What does one do with the old electronics, and what exactly happens to them once you send them off to be recycled?
You’ve just upgraded or received the newest gadget for the holidays, or perhaps your office has replaced a few outdated computers. Technology moves fast, and with prices dropping on many electronics, getting new ones is easier than before. So what do you do with the old equipment, and what exactly happens to your once-beloved electronics if you send them off to be recycled?
Electronics recyclers can only survive by selling the component commodities like plastic, glass, and copper in bulk. The highest value perk comes in the form of printed circuit boards, where smidgens of copper, silver, gold, and platinum in the circuitry can be smelted off at different temperatures.
Reuse and refurbishment is a very important part of the electronics recycling industry, especially for laptops. International Data Corporation estimates that about 30 percent of the 3.5 million tons of electronics collected in the U.S. for recycling in 2010 were reused in some fashion. Any usable parts are taken and resold – there is a strong market for quality second hand laptop parts, especially for parts like LCDs and CPUs.
Then of course there are hard drives, the most sensitive parts of electronics. These drives contain personal and sensitive data – while they can be sanitized and resold, they should be destroyed.
When it is time for destruction, the hard drives go into a shredder that is specially built to completely destroy hard drives. The shredded hard drives then go to a refining company for further recovery. There, separators remove aluminum from the shredded hard drive mix; copper comes out of the stream through the use of reverse polarity magnets, while traditional magnets pick out any steel left over.
Of course, unlike paper or plastic, most municipalities do not sponsor on-going electronics recycling programs. Many leading companies like Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Sony currently take back their own electronics for recycling purposes. Some even offer the option of returning the discarded device in the packaging from the new item.
For hard drives and other media, look no further than Legal Shred to help destroy and recycle your old hard drives for not only peace of mind, but for the good of the planet. Through recycling and proper destruction, the impact on the environment is tremendously mitigated.
Let’s talk about your media and hard drive destruction needs today!