Computer Hardware Recycling – A Challenging Task on the Face of Earth

E waste is one of the most serious issues that has engulfed the whole world. The obsolete computers, if not treated properly can become a major source of toxins and carcinogens. Rapid technology change, low initial cost and even planned obsolescence have resulted in a fast growing environmental concerns across the globe. Though many countries boast of technical solutions but in most cases a legal framework, a collection system, logistics and other services need to be implemented before a technical solution can be applied. E waste comprise 2% of America’s total trash and 70 percent of overall toxic waste. In the United States, an estimated 70% of heavy metals in landfills come from discarded electronics.

Recycling is one of the most effective ways to prevent the hazard of e waste. Many material used in the construction of hardware can be recovered and recycled. Reuse of tin, silicon, iron, aluminum, and a variety of plastics – all present in bulk in computers – is possible and can reduce the costs of constructing new systems. Electronic devices like including audio-visual components (televisions, VCRs, stereo equipment), mobile phones and other hand-held devices, and computer components, also contain valuable elements and substances that are suitable for reclamation. Powering and cooling computers is an increasing contributor to global warming and the power it consumes also contribute to a negative effect on the environment.

In this regard, various government as well as non government agencies have taken significant initiatives to curb it. One of the main organisation that takes the responsibility of checking the e waste is CFA, that installs various measures to aware computer hardware manufacturers as well as consumers about the hazards of e-waste. Information on the dangers involved in improper disposal of computer hardware is provided to the computer labs. The supply of quality hardware is also restricted to beneficiaries only. CFA provides comprehensive on-site ICT support to beneficiaries, ensuring the equipment functions for the longest possible time with the greatest positive impact.

To counter this further, Userful desktops are being deployed all around the world with a typical configuration of six stations per computer. Research has shown that Userful products can reduce electronic waste by up to 80 percent, further decreasing its environmental footprint. It was supported by the data that stated that in the past year, Userful desktops have helped to minimise the computer hardware waste by 29,000 tons of CO2 emissions, which is equivalent to taking more than 5,000 cars off the road.

The consumers too need to get sensitive about the whole issue when the impact of computer hardware on environment, is in discussion. We should look for eco friendly ways to dispose off the computer waste and follow the recycling programmes all over the country. There are various companies like Sony, Toshiba and Gateway that offer take back programmes that provide monetary incentives for recyclable and/or working technologies. One should go for reuse and up gradation of the present PC unless it is very essential to dispose off. Selling off the old computers to the used product market is another option.