Should You Reuse Or Recycle An Old Computer?


Unless you're a computer repair or computer design professional, it's hard to understand the true shelf life of a modern computer. There's all kinds of generic sayings and measurements, such as the age of a computer or specific parts, but they're all inaccurate without calculating the sum to get the usefulness of the whole. Before you throw everything out, here's a glance at some of the most important parts in the computer, how they relate to current usefulness and how you can recycle what you don't need.

What Makes A Computer "Modern"

A computer's modernity is not based on when it was released, but how well it handles the most recent and demanding software. For most users, a computer needs to be able to handle the software used. New software is developed every day, which brings both computer parts and software into a vicious cycle.

Computers are made to perform calculations and tasks. Software is made to take advantage of the computer's performance. New hardware is released that is faster and better at handling software, and new software is developed to challenge those limits. You don't have to upgrade with every small change, but many computer users may rely on simple software that may not change often--only to find themselves too obsolete to upgrade cheaply when new versions are needed.

The best way to know your computer needs is to look at the software you're using. Find the recommended system requirements for your software, even if you don't plan on upgrading to that version. This is helpful, since the recommended requirements involve running your new software and modern operating systems such as Windows or Macintosh, meaning that you'll be at general, modern performance levels. Avoid the minimum requirements, as this can create a cycle of small, expensive upgrades.

If your computer can't handle the newest software without two or three component upgrades, it's best to recycle the old system and get a newer one. Depending on recycling rates for aluminum, copper, gold or rare earth magnets, you could get a decent amount of money for your upgrade through recycling.

Upgrading By Parts And Their Recyclable Potential

To understand upgrade needs and recycling potential, here's a list of the parts that software is often dependent on, plus a few parts that are related.

  • Processor. The processor is the "brains" of a computer because it performs the calculations needed to start up, run programs, save information and generally exist in a useful state. Processors are small, with gold pins that can be recycled. Processors also usually have an aluminum block with fins called a heat sink, which can be recycled. 
  • Memory. Random Access memory or RAM is used to deliver the most commonly-used files between the processor and hard drive instead of slowly searching across the entire hard drive for files used thousands of times per second. RAM has gold contacts, and can be easily stored for recycling as the memory sticks are quite sturdy.
  • Hard drive. The hard drive for computers have thick cases made of aluminum. They can be deceptively heavy, as some of the weight comes from the glass-like platters used for storage in platter-based drives. Hard drives also have rare earth magnets if they are platter based. Solid state drives do not have platters, and are mostly recycled for their metal content and circuitry.

To make recycling easier, contact a recycling services professional for multiple bins for multiple recyclable components, or for pickup scheduling from a company like B-P Trucking Inc to take your computers and other electronics to the proper recycling center. 


13 June 2016

Talking About Recycling

Hi everyone, my name is Makana. Welcome to my site about recycling. I am excited to talk to you about all of the benefits of recycling. Throwing garbage in the trash bin only serves to fill up landfills, which has a negative impact on the planet. With recycling, you can rest assured that the majority of the waste goes toward making new packaging and products. The recycled materials live on and can even be processed another time. I will explore recycling rules and techniques in detail on this site. Please feel free to come back all of the time to learn new things.