all possible. Many “obsolete” computers are fine after upgrades and refurbishing. Even if a computer can’t be reused as a whole, it often contains viable parts. This is good because it conserves raw materials and energy.
- Not all organizations want the latest IT equipment. They might choose to purchase used or refurbished electronics in order to save money, help the environment, or maintain compatibility with existing systems.
- In 2009, 47.5 million computers were ready for end-of-life management. Of these, 29.4 million units were disposed of in landfills and 18 million (36%) were collected for recycling.
- On average, the original owner of a laptop will keep it for just three years before upgrading.
- Computers and computer monitors may contain chemicals like lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and beryllium. When these elements are safely encased in the computer or computer monitor, they don’t pose a problem. But when the device breaks in a landfill, the chemicals leak out and contaminate our land, air, and water.
- Your computer also contains rare earth elements. Did you know what one of the biggest obstacles for rare earth recycling is? Collecting used electronics in the first place.
- Throwing your old computer in the trash isn’t just a bad idea – it could be illegal where you live!
Did you learn anything new? Let us know in the comments below!
Resources / More Information:
- The Zero Waste Institute
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Love To Know
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