Every year companies from the United States pay land owners in countries such as China and Mexico to accept old computer equipment. They are often shipped overseas due to the associated costs to be disposed of on U.S. soil. These high costs in the U.S. are due to the detrimental environmental effect they have on the environment and the attempt to reduce use and encourage recycling. Recycling computers and their additional parts can be a lengthy process and some find it is much easier to add them to landfill than to reuse them. Recycling computers involves taking apart the entire unit and salvaging as much as possible to reuse. Fair amounts of hazardous metals such as nickel cadmium, mercury and lead are used in computers and when left to break down in dumps and landfills they will make their way into the environment and poison the soil and water ways.Once these toxic metals make their way into a living organism’s body they stay there forever, so people who begin to suffer from the effects of these poisons will live with them in their systems until they die. Other metals found in Computers include arsenic, gold, copper, zinc, germanium and titanium. When not salvaged, some of these metals left in outdoor environments will break down into smaller fragments which make their way into water systems. This is often the case in poorer countries allowing for computers to be dumped near where they live.
The local people will in turn suffer the consequences for consuming the water that the toxic metals now exist in. Recycling as much of these computers will help both the environment and the people greatly as it will reduce the release of poisons into the ecosystems and spare the locals from suffering the long term and short term effects of having them entering their bodies. Even the plastics used in computers are incredibly toxic if burned. These release chemicals go airborne and get into crops, waterways and even you lungs. The form of dioxin that is formed when burning this plastic can kill quickly or cause a slow distressful death depending on the individual’s intake. Recycling computers is a serious issue that must be managed better by authorities, companies, governments and by individuals. If recycling computers and their associated equipment can be managed better the environment will be spared from the fast destruction it is currently facing. Minimizing waste and utilizing it instead will make initial costs for production cheaper as it will be less expensive to purchase recycled materials and more importantly the earth and its future can be saved.
This Article is written by John C Arkin.
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