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Sponsor Post: How Computer Recycling Works

Recycling some materials is pretty straightforward. You can take a glass bottle, melt it down, and make a new glass bottle! However, when it comes to computer recycling, things are quite a bit more complicated. Because computers and other electronics are made up of such widely varying parts and pieces, they have to be recycled much more carefully. Computer recycling can be a time-consuming process, but it helps the environment and creates jobs by keeping computer recycling companies busy.

Breaking It Down

There is no single way to recycle every computer or piece of technological equipment that comes through the doors of an electronics recycling company. This is because different items are made of different materials. Generally, though, the recycling company will break down the computer into component parts, separating them by type.

The plastic used to house computer towers and monitors is often recycled into new housing for these same items because it's of the right grade for electronics. Metal parts are usually stripped from the inside of the computer and resold to companies who will use them in a variety of different ways. The glass used in computer screens often needs to go through a very careful recycling process, since it can contain lead that needs to be removed before the glass can be recycled.

How Much Is Recycled?

On an environmental level, computer recycling is very efficient, and 90%-99% of the materials from electronics can either be recycled or reused in different industries. Some pieces of computers, especially older computers, must be disposed of carefully, since they are hazardous waste.

One way to judge the environmental responsibility of an electronics recycling company is to ask what percentage of the electronics they take in ends up recycled or reused in some fashion. If that number is under 90%, you should find a different recycler who will work harder to be environmentally responsible with the electronics they process.

About Recycle San Diego

Recycle San Diego is the area’s preeminent provider of recycling services, including electronics recycling, battery recycling, ewaste drop-off and pickup services and business waste management. Recycle San Diego also offers ewaste collection events, hard drive destruction and paper shredding services. Learn more at RecycleSanDiego.org.

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