So You Recycled Your Old Laptop Here’s Where It Might’ve Gone
SHANGHAI In a sparse and sprawling factory complex on the outskirts of Shanghai, thousands of tiny plastic resin pellets are shivering along narrow conveyor belts, ready to be transformed into something new.
The dark pellets are unremarkable at first glance, resembling any plastic granule used for manufacturing. But follow their journey from consumer to conveyor belt, and their significance particularly for the worlds burgeoning electronic waste crisis, and what companies and their customers can do to address it becomes clear.
The pellets are made from a blend of virgin plastic and the recycled product of some of the millions of pounds of e-waste that Dell, the American computer giant, collects from consumers every year.
In 2017, Dell said it gathered more than 177 million pounds of used electronics from people in 83 participating countries and territories. If you were one of these consumers, this Chinese factory run by Dells Taiwanese recycling partner, Wistron Corp. might be where parts of your old laptop or PC ended up.
Resin pellets on a conveyor belt in an e-waste recycling facility outside Shanghai. These materials were made from recycled e-waste scrap and will likely be turned into plastic parts for new Dell laptops and PCs.Strips of recycled plastic are cooled in water before being dried and turned into pellets.
Closed-loop recycling could, therefore, be a win-win for companies and the planet.
How Do I Donate A Computer
We welcome donations of IT equipment at our offices, at our local events, by courier or by booking a collection.
One of the easiest and most convenient ways to make a donation is by attending one of our events. We hold regular IT appeals across the UK. Simply visit our appeals page to see if we have an event coming up near you or follow us on Facebook to stay up to date.
If you are based in Kent then you can also drop off your donation during regular office hours at 4 Priory Park, Mills Road, Aylesford, Kent ME20 7PP.
If you are further afield then why not use a courier? If you would like to donate via a courier service, we recommend using Parcel2Go.
If you are a business or have a larger donation of 10 computers or more, please e-mail or call us to discuss booking a collection.
Wiping And Destroying Your Hard Drive
If you choose to release your hardware into the wild, it is crucial to wipe your hard drive first. Chances are that aside from whatever movies, music, games, and pictures you have on there, there is also some sensitive personal information.
Dont be tempted to think that simply tossing files in your computers trash bin will suffice. Traces of data will still be left on the hard drive, and savvy users will be able to recover that information. Identity theft is a profitable and common enterprise, so dont run the risk of someone scavenging your important data.
If youd rather wipe the data yourself, there is software available for that very purpose. Data-wiping software makes passes through your hard drive, overwriting every bit of data with zeroes and ones as it does. The recommended standard for wiping data comes from the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual, also known as DoD 5220.22-M. These guidelines require that software makes three passes through the hard drive in question, though if youre feeling extra cautious, you can make even more.
While there are plenty of both free and premium programs that promise to wipe your drive, they vary in terms of actual performance and security. We recommend starting with WipeDrive, which offers a free home version you can download with a code and an impressive set of data wiping features for basically every type of software on your computer.
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How To Recycle Your Old Phone
Smartphones are full of recyclable materials including rare, valuable metals such as gold, silver, platinum and copper. 99% of these can be reused if you recycle your phone correctly. They may wind up in new tech products, or they could have a new life as something entirely different. For example, the plastic used in mobile phone casing can be processed into pellets which is used to make products like pallets. Not only does this mean less plastics are being produced, it cuts down on the energy required to make new plastics as recycling is far more efficient.
Mobile Muster is the main mobile phone recycling service in Australia. It’s a free industry-backed organisation that recycles mobile phones, smartphones, phone batteries and accessories. The program operates across Australia at many major retailers and businesses such as Australia Post. All you need to do is box up your old phone and drop it in the collection bin.
There’s also a free mail in option that’s run in conjunction with Australia Post:
- Most new phones sold in Australia come with a pre-paid Mobile Muster bag in the box that you can use to return your old device.
- You can also request a free, pre-paid postage label by filling out the post back form online. Once it arrives you just pack up your phone, stick the label on and pop it in a red post box.
The Recycling Near You database lists Mobile Muster drop-off points in your area.
How To Recycle Electronics
Before looking into how to recycle electronics, first consider donation. Organizations like the World Computer Exchange offer a tax receipt if you mail in or drop off your computers, scanners, webcams, and other items. Theres also Dell Reconnect, which works with Goodwill to repair old tech products and redistribute them to communities in need of devices.
If donating isnt an option, heres how to go about recycling the most common types of electronics.
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How To Recycle Phones
Phones and their batteries are some of the easiest electronics to recycle, according to .
Remember to transfer any data and photos on your old phone to a new phone, or otherwise save your photos before performing a factory reset. Remember to also remove the SIM card .
The company accepts all phones and batteries regardless of size, make, model or age. Call2Recycle can refurbish the device for resale or recycle the materials for a new device. If you look hard enough, you can even get paid for recycling your phone.
If your phone is new enough, you may be able to trade it in to a carrier, if you’re buying a new phone, or sell it on the open market. Otherwise, if it’s lost a lot of value, recycling may be your best bet for getting a dusty phone off your hands.
Cables are fair game, too.
Whole Foods works with Secure the Call to send 911 emergency-only phones to senior citizens and residents of domestic violence shelters. Just make sure you bring the charger.
You can also donate gently used phones to Cell Phones for Soldiers: The program helps service members call their families for free. Local communities may also accept phone donations as part of a citywide drive. Additionally, you could also check with your employer to see how it handles e-waste. You may be able to add a few items to the collection.
The Future: Nothing But Green Fields And Blue Streams
Its okay to get angry when you think about computer parts filling a landfill. Use that anger as motivation to let laptop manufacturers know you want a better option. In addition to putting your money where your conscience is by purchasing green laptops, you can encourage companies to build laptops that use 100% recyclable parts.
Impossible, you say? Youre obviously not a graduate student at Stanford University. A group of students there recently build a fully recyclable laptop. They call it the Bloom laptop.
Not only is the Bloom made of 100% recyclable parts, but the average user can take it apart in two minutes. That allows them to remove certain parts without chucking the whole computer. Its very modular, so users can customize it to suit their specific needs.
You can learn more about the Bloom by watching this YouTube video. In it, Aaron Engle-Hall, the projects manager, also explains that it is difficult to recycle many computer parts because they use so many different types of materials.
When you have plastics and various metals soldered together, it becomes nearly impossible to separate them for recycling. Engle-Halls team solved that problem, and they won the 2010 October Autodesk Inventor of the Month award for their efforts.
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Large Appliances And Metal Items
DPW recycles large household scrap metal items which are also known as “white goods.” Call 422-1217 if you have a boiler, refrigerator, stove, metal bed frame, metal shelving or other large metal item to schedule an appointment before placing items at the curb.NOTE: The City temporarily stores all E-waste items and “white goods” at the Gedney Way Recycling Yard.
How To Recycle Electronics From Old Phones To Laptops
Todays technology has equipped us with a set of new rules: no matter how recent a model is, its rendered old when a new version appears.
Most phone and laptop companies dictate that to stay informed, present, and up-to-date, we should continuously update our equipment as new models are released. But what does this idealized consumer-manufacturer pair do with all of their older models?
Electronic waste, or e-waste, is a term used to describe consumer and business electronic equipment thats close to the end of its useful life. Virtually any disposed-of product with a battery or plug qualifies, and it adds up: The world generated 53.6 metric tonnes of electronic waste in 2019. Of that, only 17% was recovered and subsequently recycled.
Unfortunately, e-waste that isnt recycled can contribute to global CO2 emissions. These materials also leach toxic materials into the environment, which the EPA says can expose people to high levels of contaminants that threaten their health. E-waste is an environmental justice issue as well. Discarded electronicsmainly from Western Europe and the United Statesconsistently end up in communities that arent equipped to process it, which exposes members to the toxins present in unprocessed e-waste.
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Tv Recycling Is Possible
Televisions are larger electronics, so it might take a bit more elbow grease to get the job done, but don’t let that intimidate you. As with donating and recycling phones and laptops, there are a few things you need to know about getting rid of an old TV. If the set still works, consider donating it to a secondhand store.
If you’re able to restore it to factory settings, do so for smart TVs that are likely to contain personal information. Unplug everything, bundle the cords neatly and tape them to the unit. Use a dolly and be careful while you’re moving the TV — the potentially toxic materials in the TV could release into your house if you drop it.
A Google search will show a number of local recycling and donation centers that accept larger electronics. Best Buy, for example, allows customers to drop off their TVs in-store to be recycled for $30 per item. Best Buy will also pick up TVs for recycle from your house for $30 when a replacement is being delivered by Geek Squad or Best Buy Home Delivery. If there’s no accompanying delivery, the pickup will cost $100.
Never throw old phones in the trash.
How Do I Donate My It Equipment
We partner with many corporate donors to collect vast amounts of redundant stock, from switches to servers, its likely our IT Team can find a way to reuse your equipment. If youre a business considering an IT donation please contact our team to discuss the process and schedule a collection.
For individuals who want to donate one-off items, you can send these through our postal donation process, drop in-store or at one of our two donation stations. We always recommend that you delete any personal data prior to donation, please see our mobile prep device guide if youre unsure of how to do this or contact our team if you need further advice.
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Find A Pc Recycle Center Near Me
Why cant I just throw my computer away? Well, thats because it contains hazardous waste, like heavy metals. And some of these metals are in short supply. Some examples are tin, silicon, iron, and aluminum. By 2009, 38% of computers were recycled in the United States. Computer recycling is considered environmentally friendly and keeps toxins and carcinogens from entering the atmosphere. Recycling one computer with its monitor can save 539 pounds of fossil fuel, 48 pounds of chemicals, and 1.5 tons of water.
What Should I Do Before I Get Rid Of My Device
When you’re finished a gadget, make sure it’s also finished with you. Even though it might be old, someone just needs a charger to reboot your old phone or computer to get to your personal data.
The moral of this story: Make sure to back up anything you want off the device — photos, videos, songs — and then perform a factory reset. Don’t worry, we’ll give you pointers on wiping your device in the sections on phones, laptops and cameras below.
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What To Do With Old Laptops And It
Donating old laptops that can be re-sold by The Air Ambulance helps to fund key life-saving work. If its in working condition, we would truly appreciate your old laptops and computers whether you are a business undertaking a hardware overhaul, or an individual looking to replace your mobile phone, our service is there for you.
Old Hardware New Uses
While you may want to keep your computer armed with only the most powerful hardware, theres no reason you cant make use of parts you replace. Obsolete is not the same as broken, and with a little ingenuity, you can get a lot of mileage out of spare parts. If you find yourself with a lot of parts on hand, you can cobble together a basic computer to use as a home file server. A functional home server doesnt require high-end parts, and it will provide you with abundant file space to store any data you have. It is possible to find some uses for nearly any individual piece of hardware, too. You can convert an old internal hard drive into an external hard drive, for instance, with an external enclosure.
If you want to get really creative, you can do a lot more with old parts than simply find new ways to incorporate them into your computer. By combining old fans, for example, you can construct a makeshift air filter. You can even use hardware to make art pieces or do-it-yourself projects, such as digital picture frames made from old computer monitors. With a little creativity and an aesthetic appreciation of wires and circuits, you can use these old parts to create furniture and paraphernalia with a cyberpunk style.
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Can I Recycle A Laptop For Money
Some programs also offer cash in exchange for your old laptop. As previously mentioned, Best Buy does buy some used laptops, but they’re not the only company. Amazon is another company offering a trade-in. With Amazon, you’ll have to submit your item, and once received and inspected, you’ll receive Amazon credit for the value assigned to the laptop.
Keep in mind if you want to trade your laptop in for cash or store credit, you’ll need to have a newer model machine, and it will need to be in good working condition. If your old laptop no longer works, you won’t get any money in return for it.
Additionally, most computer manufacturers have a trade-in program that could net you credit toward purchasing a shiny new laptop. Apple is well-known for this, but other manufactures may also have similar programs.
What Happens When Computers Are Recycled
Computers and accessories that are in working order can often be refurbished with new software and some replacement parts. These repackaged computers are generally made available to low-income communities, individuals and community organisations. Electronic waste that is collected for recycling generally undergoes a manual dismantling process. The individual materials such as printed circuit boards, cabling, glass and plastics are recovered and then processed so that they can be used as raw materials to produce new products.
In 2011 the Australian Government introduced a national, industry funded, recycling scheme for televisions and computers. Find out more here.
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Are Motherboards Kind To Mother Earth
A good motherboard is essential to your laptops performance. But, what happens when the motherboard goes kaput? Motherboards contain precious metals, such as gold and copper, which refiners are more than happy to take off your hands. The question, though, is whether they will bother refining the rest of your motherboards materials.
Ideally, the recycler would salvage every piece of recyclable material in the motherboard. The reality, though, is that a lot of companies dont do that. Instead, they crush the motherboard into smithereens, and then use a magnet to pull the valuable metals out. Some even melt the whole thing down , so that they can skim precious metals from the goop.
This essentially means that motherboards are highly recyclable. Whether or not they get recycled depends on you and the recycler you choose.