Currently, the useful life of a computer is only 3 to 5 years and shrinking. In 2005, more than 63 million personal computers are projected to be retired, according to a recent study by the National Safety Council.
If you have old, outdated electronic products (e.g., personal computers and peripherals, laptops, fax machines, copiers, televisions, telephones and audio/visual equipment) in your office or home, you’re not alone. According to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, approximately 75 percent of obsolete electronics are currently being stored or warehoused until there is agreement on the best way to manage this material.
Electronic products can contain over a dozen hazardous or toxic materials. The cathode ray tube (CRTs) in monitors can be up to 27 percent lead, and in a form that can leach into the water table if dumped in a landfill. Other chemicals such as cadmium and lithium (in rechargable batteries), mercury (in switches and lamps) as well as chromium and antimony can be found in amounts that may cause them to test hazardous under Federal law.
Many electronic products also contain parts that could be profitably refurbished and reused with little effort. When we throw away old electronic equipment, we’re throwing away these resources and generating additional pollution associated with the need to access virgin materials and manufacture new products.
Recycling, Used Computer Equipment
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