Every few years desktops, laptops, smart phones, tablets and electronic equipment become “obsolete”. The shiny new Apple iPhone you got today will be an obsolete piece of junk in a few years, and in turn will need to be disposed of responsibly. Unfortunately most people do not consider this when they purchase their new technology device, and this lack of thought is causing a real problem for the environment.
Outdated, unwanted and broken computers and other electronic equipment are known as e-waste short for electronic waste. E-waste that is not disposed of properly is considered hazardous because it contains heavy metals, plastics, and other materials that can harm humans, animals and the environment.
Unfortunately the average life span of a computer, tablet, or smart phone these days is only about 2 to 4 years. Computers, phones, and tablets that break after this short life span are usually discarded rather than repaired due to the relatively low price of electronics. Obsolete and unwanted electronics usually end up destined for landfills and this causes big problems for the environment.
Why can’t I throw my computer, phone, tablet in the trash?
Please DO NOT throw your computer, phone, or tablet in the trash! Computers and electronic devices contain hazardous materials that are dangerous to the environment, humans, and other animals if not disposed of correctly. Here are some common hazardous materials that are found inside most computers.
Cadmium – Found in chip resistors, infrared detectors, and semiconductors. Cadmium is persistent, bio-accumulative, and toxic.
Lead – Found in glass panels in computer monitors and in lead soldering of printed circuit boards. Lead can accumulate in the environment and have a detrimental effect on plants, animals, humans and water resources. One computer monitor can contain up to 8 pounds of lead! Consumer electronics may be responsible for 40% of the lead found in landfills. The principal pathway of concern is lead leaching from landfills and contaminating drinking water supplies.
Mercury – Found in position sensors, relays and switches (e.g., on printed circuit boards) and batteries. When mercury makes its way into waterways, it is transformed into methylated mercury in the sediments. Methylated mercury accumulates in living organisms and travels up the food chain.
Hexavalent Chromium or Chromium VI – Used to protect against corrosion of untreated and galvanized steel plates. Major pathways are through landfill leaching or from fly ash generated when materials containing Chromium VI are incinerated.
Brominated Flame Retardants – Found on printed circuit boards, components such as plastic covers and cables. Once released into the environment through landfill leaching and incineration they become concentrated in the food chain.
Think twice before you toss your computer in the dump because it might come back to haunt you in your water and food in the future.
My computer still works, but I just don’t want it anymore!
If your computer still works great, then South City Computer will probably not send your computer off to the e-cycler. In the spirit of “reduce reuse recycle” South City Computer will repair your computer in order to donate it to a good cause. South City Computer will erase all the personal data on the computer and factory restore the OS or will put Ubuntu Linux to make a functional “Free Kids Computer”. These functional computers are then donated to families in the greater St. Louis area who are in need or want a computer for their kids who are enrolled in school. South City Computer also donates computers to families who have lost their home in a disaster such as a fire. Contact South City Computer today if your family is in need of a free computer for students currently enrolled in school.
What happens to my broken computer when I recycle it at South City Computer?
If your device has been determined dead on arrival (DOA) and there is no affordable fix, then recycling your technology device responsibly will be your next step of action. South City Computer works with a local e-cycler to responsibly dispose of the e-waste that it collects as an added benefit to it’s customers. Before sending your electronic device to e-cycling, South City Computer will attempt to erase your personal data.
How can I help with the environmental e-waste problem?
Instead of running out to buy the next newest gadget, consider purchasing a refurbished computer. A refurbished computer is already considered obsolete to corporate computing standards, however still functions great. A refurbished computer can be a great affordable option as a family computer or student computer as well.
If you have an old computer that is running slow, outdated or obsolete Windows, or Mac OS, you can also consider using alternative free software to bring new life to your old computer to get more use out of it. Ubuntu is a free Linux operating system that is easy to install and has thousands of free software programs to make a fully functional personal computer.
Customers can e-cycle these electronic devices at South City Computer
- Desktop PC
- Smart Phones
- Flat Screen Monitors
- Misc Computer Parts (RAM, Hard Drives, Power Supplies)
- Power cords and misc cables
SORRY WE CANNOT TAKE PRINTERS OR CRT MONITORS
Please call to schedule an appointment before dropping off e-waste! 314-400-7918