Recycling your old gadgets is vital for the environment, but what happens when you recycle a laptop and send it off in the post?
Ultimately, it depends on the state of your laptop and whether we can repair them. If it’s a simple screen smash or useless battery we can work with some of the spare parts we have to restore them to a good working condition. In recent years recycling gadgets has become popular; it’s even got a new name, e-waste and e-cycling!
Laptop prices have reduced in recent years and technological advances have propelled the industry. With frequent product updates and next generations beeing released every 6 months, consumers are inclined to update their gadgets to the latest technology. The fast pace in which new devices are released creates e-waste which are recycled, thrown away or stored. In the USA there are up to 20 million computers disposed of every year.
When you recycle a laptop or PC it goes through a screening process, it’s wiped of all data and broken parts are removed. The laptops that aren’t salvageable are broken down into working parts and precious metals. Working elements are removed to repair other laptops or gadgets with minor issues.
Laptops and PC’s contain a high amount of metal and you’d be surprised what you can strip out of even the smallest gadgets. Plastics, cables, motherboards and metals can all be removed from them before the outer shell and battery of the laptop is recycled safely.
When you put your products in the post you should wipe all data before sending it; very rarely products go missing in the mail but it’s important to ensure your data is safe. When we receive your gadgets we also wipe them just to be sure.
It’s actually hard to tell as laptops vary in size these days; what we do know is that on average a laptop or PC circuit board can contain 2-3kg of lead. In addition to this, they also contain levels of mercury, arsenic, cadmium, beryllium and other environmentally unfriendly chemicals.
We can often use the motherboard and other parts including precious metals and wiring in other laptops. We also donate parts to charities that can use them, ensuring they never go to waste.
They are all really bad if they aren’t dealt with properly but for us, one of the toughest elements of a laptop to recycle is the flame retardant insulation inside the case; this material can release dioxins that are extremely dangerous to our environment if incinerated incorrectly.