Recycling Old Computers in Minnesota – Good Solutions for a Toxic Problem
Today’s personal computers have an average lifespan of between three and five years. In that period of time, advances in both hardware and software make the typical PC obsolete. Each year, some 30 to 40 million PC’s become obsolete and are taken out of service. They’re replaced by the latest hardware that’s capable of running new operating systems and software.
All too often, obsolete PCs end up stacked like cordwood in business storage rooms and home basements. Business users and home users alike are confused about what to do with PCs and peripherals that have become obsolete.
In Minnesota, it has been illegal to dispose of computer hardware in regular trash pickups since 2007. From CPUs and laptops to monitors of all kinds, printers, scanners, and other peripherals, all are prohibited from landfills in Minnesota, and in most other areas.
Why? It’s because computer hardware contains a number of toxic materials which pose hazards to the environment over long periods of time. For example, the typical CRT computer monitor contains over 4 pounds of lead. Other toxic materials in computer hardware include mercury, cadmium, chromium, and even organic compounds like polychlorinated biphenyls. All can leach from landfills into aquifers or escape into the air and cause serious health and environmental problems.
Minnesota Computer Recycling Is The Answer
The 21st Century answer for this knotty problem is simple. By recycling old computer hardware, environmental hazards can be avoided. Even better, valuable metals and other materials can be recovered from computer waste. Computer waste even includes 17 times more gold than the typical gold ore from mining operations.
As in many other areas, Minnesota has a wealth of recycling centers for your old computer hardware. You can find one near you right here on this site. We provide easy-to-access maps and lists of recycling centers in the Metro area and throughout the state.
Unlike your weekly curbside recycling, though, recycling obsolete computer hardware isn’t free, and you have to haul the hardware to a recycling location yourself, in most cases. Fees vary, and there are occasional free drop-off days in some areas, but both home and business owners have to get the hardware there. Fortunately, there’s a recycling center near you, no matter where you are in Minnesota.
The bottom line is that recycling old hardware is just part of the cost of using PCs today. But, the advantages of clearing out storage areas and safeguarding the environment make the chore of recycling obsolete equipment more than worthwhile.