There comes a time when even the most powerful computers need to be retired. Unless the system has sentimental value, it's best to recycle standard systems in order to make room for the new system and to avoid dangerous waste from affecting the environment. To support a healthier environment, reduce the need for material mining and to avoid troublesome fines, take the time to understand a few recycling points about computers.
Why Bother Recycling?
There's no shortage of campaigns, commercials and regulations concerning recycling. It helps the environment, but how does that affect you directly? For computer recycling, the effects can be fairly immediate.
One of the main concerns with computer recycling is the toxicity of computer systems. When you throw away computers carelessly, you spoil the ground with toxic substances such as lithium, chromium and cadmium. In small amounts, these substances aren't going to destroy an entire ecosystem, but the explosion of computer use in a mere decade can lead to plant stagnation. Although there's a lot of materials in landfills that lead to the same problem, reducing all these materials from the landfills is important.
An extreme level of computer hazards can be observed in Guiyu, a city in China's Guangdong province. This news article describes the electronic waste (e-waste) problems and migration, as well as the health risks associated with mismanaged e-waste.
If it all seems too distant, there are some positive rewards that can go directly into your wallet. The components inside your computer can be recycled for money, and there's an entire subculture dedicated to scrapping different computer materials. The rate changes daily for different materials, and can give you a bit more of a return than simply handing the computer off to a garbage collector.
What Parts Are Worth Scrapping?
Although many materials inside the computer can be recycled, the metals and precious minerals stand out to many scrappers. Plastics can still bring in cash, but the value of metal means that computer scrapers can collect more money in smaller quantities. Rates are always changing, so be sure to speak with a recycling center before tossing anything.
Aluminum is one of the bigger, more obvious recycling targets in computers. Even in computers that seem to be made of plastic, there is an underlying aluminum frame and case. Inside every computer is a heat sink and sometimes a series of airflow pipes, which are either made of aluminum in standard computers or copper in high-performance systems.
There are valuable materials inside hard drives, but you'll need to figure out if you'd like to leave them inside the hard drive or take them out for separate recycling. One of the most valuable recycling materials inside the computer is the rare earth magnet cluster, which is thick enough to be handled by hand.
Even though the cost to buy rare earth magnets is impressive, recycling the magnets and other rare earth materials is often an expensive process, and may not yield a sufficient payout. Hobbyists can't do anything with powdered rare earth material that needs to be industrially separated, but the intact clusters may be fetch a nice price on official recycling programs and private sales alike.
Contact a recycling services professional to discuss current rates and recycling strategies. For recycling services, contact a company such as B-P Trucking Inc.