Whether you use them to run your business or stream the latest Netflix series, your computer/laptop likely plays a significant role in your daily life. However, there will come a time when it simply does not work the way that it used to (or perhaps the latest model is catching your eye), meaning that you will begin to consider how to dispose of your computer. This is particularly important if you work within an office or similar environment and produce large amounts of computer waste. Thankfully, computer recycling is becoming gradually more popular and more accessible.
How to dispose of your old computer.
Computers are an example of WEEE waste (Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment), meaning that there are specific rules and regulations regarding how they should be disposed of. This is because they contain a host of hazardous materials, such as lead, mercury, chromium, beryllium and cadmium – each of which could pose a threat to both the environment and human life. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways in which you can dispose of your computer safely. This could include reselling, donating or recycling your computer.
Can you recycle a Computer?
Computers can easily be recycled, though they need to be taken to the appropriate waste management facility. The process of recycling involves:
1. The removal of hazardous materials. The first stage of recycling involves removing any hazardous materials/components from the computer. This could include batteries, chemicals or ink. Once separated, the hazardous materials are disposed of safely and securely.
2. Shredding. In the next stage of the process, the computer is run through a shredding machine. This breaks the materials down into smaller, more manageable pieces.
How many computers end up in landfill each year?
Despite the fact that computers can be recycled, a staggering 95% of companies don’t recycle old computer equipment. As a result, it is hardly surprising that around 45 million tonnes of computers and other WEEE items are sent to the landfill each year (United Nations University).
How many computers are recycled each year?
While the UK is a key contributor to WEEE waste, according to a recent report, we also have a recycling and recovery rate of around 59% (United Nations University). This means that over half of the electronic waste in the UK is sent to the appropriate recycling facility. However, this figure can undoubtedly be improved upon.
Can you recycle an old computer monitor?
If you are only replacing your computer’s monitor instead of the entire device, you’ll be pleased to hear that monitors can be easily disposed of and recycled. While this can be completed at any specialist recycling facility, you may also want to consider getting in touch with your supplier/manufacturer, as many companies will recycle monitors on your behalf.
Can you recycle a Laptop?
Laptops can also be recycled throughout the UK, and the laptop recycling process is very similar to the system used to dispose of computers. In short, hazardous materials/chemicals are removed before the remaining materials are separated ready for reuse. Laptops usually contain Lithium-Iron batteries, which are rechargeable and easy to recycle. The recycling process for Lithium Iron battery involves deactivating and disassembling the battery before it is crushed and sorted to allow for electrolyte recovery.
Is there gold inside computers/laptops?
Computers and laptops are made from a wide range of different materials, including small amounts of gold. In these cases, gold is used as it is highly conductive and resists corrosion – helping give your computer and laptop a long life. As there are many benefits to gold recycling, it will likely be extracted during the recycling process to be reused.
How to remove a hard drive from a computer before recycling.
Many businesses are reluctant to recycle their old WEE waste due to fears regarding data security – especially if your computer has been used to store potentially sensitive information. However, there are plenty of ways to prevent breaches ahead of time by removing the hard drive. While the process varies between different makes and models, you can usually remove the hard drive by:
Unplugging the computer.
Opening the PC case (typically secured by a small latch or a series of screws).
Locate the hard drive and begin to remove the cables that attach it to the PC. Again, you may have to remove some screws at this stage.
Remove the hard drive.
How to clean a computer before recycling.
In addition to removing the hard drive, there are certain steps you can take to clean your computer before disposal that reduce the risk of data and security breaches. For example, you should:
Back up your old data/transfer it to your new device.
Clear your internal and external hard drives.
Remove your browser history.
Reset your device to factory settings.
Can you donate an old computer to a charity in the UK?
Throwing away or recycling a highly functional computer can seem like an incredible waste. Therefore, one way you can safely dispose of your old device is by donating them to charity or to local schools that may be on the lookout for new learning materials and resources. You can usually find charities looking for computers in your area with a quick search, but here are some great examples:
Can you sell your old computer for cash?
Plenty of people also choose to resell their computers or laptops as opposed to recycling them. This is a great way to earn a little money and reduces the pressure on recycling and waste disposal centres. Thankfully, there are various ways in which you can resell your old PC/laptop, both online and in person.
Computer waste collection.
At Business Waste, we pride ourselves on helping clients across a wide variety of industries safely and securely dispose of their commercial waste, including any WEEE or computer waste. This process is achieved through close collaboration and discussion with each business to put together a waste management plan that meets your unique requirements.
When it comes to disposing of computer waste, we will provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to safely and securely store and dispose of your computer waste in compliance with the WEEE directive. In addition, we’ll provide you with a series of free waste bins to store your waste before waste collection, and you can rest easy knowing that your waste will be taken care of. For more information, do not hesitate to get in touch today.
Waste Collections Nationwide:
Call us on 0800 211 8390 - or complete our Free Quote Form opposite.
Learn more about our Waste Management Services.