Is Your Computer Dead? Think Again!

computer recycling

Computers are absolutely incredible pieces of technology, aren’t they? The things we do – spending hours and hours keeping ourselves entertained with games, or ferociously hacking out our latest submission for college (so that we can go back to playing video games), or spending countless days on social media hoping your crush will ‘like’ that one funny post you put up! Computers have pretty much ruled our lives over the last few decades, and this dominance doesn’t seem like it is abating, regardless of how fancy the latest tablet or smartphone gets.

So when your old desktop or laptop decides to call time on its illustrious career of providing your professional, personal and romantic lives thorough enrichment, what do you do with it? Chuck it in a corner of your attic and forget about it? Or simply throw it away?

The physical make-up of computers

Neither of the two approaches is a good idea, largely because of what computers are made of. Your average computer (depending on specific components) will contain plastic, glass, sundry electronic boards, and ferrous and non-ferrous metals like aluminum, copper, even gold. Now all these components can be recycled, and should be recycled, but on the flip side, computers also contain lead, mercury, and lithium-ion from the batteries of laptops, among other toxic and hazardous materials.

Why not throw them in the trash?

To have them lying around decomposing is not the solution, so the attic should be ruled out. Neither is it a great idea to bin them because they’ll end up in landfills. Either in the United States or (more likely) shipped across to third world countries, where underprivileged individuals with zero safety equipment will use unsafe methods to take them apart and salvage all the good stuff, leaving all the toxins behind to rot and contaminate the soil. Also, people looking to commit identity theft will usually visit landfills and cherry pick your hard-disks and then recover the data within them, even if you did remember to delete it all, (most people don’t).


You’re better off donating your computer to a worthy cause instead. Especially if it is still in decent nick and actually works. Retirement centers, schools, orphanages, NGOs, charities and the like would gladly take your working computer off your hands and use it towards the development of society and to enrich the lives of the less privileged. Some NGOs will even repair or refurbish old computers that aren’t working, so do some research into the local organizations in your area and use your computers for the improvement of society.


Another option, especially if your computer is busted, is recycling it. If you take your computer to a government authorized recycling plant, it will be processed appropriately. This means that either the computer will be repaired and sold on, or it will be taken apart. After it is taken apart, all the recyclable parts like the plastics and metals will be segregated, and the toxic components will be treated as per government regulations, so that they don’t cause any contamination. In fact, the recycling of computers has become so important today, that recyclers such as Sims Metal Management have actually formed strategic plans for the expansion of IT Assets disposition services. That’s how advanced computer recycling has gotten today.

So the next time your RAM ceases to function or your motherboard fries, don’t leave your computer in a corner and promptly order a new one. Instead, take the time out to either repair or donate the old one, or at least take it down to your local metal scrap yard and recycle it. In fact, outdated electronics can and should be recycled. What’s the point of keeping your old technological wonders like dial-up, modem, pager, typewriter, or fax machine – things that do not serve any purpose? Recycle them. It’s the right thing to do, and could even earn you some cash, because most recyclers will pay you a certain amount of money for old computers in lieu of all the ferrous metals they’ll be able to extract from it.

[Image source: Wikimedia]

One Response

  1. suresh