Computers don’t last forever. Whether the technology becomes outdated or your computer breaks, there comes a time when you need to buy a new one. The question is, what do you do with your old computer? Recycling your computer is the most responsible approach.

Why Recycling is the Best Approach
Your computer is a technological marvel and it’s safe to say that your life would be much different without it. However, once your computer is ready to be replaced, it becomes a toxic time bomb. The average computer is made from toxic chemicals, carcinogens and heavy metals.

The elements that go into making a computer are essential, however when they’re not disposed of properly, they’re toxic. Recycling is the only safe approach.
Recycling also helps conserve resources. Making computers requires an abundance of resources and materials, which all require energy to produce. When you recycle your computer many of those parts help make new computers. This helps conserve resources and energy and reduces your carbon footprint.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 US homes in a year.”

Before You Recycle
There are a few steps to take before you recycle your computer. The first step is to wipe the computer clean of all your personal information. You can use any number of online software programs to scrub your hard drive clean. All sensitive information will be eradicated, so be sure to back up your information onto another source before you destroy it. The information cannot be retrieved once your computer has been wiped clean.
You’ll also want to remove the battery if your computer has a battery power source. You will likely have to recycle the battery in a different manner.

Finally, locate a local recycling center or computer recycling source.

A Recycle Center Near You
Most big box office supply or electronics stores offer reliable recycling programs. Best Buy and Staples are two to consider. You can also contact the manufacturer directly. For example, if you have a Dell computer you can contact them to learn how best to recycle your computer. Finally, your community may have a computer recycling program or center. Some communities offer special days throughout the year where residents can take electronics and other unique items for recycling. Check with your local government or community organizations to see if that’s an option.

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