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Computer recycling and disposal

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It finally happened. That beloved computer that you've been nursing along for months, listening to its strange beeps and groans every time you turn it on or off, it's finally broken down past the point of repair. Maybe the monitor blew out or maybe your hard drive imploded one day while you were working on a most important project (now why on earth would you be working on something important on a computer like that?).

But now that it's dead, what should you do with it? You don't want to throw it in your trash can-your garbage man wouldn't like that too well. It is kind of difficult to simply throw something out that was once so much a part of your life-and so expensive. Plus, it can't be good for the environment to have large pieces of electronics filling up our land fills. There must be a better option than just throwing the dead computer on the curb (which you wouldn't want to do anyway because it looks trashy).

Luckily there IS a better option than throwing out your old computer. Lots of people want old and decrepit computers. Instead of just throwing them out, you can recycle them. That way your useless computer can still do some good for someone.

There are many companies that will take not only computers, but also many other kinds of electronics. Some of those electronics included are notebooks (laptops), monitors, printers, scanners, keyboards, mice, cellular phones, faxes, copiers, telecommunications equipment, televisions and radios.

Once a computer is no longer useable in any way, it must be broken down into pieces that can be recycled (no, the entire machine doesn't just get thrown into a magical vat that sucks it up, chomps it down and spits out a recycled block of metal). Computers, as well as many other electronics, are made up of plastic, metal and glass. These materials all happen to be intermixed in teeny, tiny pieces. There are very few places in the country that are capable of recycling these special pieces of materials. So the recyclers have very large facilities that collect computers from thousands of locations all over the country.

Computers are first collected on the local level-by someone or some company in your area that will separate the usable from the non-usable parts of the computer. The reusable parts are usually refurbished and then resold or donated. The unusable parts are sent to the next process: tear down.

The next process involves taking each part and separating the various metals, plastics and glass from each other. These pieces are then shipped to their respective specialized recyclers.

The third step in recycling computers involves the specialized recyclers working on the metal or plastics and either picking them apart even more (ex. refining the remaining metals) or simply recycling the remnants.

Here is a list of companies that take dead computers (as well as other forms of electronics-in certain cases) for recycling. This list is very incomplete, and intended only to give you an idea of the types of places that take computers.

  1. 1. Apple Recycling program http://www.apple.com/about/environment/equipmentrecycling.html They cannot take: disassembled monitors, monitors with shattered, and broken or cracked screens
  2. E-Tech Recycling
    http://www.etechrecycling.com/
  3. Genesis Recycling
    http://genesisrecycling.ca/
  4. RDC computer recycling and disposal services
    www.rdc.co.uk/
    (This is a European company based in the UK).
  5. Computer Recycling USA
    http://www.computerrecyclingusa.com/
    This company offers to pick up your used computers if you prefer not to ship them yourself.
  6. PC Disposals
    http://www.pcdisposals.com/

There are hundreds more companies available for computer recycling. The easiest way to find them is to type in "computer recycling" on an internet search engine and then peruse through the search results. You may also try looking in the phone book for companies in your area.

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Posted by DF
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