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Recycling Computer Hardware

Computer components are just one example of a product that benefits a great deal from proper recycling. While some types of product do not lend themselves particularly well to the recycling process, present-day computers offer extremely good potential for responsible disposal. Despite this, there are certain chemicals found in most computers that must be disposed of carefully and with expertise.

Recycling ComputersLisaAuch / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Good And Bad Of Computer Recycling

On the one hand, computers might seem like the perfect candidates for recycling. They are composed largely of glass, plastic and various metals, which can typically be reused very effectively. This has not always been the case, however. While broadly speaking the materials used in computers have always been the same, different kinds of plastic can nonetheless be recycled with different levels of effectiveness. Modern machines are much more conducive to good practices than those made several years ago. What may not be so obvious is that even smaller components such as circuit boards and the miscellaneous electronic parts can be recycled as well. However, there are some parts that present problems. Batteries are notorious for making disposal difficult for example, and for this reason it is important to use a dedicated recycling company for any used computers you may have.

Expertise And Care

Batteries, monitors and other components are often made with a variety of very unpleasant chemicals. Toxic fluids and gases can wreak havoc on the environment over many years and decades. In some cases, we are only discovering the depth of the problems caused now, after many years of damage has already been done. Therefore, the disposal process must take great care to treat these materials appropriately. In many cases, even these chemicals can be reused to produce new components. However, this is only true if the recycling company complies with WEEE (The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive) standards and takes pride in doing the job effectively and responsibly.


There is great potential for every single part of a computer to be recycled. Supporting responsible computer recycling and disposal should be seen as the default behaviour in this modern world in which everyone has a brand-new desktop, laptop or smartphone every year or two. Look for companies that offer full WEEE directive compliance and take a responsible route to reusing electronic components for use in new products. The best companies not only have regular checks to ensure the continued effectiveness of their operation, but can also follow the materials they process through the manufacturing process and into new consumer electronics. Disposing of your computer by dumping it on a landfill is simply not practical. Instead, look to a dedicated company to recycle it into something new.

Guest article brought to you by computer recycling and disposal experts OCM Business Systems.

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