Broken Computer

Image Credit: Youngthousands

Last time your computer died, what did you do with it? Did you use it for parts? Did you recycle it? Or did you just throw it away with the rest of the household trash.

If you just threw it away, you may want to reconsider your actions the next time you are placed in a similar situation.

Each year in the U.S. alone, over 50 million computers are disposed. Not recycled, not reused, but thrown, ultimately, into a landfill.

The problem is that computers (and other electronics) are full of all sorts of heavy metals and chemicals which can leech into the earth. In fact, several regions of Asia are reporting high levels of lead pollution because of the large levels of electronic scrap in those areas.

That’s because the U.S. (and several other countries), routinely export broken and scrap electronics to other countries, so that cheap labor can be used to process out any usable parts and valuable metals for reselling. Anything unusable ends up in the soil, polluting the earth and causing health problems for the residents.

Next time you’re faced with a dead computer, try one of these solutions instead of the trash.


Typically when a computer “dies” the whole thing isn’t unusable, just certain key components. Rather than trash the entire thing, why not see if you have a use for the parts.

If your hard drive still works, put it in your new computer, or use it as a backup drive.  If you’re technically inclined, and your computer is new enough, you could use the working parts to lower the cost of building your new system.

Also remember that just because your computer died, doesn’t mean you have to get rid of everything. If your keyboard, mouse, speakers, and other peripherals still work then there is no need to get rid of them.


Keep in mind that your ability to reuse your parts will depend on their age. If your computer is more than three or four years old, you are probably better off recycling it. There are many recycling centers and programs setup to help people properly recycle their computers. Using one of these centers or programs ensures that your computer doesn’t end up in a landfill, harming the environment.

Here are some resources for next time you need to recycle electronics.

Did you do something aside from reusing or recycling last time your computer died? Leave us a comment and tell us what you did.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who wants to help you dispose of your technology properly. Email: [email protected].

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