Reasons Why Every Business Should Recycle Old Computers

Fri, May 11, 2012

6. Misc.

Whether you are personally invested in green living or you don’t know the first thing about the eco-friendly movement that is currently sweeping the globe, it behooves you to be aware of recycling and how it may benefit your business. Even if you think the practice is more trouble than it’s worth, you may be legally bound to comply with recycling mandates. Some states now require that items like aluminum, glass, and some plastics go into a recycling bin rather than a trash can, and failure to comply could result in hefty fines. But nearly everywhere you go it is illegal to toss electronics because they house hazardous materials. So if your business is looking to get rid of some old computer equipment, recycling may be the only option.

Luckily, there are plenty of good reasons to recycle old computers, the least of which is avoiding the fees and other penalties you may face if you choose to send them straight to the landfill. First and foremost, you should recycled these used electronics in order to cut back on waste and pollution. Okay, the waste part you get; the plastics used in electronics could take hundreds of years to degrade, and even then they’ll never fully decompose (they just break down into smaller and smaller pieces). But how do they pollute the environment?

Computers are deemed hazardous waste because they are full of hazardous materials, including toxic metals like lead and mercury, along with all kinds of chemicals, such as flame retardants. When computer equipment gets dumped in a landfill and begins to break down, these toxins can get into the air, the soil, and even our precious supply of drinking water, polluting everything they touch and spreading into the ecosystem. It sort of makes you want to start drinking purified water and growing your own organic crops.

Of course, recycling also ensures that useful (and non-renewable) parts can be reclaimed and used for new manufacturing. Many computers contain totally reusable metals like gold, silver, copper, and aluminum (amongst others) and even their plastic components may be eligible for recycling and reuse in another capacity. Some parts may also be simply refurbished for use in newer products. Either way, these items won’t be cluttering up the landfill for the next several generations of human history.

You may be reticent to recycled computers because of the cost associated with the process, but you also don’t want to store these old electronics that you will never again use. So how can you get rid of them legally and with less expense? The easy answer is to sell or donate them. Many companies host in-house sales to let employees take home used computers at a fraction of the cost of new (improving employee morale, saving on the cost of recycling equipment, and even making a few bucks in the process). But you might also opt to contribute still-working items on a local charity, providing low-cost equipment to people in need (schools, the job corps, or even random individuals) and earning yourself a tax write-off in the process. You won’t make enough to pay for an upgrade to the best broadband service, but you can definitely save on the cost of recycling when you find ways to give your old computers a second life.

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