How to Recycle Electronics and Computers Securely and Affordably
You probably have an old PC or several of them, which you no longer find useful because either they have insufficient specs, they are old or they simply malfunctioned. Electronics we keep away are usually in bad conditions that does not seem right to hand over to someone in the name of helping the needy.
When you first put that PC or electronic away, it was an upgrade and where to keep the old one wasn’t an issue. However, with time storage space becomes an issue. In addition, you will need to de-clutter your house once in while and this will involve doing away with items you are not using. But how you dispose electronics?
The first thing we think of when disposing a PC comes in mind is the data. Computers are the new diaries and notebooks. You had probably saved personal notes or data on personal finances on the drive, which is no longer in use. It could either be hardware or software damage. Whichever the case, you can’t destroy data with a sledgehammer. It is the traditional way of disposing items and now insecure.
The best you can achieve with a sledgehammer on your electronics is breaking into smaller pieces. This does not solve your disposal issue. When it comes to a PC, the issue is more than how and where to dispose the parts. It is about the data.
Recycling is an opportunity for you to participate in improving our habitat. By choosing to recycle, you help to reduce congestion, clutter, and piling of pollutants. Recycling electronics is also one of the best ways of saving the environment by freeing it from junk. We should also be quick to facilitate this process because junk accumulates fast too. The amount of waste accumulates fast mainly because of increasing wealth among a rapidly rising population in urban areas. As people increase their income, they discard their products and move on to purchase more replacements. Most cities have a huge problem of dealing with waste because it rises faster than they can handle it. Without the participation of the public, it seems totally impossible to maintain an efficient recycling process.
Other reasons for rising waste in urban areas are; rapid changes in technologies evident in production of electronics. The material used to build the electronics is barely biodegradable hence piling of waste. Apart from electronics, a high affinity for fast food is responsible for more waste generated in urban areas.
Since waste is one of the biggest enemies to environmental preservation, recycling comes in handy. The reason for toxicity is the harmful chemicals used in building of the electronics. The greenhouse gases emerging from piled up rubbish and landfill sites increases pollution to destroy our habitat. The threat of global warming is therefore an international problem calling for cooperation from every responsible person around the globe.
By choosing the option of recycling, we reduce the need for acquiring newer materials for manufacturing products afresh. This means we can spare our rain forests and enjoy a conducive habitat. Finally, the huge amounts of energy used during production and processing raw materials can be preserved via effective recycling. It would cost a fraction of the expense and energy consumption when using a recycling process in comparison to fresh manufacturing.
With the high and uncontrollable urban migration around the globe, it is only fair that the public adopts a safer way of maintaining their health. The congestion in cities has thinned away space for waste. The landfill sites fill up faster than the authorities can manage. In fact, the UK authorities reported that all their landfills were almost full by 2010. Many other countries face the same problem both in industrialized and third world countries.
Recycling helps to lower the national budget by saving millions of dollars spent in coping with the junk and finding new raw materials. This is crucial for the economy as cheaper means for manufacturing reduce time, labor, and cost of production.
Perhaps most importantly, the recycling process helps to reserve natural resources for the future generation. This is a long-term vision poised to protect the needs of future occupants of planet earth. By recycling the already useless electronics, we can spare natural resources, energy, raw materials, and money for them to explore. Considering the fact that populations are rising fast around the globe, it is only fair that the current generation prepares for worst living conditions.
What to Recycle
Most electronics provide valuable sources of secondary raw materials. The unmatched competition in production of new electronic devices by tech companies has led to huge piles of disposed devices. Customers lose their gadgets earlier than their life span. The electronics’ life span has also diminished immensely. There is an equal rapid advances in recycling technology to match the increasing waste especially in cities. This is good news because it helps cut down on the increase of waste.
We all love our electronic devices and spend a fortune to possess them. A majority of consumers take loans to purchase their coveted devices to own the latest and trendiest gadgets. From TVs, laptops, desktops, tablets, to home theaters, music equipment, and headphones, we keep accumulating them in our households. The most purchased devices are the beloved pocket size mobile phones with computer power. In the past year, a study revealed that up to 1.5 billion new cell phones were bought. This is equivalent to 1 for every 5 people on earth.
The interesting is part is that the gadgets have a short life span and soon become electronic waste. If they are not traded in for new devices, cash, or credit, these gadgets quickly become useless and contribute to the waste threatening our global environment. This piling of unused mobile phones is fast becoming a global problem calling for quick action to preserve the environment. In the year preceding 2017 where the sale of 1.5 billion was experienced, up to 45 million tons of waste consisting mobile phones was recorded. The United Nations reported that only 20% of this was proper disposal.
Everyone should be responsible enough to ensure they prepare for disposal by giving away their old phones and other devices to charity and recycling companies. Most users are not aware of the programs available that help to dispose these gadgets. In fact, they do not know they could an income from trading them in for cash. Not only are the phones and computers shipped for charity in needy areas but can also be refurbished and reused. The materials used in these devices are perfectly recoverable. This includes, glass, plastic, glass, and metal alike.
Most electronic devices mentioned contained toxic substances and chemicals. This is what makes them all eligible for recycling to save the planet from harmful toxic contents. If left unused in landfills and open places, the chemicals react and produce greenhouse gadgets. We all know the harm posed by the greenhouse gases. We are also aware of the efforts to fight the accumulation of these gases around the world. Giving your electronic away for recycling is a simple task that goes a long way to contribute to these efforts.
Today, 25 states have already passed laws compelling the residents to recycle old electronics. They laws come with definitions of what to recycle. Regardless of where you live however, you need to learn how to dispose electronic waste to help preserve our environment. For example, since most of the electronics contain our personal information, it is wise to wipe out before recycling. Wiping out the memory in electronic is not as easy as basic deleting of files. Each device has specific guidelines of formatting information beyond recovery. Resetting the devices to get all personal data off will require help from the manufacturer. Luckily, all information is available on the Internet. Find the manufacturer’s websites and get the instructions to clean your devices.
How to Recycle
Rapid changes in technologies renders electronics cheap and less profitable to recycle. Tech companies are always producing newer and cheaper gadgets using minimal resources. Without rare and precious minerals used in building the electronics, you might not make a lucrative earning from selling your old computer, phone, or home theater. The resale value of recycled commodities such as steel and oil-based plastics has also fallen sharply recently. This means that to gain reasonable amounts of profits from recycling products, you need to make give out huge piles of waste.
To date, recycling is not easy because multinational tech companies continue to ship electronic scraps overseas or choose to discard them in warehouses. This makes the efforts of responsible recycling companies hectic and futile. Recycling companies are struggling to maintain their business and at times have to retain their moral responsibility over their quest for profitability. There is less and less revenue from recycled materials due to rapid production of cheap electronics to replace the old ones even before they live out their time.
Cleaning is the first step in a recycling firm. The toxic waste must be identified and separated for proper environmental-friendly disposal. Before recycling takes place, the gadgets are sorted and broken down into their component parts. This means reducing the devices into their original forms such as glass, plastic, and minerals. Some parts can be re-converted into raw materials and used in component products.
Manual labor plays a big role in the entire process although machines are useful too. Machinery are closely monitored because of the technicality of separation involved. Supervising the machines helps to maintain close interaction to maintain precision and responsibility. There is more to recycling than people assume. It is not a task you would achieve on your own with a few of your employees in your business. This is the reason recycling companies are important to the preservation of the environment.
Additional services included in the recycling package include; destruction of personal and business data in electronic devices. Some electronic devices contain sensitive data and it is only reasonable to spare the owners the heartache of exposing data to unauthorized access. Destroying data in hard drives is a major part of the process too. Copy machines, printers, fax machines, and other items such as phones may also contain data to be thoroughly deleted. Unfortunately, most people assume and give up their devices with sensitive data intact.
For those with a huge volume of electronic devices for recycling, the companies pay for it. These items of high value may also get you the offer of free recycling. If they have high potential for refurbishing and reselling, they are profitable and should not be left lying in landfills.
As an owner of used computers and other electronics, there is no need dismantling them by destroying them. Instead, pack it up and search for a nonprofit organization specializing in providing technology aid to those in need. Do not assume that your electronics are too small and useless; they can be useful as well to charity organization if you drop them off to their collecting points. Salvation Army and Goodwill are among the most commonly known charities known to specialize in old equipment for poorer and needy populations.
Who should you Recycle?
Most people avoid the recycling option because of the cost involved in recycling. They deem it too much work considering the little gain they stand to gain from it. When a few devices are involved and the profits expected are minimal, not many people agree to purse this idea. However, it is important to consider the benefits of being a responsible citizen and contributing towards preserving the environment.
Everyone should be accountable to eliminate accumulation of electronic junk. With the reduced life of electronics, there is always something new to purchase sooner than we can plan for it. Every adults owns several electronics and children too. The urge to get the latest, most popular, trendiest, and most efficient product drives us to purchase electronics as soon as we are capable. The result is a pile of electronic junk in our backyard and attics. Instead of letting the marketers control our appetite to drop what we own for the sake of the latest products, it would be wise to collect the old stuff and give them away for recycling.
Before giving away devices, remember to clean it up by deleting your personal data. Deleting data may not be enough so you need to learn formatting techniques to help you clear out all data from the memory. Ensure that the data is unrecoverable before giving it away so you will not risk becoming a victim of identity theft.
Participating in the battle for preserving our planet is a noble idea for everyone. Recycling program and efforts are numerous and available to anyone who wants to volunteer. Volunteers are encouraged to participate by providing bonuses and awareness programs. The progress made over the years is expected to positively influence the battle to save planet earth from global warming.
Anyone who owns old computers and other electronic equipment no longer useful in their homes is eligible for the programs. There are plenty of charity organizations specializing in old equipment. You do need to destroy it because it could help someone half across the world after refurbishing. At the same time, you will have saved your habitat by keeping it clean and free from toxins. The nonprofits have efficient networks to ensure that the old equipment get to the right users in good condition.
If you have accumulated non bio-degradable materials including old batteries, toys, and other electronics in your trash bin or attic, collect them and take a trip to a recycling center. All you need is research on the Internet and find out the organizations nearest to you. You may also monitor their activities to identify the ones you want you feel interested to support or join. You will be finding numerous organizations involved in the task. Most of them are free and convenient with online directory lists to make donations easy. They also accept all sorts of electronics ranging from laptops, old design desktops, tablets, phones, printers, toys, and all used electronics working.
You may also check with retail stores selling electronics. A good number of them provide customers with different ways to recycle electronics. You may easily find the contacts from the store where you bought the electronic devices. Some organizations allow you to trade in old computers and accessories for cash credit. This is perhaps the most lucrative option attracting most consumers to give up their old computers.
What about my data destruction
Although most people may be ready to give up their electronics, the thought of giving up their sensitive data to unknown users is scary enough to restrain them. It is therefore, imperative to learn how to clear your hard disk from any personal data before giving it away whether for charity or sale. Traditionally, people would physically hit and crush the hard disk. It is no longer reasonable to destroy an equipment you are giving out for re-use. This means we need to learn how to destroy data without destruction of the gadget.
Before deleting your personal data, make a backup of the documents. Ensure you got all the data as some could be hidden. Select your documents, images, videos, emails, and messages for copying. Uninstall and de-register programs and accounts if your PC is connected to the Internet. This may include; Apple iTunes or Microsoft Office online accounts. With your computer offline, create a new administrator account and use it to delete the rest of the accounts to eliminate all the remaining personal data.
Knowing that deleting files is not enough to completely eliminate them from the computer or phone. It just eliminates them from the mainstream visible directory or table of contents. The truth is the information is still intact on the hard drive until it is over-written. Recovery programs can easily retrieve this information until you completely. One of the easiest ways is to use a USB thumb drive.
The system restore function will help you take your PC or phone to its original condition at the point of manufacture. You may interrupt the boot process by pressing the appropriate key depending on the brand before selecting repair and then choosing ‘reformat hard drive’.
In conclusion, beware of the benefits of recycling electronics and take part in the process of preserving the environment. You will also be helping the needy, and making an income from your old devices by giving them up for charity. Remember too that data is a sensitive aspect in the digital era; it sells. It incriminates; it can cost you a reputation. You not only risk physical security but also it is a compromise eon your bank account, email, and other sensitive areas in your life. In the 21st century, every system is connected. A loophole into one can cause a ripple effect that can destroy your life. We all have sensitive information or data you consider private. It does not matter who the third party is, you will feel insecure when another person accesses your personal data. It is crucial to adopt secure data handling techniques as well as learn how to securely destruct data in case of a damaged PC or any electronic device. Recycling is the answer.