With recycling becoming a major talking point across the globe, people want to know what can and can’t be recycled. More is being done to recycle single-use plastics and metals, but people also want to know how their old and unused electrical goods are recycled, specifically their computers.
It doesn’t matter if you use a mac or a windows desktop, even anything in between, the internals for most computers are surprisingly similar.
The difficulty in recycling computers stems from the amount of core components and the fact they are all made up of a combination of materials, all of which need to be recycled differently.
What Are The Main Components?
- CMOS Battery
Also referred to as the non-volatile RAM, this battery-powered semiconductor stores all the information on your computer. The batteries are typically coin cell alkaline batteries – one of the most toxic and dangerous elements inside your entire computer which is why they need to be recycled with care.
- Motherboards and Cards
If your CMOS is the memory of your computer, then the motherboard and cards make up its central nervous system. These multi-layered boards are built up of metals like copper, silver and gold. The vast majority of printed circuit boards and cards use a lead-based solder to keep everything together which needs to be separated from the other components.
The brain of your computer is mainly made up of gold and silicon and needs to be very carefully processed in order to separate the two materials.
- Hard Drives
Hard drives store your data on a rigid magnetic disc which is housed in an aluminium casing with its own circuit board. Solid-state drives have no moving parts, they have a few metals but require special shredding technology in order to destroy the data they contain.
- Optical Drives
Few modern computers come equipped with optical drives, but if you’re recycling an older model then these CD drives etc. will need to be broken down into their components which are usually made up of copper, aluminium and other metals.
The most common element in modern casings is Acrylonitrile Butadiene Sytrene (ABS) plastic. The plastic contains Brominated Flame Retardants which means it needs to be specially processed.
Understanding the components of each computer is key in being able to break them down into recyclable materials. If computer repairs in Brisbane haven’t been enough to save your computer, then make sure it is recycled properly to avoid polluting the environment.