New Workplace Recycling Regulations come into force in Wales on 6 April 2024. Find out what this means for your business and how to prepare in this guide.
How to Dispose of a Computer Monitor
Disposing of old computer monitors from your home or business can be done in a sustainable and safe way. When computers and monitors reach the end of their life, it’s important that you get rid of them in a responsible and environmentally friendly manner – so they don’t end up in landfill and add to pollution levels.
Recycling computer monitors is the best option, to ensure as many materials as possible are reused. Discover how to recycle and dispose of old computers, monitors, laptops, and more in this guide.
Computer monitor recycling
What are computer monitors made of?
The display device in most modern computer monitors is typically made of a thin film transistor, liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD). They tend to also have LED backlighting. This replaced the fluorescent lamp backlighting that was used in previous computer monitors. The backing and bezel of a computer monitor is normally made of plastic (sometimes metal).
What type of waste are computer monitors?
Computer monitors class as a type of WEEE waste – as they’re a form of waste electrical and electronic equipment. However, they also class as a type of hazardous waste as they contain toxic materials including nickel, lead, zinc, and chromium. Therefore, proper disposal of computer monitors is essential to get rid of them safely.
Where can you dispose of computer monitor waste?
If your computer monitor is only suited for scrap, the best option is to contact your local council. The better councils will collect your computer monitors for a small fee (usually no more than £10). You might also be able to take them to a council run recycling centre, just check they take computer monitors first.
When you run a business that has old computer monitors for disposal, you must arrange collection by licensed waste carriers. Contact us at Business Waste and we can arrange collection and recycling of your used computer monitors, as well as other WEEE waste.
Dell is one of the few computer suppliers that’s had a serious viewpoint about recycling for over a decade. If you buy computers from Dell, they’ll take your old computer monitors away from any brand for recycling. However, ever since the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directive came into force, companies who produce IT equipment like computer monitors also must dispose of it.
What are the problems with computer monitor waste?
There are three main problems with disposing of computer monitor waste:
- Problems with landfills – Both children and adults can be significantly harmed by landfills. Computer monitors thrown into landfill can cause harm to residents living nearby. This is through skin exposure, inhalation, and ingestion. The toxins can cause illnesses that result in brain damage and death to those exposed to it.
- Seep into the groundwater – If you throw your computer monitors away in landfill, toxic materials like barium and lead will seep into the groundwater. As a result, this impacts both sea animals and the land itself. It will also harm the health of the people in developing countries where a lot of electronic waste is taken.
- Toxic materials – Computer monitors and other electronics contain toxic materials like nickel, lead, zinc, and chromium. Lead can especially cause harm to human blood, the nervous systems, and kidneys if released into the environment.
What are some eco-friendly alternatives to dispose of computer monitors?
There are a few eco-friendly alternatives to disposing of computer monitors:
- Repair or upgrade your monitor – Do you need to dispose of the computer monitor? If you don’t need a new computer monitor and your current one works fine, keep it to protect the environment. If your computer monitor could be repaired or upgraded, it’s worth doing that instead of disposing of it.
- Find a way to reuse your computer monitor – If you don’t have any use for your computer monitor anymore, chances are that someone else could benefit from it. Either donate your unwanted computer monitor to charity, sell it, or give it away online via eBay or Facebook.
- Recycle your computer monitor – Recycling computer monitors ensures their component parts are reused where possible, rather than ending up in landfill. Don’t throw computer monitors away with general waste or in your regular bin, as toxic materials can seep into the groundwater or contribute to air pollution once they’re burnt. We provide services for collecting and recycling computer monitors from any business.
Can you recycle a computer?
Yes, computers can easily be recycled, though they need to be taken to the appropriate waste management facility. The process of recycling involves:
- Removing hazardous materials – The first stage of recycling computers involves removing any hazardous materials or components from it. This could include batteries, chemicals, or ink. Once separated, the hazardous materials are disposed of safely and securely.
- Shredding – Next, the computer is run through a shredding machine. This breaks the materials down into smaller, more manageable pieces.
- Sorting – Once broken down by the shredder, the materials are separated into different waste categories, treated, and recycled through traditional streams. This often includes metal recycling and plastic recycling.
Can you recycle a laptop?
Yes, 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 and chemicals are removed before the remaining materials are separated ready for reuse.
Laptops usually contain lithium-ion batteries, which are rechargeable and easy to recycle. The recycling process for lithium-ion battery involves deactivating and disassembling the battery before it’s crushed and sorted to allow for electrolyte recovery.
How do you dispose of an old computer?
Computers are an example of WEEE waste, meaning there are specific rules and regulations regarding their disposal. This is because they contain various 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. Electronic equipment like computers are collected at WEEE recycling centres. They’re then taken to a plant where they’re reprocessed and the plastic is shredded into tiny pieces for reuse.
Is there gold inside computers and 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’s 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 do you remove a hard drive from a computer before recycling?
Many businesses are reluctant to recycle their old WEEE waste due to fears regarding data security – especially if your computer stored 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 from a computer by:
- Unplugging the computer.
- Opening the PC case (typically secured by a small latch or a series of screws).
- Locating the hard drive and removing the cables that attach it to the PC. You may have to remove some screws at this stage.
- Remove the hard drive.
How do you 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. This reduces the risk of data and security breaches. For example, you should:
- Back up your old data and/or 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 computer, laptop, or computer monitor, is by donating it to charity or to local schools 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 resell their computers or laptops as opposed to recycling them – even if they’re not in the best condition. 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 and places you can resell your old computer, both online and in person.
Websites such as eBay, Gumtree, and Facebook Marketplace are good places to start selling your old computer. You can also sell them at in person at car boot sales, or even at specific computer fairs.
What are some facts about computer waste disposal?
A few key facts about computer waste disposal are that:
- A staggering 95% of companies don’t recycle old computer equipment – despite the fact that computers can be recycled.
- Around 45 million tonnes of computers and other WEEE items are sent to landfill each year.
- Most of the e-waste comes from items we use every day. This includes computers, computer monitors, hoovers, cameras.
- Valuable raw materials like copper, iron, and gold remain in computers sent to landfill. These could have been recoverable through the correct recycling methods. The total value of the raw materials amounts to £44.8 million.
- It’s estimated that by 2030, the amount of e-waste will increase and exceed 74 million tonnes per year. This will surpass the total weight of 203 Empire State buildings.
- According to a recent report, we also have a recycling and recovery rate of around 59%. 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.
How do I arrange computer waste collection with Business Waste?
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’ll provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to store and dispose of your computer waste in compliance with the WEEE directive safely and securely. We’ll provide you with a series of free waste bins to store your waste before waste collection.
Contact our expert team for all your computer monitor disposal and recycling needs today.
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