Learning To Recycle

Making Business-Level Computer Refreshing Easier

Computer refreshes are all about pushing out old computer systems and bringing in new systems. Your business may be upgrading from decade-old systems, in search of the newest systems or simply staying in compliance with your business partners, but the current computers simply need to go. There are multiple ways to go about the move, but recycling needs to be a part of the process, no matter the goal or age of the systems. Take a look at a few refresh planning concepts to get the most out of computer recycling during large-scale computer refresh moves.

Recycling Option One: Parts Salvaging

If your computers aren't ancient relics of early personal computing (which includes business workstations, as they're still personal computers), there may be some parts that can be used to repair or even upgrade the newer computers. In that case, what defines an old computer?

The age of a computer doesn't matter as much as the specifications and standards used. Are the individual parts at a similar or faster speed? Will the components fit, or are they following an older connection standard? If the parts aren't as fast, powerful or robust, can they be added to the new system without taking features away?

For some computer parts, the benefits are additive. This means that by attaching the new part, you're only gaining more benefits rather than slowing the system down. Old hard drives can be added to the computer as additional storage, allowing technicians to either retrieve old business information or define the old drives as bulk storage. Random Access Memory (RAM) can be added for a bit of extra, faster information retrieval as long as the physical notches fit together. 

During computer refresh planning, make sure that technicians know which parts to remove and where to place the parts. Defining electronics-safe bins for placement inside the computer-staffed departments can make removal fast and localized, allowing technicians to get to other parts of the refresh project faster.

Recycling Option Two: Scrap Materials

Some parts may not be useful for future computers. Either because of their age or being completely broken, the parts may be destined for the trash. Instead of throwing out the electronics completely, look at a list of recyclable materials that can be taken to a recycling center:

  • Hard drives. These components are encased in aluminum shells, which can be removed with a basic screwdriver set--although a small, precision or jeweler's screwdriver set may work better. Inside the hard drives are rare earth magnets, which are sought after by recycling centers and magnet enthusiasts.
  • Computer cases. The cases are usually covered in plastic, but include an aluminum or steel framework. The metal can be folded or crushed for compact storage or simply loaded as they are for transport to recycling centers.
  • Power supplies. Although power supplies contain a lot of copper and aluminum, they can be dangerous to open due to the long-term storage of electricity in the capacitors. Only certified electricians should work inside power supplies, so simply have technicians remove and place the power supplies into a storage bin for recycling.

Computer components can be heavy, so make sure to have a convenient removal staging area outside of your building. Avoid sending technicians or any removal staff to dumpsters, as computer loading can be physically stressful and lead to injury. Instead, recycling professionals can supply roll off dumpsters with an adjustable loading bay. Technicians can walk into sanitized dumpster containers to safely place the computers and recyclable materials instead of lifting too strenuously.

Contact a recycling professional such as East Central Sanitation & Recycling to discuss easy, convenient recycling for refresh projects.