If nothing changes, the evidence of the future devastation of the climate crisis is irrefutable, and scientists and environmentalists are pleading with us to try to make a difference. As an average person with no say in policy, it can be difficult to figure out how you alone can change anything against such a monumental tide. But is doing your small part to protect the environment, something like recycling, really going to make a difference? The answer is yes. A big way to help to do your part for the environment is to participate in computer or laptop recycling. Here's why.
Laptops Contain Precious Metals
Precision electronics like cell phones and laptops contain precious and rare earth metals like gold, indium, and neodymium. Did you know that these three precious metals are among the most rare elements on the planet Earth? In fact, they make up only 0.00001% of the earth's crust. Mining for these metals expends vast resources, costs billions of dollars, and creates almost total devastation to the environment where these mines are found. Recycling your laptop or electronic device is the best way to decrease the need to mine. Recycling these metals creates one-third less impact on the environment than mining them.
Reduces the Toxic Chemicals Leached Into Landfills
Electronics contain a myriad of toxic chemicals and humans practically throw them away like banana peels. In fact, every year 151 million cellphones are thrown in the trash in just the U.S. alone, and those cell phones end up in America's 2,500 landfills. Computers and electronics are full of toxic chemicals like beryllium, cadmium, mercury, brominated flame retardants, and lead. When you toss an old computer into the trash, it ends up in a landfill leaching those chemicals into the ground and potentially the groundwater too, the groundwater that we have to drink.
Reduces the Need for New Parts
Many companies that specialize in laptop or computer recycling won't just dispose of your device, they'll also the reuse parts of it that can still be useful. There's a code of ethics among e-waste recyclers that dictates that the parts that can be reused, refurbished, and recovered, will be salvaged. If a consumer can buy a used or recycled part instead of buying a new one, it reduces the entire carbon footprint of manufacturing a new part, like the precious metals needed to be mined, the chemicals needed to be made, etc. It's easier to just throw an old device in the trash, but if you're really concerned about the future of the planet, you should take it to a computer recycling facility.