We live in the world of IoT, where manufacturers are continuously investing in how everything shall be done using mobile devices. This means the next generation of mobile devices are becoming increasingly complex, and at the same time, older generation devices such as laptops are suffering from a lower product lifecycle. We tend to buy new gadgets, and sometimes either keep the older ones or discard them in thrash.
This is particularly dangerous because older gadgets have dangerous metals like Mercury, lead, cadmium, lithium, copper, and arsenic, which if not disposed of properly, has harmful effects not only to you but also to the environment. Many manufacturers have initiated a buy-back recycle program, where the buyer is given discounts on new purchases of their products. But that is just roughly 1% of the manufacturers who have dedicatedly worked towards e-waste recycling. In developing countries, there is hardly any incentive to recycle e-waste, which causes a deluge of the unorganized sector for e-waste management, which in turn does more harm than good.
However, there are some important points to consider before you think to dispose off your old laptops.
- Wipe off all Your Personal Data:
Before discarding your laptops, do make sure that the hard-disk is erased completely. You do not want your personal photos/videos to land in the hands of anyone else.
- Do Not Discard Laptop Battery in the Thrash-Can
Laptop batteries are made up of Lithium-ion, which in the wrong hands, is an explosive device. Hence, before discarding, do make sure that the battery is properly disposed off separately.
- Reuse is Better than Recycle:
Rather than discarding the laptop completely, you can reuse the working components to build your own personal desktop or just an extended monitor device.
- Do Not Attempt to Disassemble Old Laptops without Proper Training:
Laptops contain harmful carcinogenic chemicals and metals in components, which may adversely harm you if you do not have proper training of the correct and safe way of disassembly. You can recycle old laptop by selling it to companies and make a profit of your old useless laptop easily.
Laptops also contain precious metals such as copper, aluminum and even gold in the housings. Hence, one can separate them to be given back to the government, so that precious metal mining can be reduced. E-waste recycling reduces the waste in the landfill, thus making landfill maintenance cheaper. The main reason as to why people avoid recycling e-waste is because it is time-consuming and tedious. Critical components recycling such as power-ICs and step-down transformer are universal in all gadgets. These need to be recycled and re-used in other components.
Mandatory regulations with respect to recycling of e-waste needs to be implemented. This would force manufacturers to follow important regulations and safety guidelines while processing e-waste. This would not only reduce the chances of accidentally poisoning of an individual but also make sure that there is proper recycling and re-use of the essential products. This would, in turn, bring down the overall cost of the manufacturing of new gadgets by re-using old components in it.