The importance of computer recycling in promoting your business’s environmental sustainability
30 March 2022
Computer recycling is extremely important in promoting a business’s environmental sustainability. Computers are used daily across the globe but like all modern technology, they are prone to various problems where they can then stop working and become damaged beyond repair. Then, these once functional machines are often disposed of in landfill.
According to data from the International Data Corporation, in 2020, four million new PCs were sold in the UK in the fourth quarter alone. However, research has also revealed that in the last 5 years, 12.5 million computers have been thrown into UK landfills.
Luckily, computer recycling and hard drive shredding is one of STE Waste Management’s many services, so here is some helpful advice on why recycling unwanted computers is great for your businesses environmental credibility.
Computer Recycling reduces the need for more materials
Computers and their components use a range of different materials, mainly metals like copper for the wiring, as well as plastic, typically used for the casing. Recycling these materials when disposing of computers, means less raw materials need to be extracted, refined and processed, which prevents air and water pollution, as well as saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Therefore, if a business needs to replace an existing computer, or multiple, it’s more practical to have them professionally broken down and recycled, to allow for greater sustainability as well as a more positive professional reputation in accordance with ESG.
Computer Recycling uses less energy and fuel resources for making new ones
Out of all the various materials used to build computers, approximately 2% of the total material is un-recyclable. This means that the other 98% can be either broken down and used to create new materials, or be removed entirely and placed into a different casing. Reusing these materials as opposed to destroying and creating new ones, is far more cost-effective and reduces the amount of energy required for manufacturing. A lot of the parts held within the casing of a computer can also be used to make other products. The plastic casing, glass from the screen, copper in the wiring, keyboard buttons, internal batteries and more can all be removed, reused or recycled before needing to destroy them or add them to a landfill
Computer Recycling reduces the amount of space used for landfill
Landfills are a growing problem in the UK as well as around the world. In 2019, it was estimated that the amount of space in England taken up by landfill sites was 365 million m3.
In 2019, the amount of electronic waste produced was 53.6 million tons, which was reported as 2 million more tons than 2018, which is the weight of 200 Eiffel Towers. By recycling unwanted or broken computers, electronic waste can be drastically reduced and its contribution to landfill can also hope to decline.
Computer Recycling prevents toxic chemicals exposure
Computers often contain a range of chemicals that help with a variety of different functions such as acting as anti-corrosion agents, being used for chemical energy for the battery and keeping circuit boards running.
Examples of the chemicals found in computers and IT equipment are lead, mercury, beryllium, and cadmium. Exposure to these chemicals by the environment and living creatures is incredibly dangerous and is one of the main reasons why simply disposing of electronics anywhere is an extremely bad idea. Therefore, handing over computers, monitors and other electronics to be disposed of safely, is paramount.
Environmental sustainability and data security
Computers and hard drives are vital office equipment that are extremely useful for modern day to day life. However, in the current environmental climate, when businesses are expected to adhere to crucial information regarding sustainability, it’s very important for organisations to consider the damage that in-proper computer disposal can have on the environment.
If you’re currently considering disposing of your professional or personal computers or hard drives, STE Waste can help shred them for you, to ensure environmental sustainability as well as prevent potential data theft. More information can be found via our computer recycling & hard drive shredding page.