Recycling Electronics: computer recycling

recycling computers

The disassembly and separation of components and raw materials of waste electronics can be termed computer recycling, electronic recycling, or e-waste recycling. Due to increased awareness and investment, more and more devices are recycled worldwide. The main goal of recycling computers is to recover valuable metals which are in short supply. After purification of recycled electronics, these are resold and reused in new computers. In this way, a circular and sustainable economy is created.

Methods of Recycling

Various methods are used for recycling computers and electronics. Here is a list of some of the methods used for electronics recycling. These are as follows

  • Scrapping recycling
  • Consumer Recycling
  • Exchange Recycling
  • Donation Recycling
  • Take back recycling

Let’s understand the methods mentioned above of recycling computers and electronics one by one.

Scrapping recycling

Electronics such as mobile, computers, laptops, and other gadgets are tested for reuse and repaired in this recycling process. Even if these electronics are broken somehow, they possess the same efficiency after being repaired.

Toxic batteries and capacitors are manually checked to be separated if needed. If these electronics cannot be repaired for further use, then their parts are disassembled and sold for future use. Precious metals, plastic fractions, and glasses are separated and sold to re-processors. TVs and monitors are disassembled manually to remove toxic lead and mercury from CRTs and flat screens.

Consumer recycling

In this process, electronics waste is sent back by consumers to their original manufacturer for future use. Some donate it to non-profit organizations such as ONIT, WCE, and others in need, and e-waste components are sold to refurbishers or recyclers.

In this way, raw materials are used less by the manufacturer. Consumer recycling is an essential step for sustainable development. Awareness among people regarding consumer recycling is continuously increasing, which has led to placing more and more of their recyclable material in recycling bins instead of placing it in landfills. It offers societal and environmental benefits and provides the source materials to various companies for the sustainable production of products and goods.

Exchange recycling

Most companies purchase old computers and gadgets from the same consumers after selling a new one. They also offer free replacement service after a new purchase and resell it to others at a low price with some years of warranty.

In this electronics recycling process, wastes of the first electronics become the raw materials for the next. In this way, electronics are reused and resold. These hazardous materials are not thrown into incinerators and hence play an essential role in making the environment pollution-free.

Donation recycling

Many refurbished computers are distributed to various families by non-profit and governmental organizations. This is possible only due to those who donate their old electronics to these organizations instead of throwing them into trashes, landfills, or others.

Various non-profit organizations recycle the old electronics after collecting them and then help the non-profit and charitable schools and sectors. In this way, the environment gets protected from the hazardous effects produced after the disposal of these electronics. People who can’t afford such gadgets are also helped.

Take back recycling

Most computer manufacturing companies offer their consumers to recycle computers. They take old computers back and recycle them to resell to the new users only after the user’s request.

Reasons for recycling

Obsolete computers and old electronics are a source of toxins and carcinogens, but they can be made a valuable resource if recycled. Most electronic devices and equipment are found in landfills or incinerators, which negatively impacts the environment. These deposits of electronic waste release materials such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and many other toxins into the soil, groundwater, and the atmosphere.

A large number of materials of computer hardware can be recycled for further use. Hardware such as tin, aluminum, silicon, iron, and various plastics are used in bulk in computers and other gadgets that can reduce the cost of constructing new systems if recycled and reused. Valuable components such as gold, silver, copper, platinum, palladium, tantalum, lead, etc. are used that are suitable for restoration.

Components of computers contain a large number of toxic substances. Polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins, cadmium, chromium, mercury, lead, and radioactive isotopes are toxic computer components and other electronics. They are most likely to leach into groundwater, creating water, air, and land pollution. They may synthesize toxic products after incineration and acid treatments.

Sometimes workers smash old products that contaminate the soil and propel toxins to the soil, harming people who walk barefooted. Burning away wire insulation and doing acid baths of circuits to resell it are other contamination methods. Acid bath residue may enter the water supply and cause water pollution. Burning away wire insulation releases toxins into the air and causes air pollution. These methods lead to the degradation of the environment.


This is such an important initiative taken by the United States environmental protection agency to collect all those e-waste that has a cord, light, or uses some kind of battery. Due to technology’s rapid rate of obsolescence, investment in e- cycling facilities is increasing continuously.

E-cycling is defined as recycling and reusing electronic equipment and components rather than throwing them away at the end of their life cycle.

The process involved for effective computer recycling is-

  • All the aluminum is separated from the metals with the help of an electromagnet.
  • Hard drives are shredded properly.
  • Hardware for destruction is received in locked and securely transported vehicles.
  • The remaining hard drive parts of electronics are molded into aluminum ingots.

Final verdict

It is very important to keep up with the times and stay connected online as technology continuously transforms our society. But you don’t need to throw away your gadgets and computers because there are numerous ways to get your computers and laptops recycled. You just need to check out the gadgets news. Various organizations recycle computers, and this article discusses the advantages and reasons for gadgets recycling. This article dealt with the benefits of recycling computers.

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