From E-Waste to Eco Disposal: Examining the Environmental Impacts of Computer Disposal

Computers have become so ingrained in our work and personal lives that it is often difficult to imagine life without them. While many of us work to reduce our carbon emissions and become more sustainable in our everyday lives, one area which is often overlooked is our approach to computer disposal and our need for upgraded models and new releases.

In this blog, we’re sharing a beginners guide to computer disposal, looking at the environmental impact of e-waste and the eco-friendlier alternatives that are gradually becoming the norm.

The unseen environmental impact of computers

Did you know that the majority of a single computer’s energy consumption is expended during its manufacture, before the computer or device is even switched on?

This fact alone underpins the unseen and under-talked about environmental impact of computers. The more computers that large manufacturers produce and sell, the higher the environmental impact of each device and the industry as a whole.

E-waste and why computers cause such damage to the natural world

When a computer is simply discarded as e-waste, it is likely to end up in landfill. These landfill sites are situated overseas and take up vast expanses of land, impacting the immediate area and surrounding ecosystems and habitats. As the computers start to rot in these landfill sites, chemicals and hazardous materials are released from within the devices – running into waterways and causing damage to the local wildlife and their homes.

As this occurs far away from the Western world which largely feeds this high proportion of waste, further illuminating the digital divide while also explaining why the environmental impact is so rarely understood or appreciated in full, it can be easily overlooked.

Eco disposal uncovered: what are the more sustainable solutions to computer disposal?

Eco disposal is an alternative means of computer disposal which seeks to fix some of the aforementioned issues, and also bridge the digital divide by supporting those with no access to computers or technology.

Eco disposal involves several different options, depending on the type of device you are getting rid of and its condition.

The first and best option is for that device to be refurbished and recycled for future use via a charitable partnership with Computer Aid. When you donate a reusable device to Computer Aid, it is first passed through a comprehensive data wiping process before being refurbished to bring it back up to a usable standard. The device is then sent for reuse either locally or further afield via a charity partner working with communities without access to technology or devices.

If a device cannot be reused, it can still be recycled through Computer Aid – our team will simply strip it for the parts that can be reused or repurposed, and then dispose of the rest of the device via sustainable methods.

In short, a device which comes to us will never be sent to landfill as e-waste – rather, it will be reused where possible or disposed of in a way which protects the environment.

What’s the benefit for donors?

From corporate donations to private donations, there are plenty of benefits linked with eco disposal. The first is the knowledge that you are contributing towards both a greener future and a more balanced, equal world. By using unwanted devices to upskill communities around the world that otherwise have no access to modern technology, every single donation can make a big difference.

Another benefit linked closely with corporate donations is the impact on CSR and sustainability goals. By donating your unwanted and unused devices to a charitable initiative like that of Computer Aid, you help to offset your businesses carbon emissions, promote environmental wellbeing, and support social goals. This is a major goal in the modern business landscape, with Computer Aid’s regular reporting and impact statements providing evidence to back up each donation.

Finally, regardless of who you are or what you are donating, Computer Aid make it easy for you to make a difference. Simply get in touch with us to find out more about how your donation can help us to achieve a greener future through eco disposal.