Recycle your old computer equipment

(NC)-There used to be a time when you just didn’t care what happened to computer products after you used them. You bought them, threw them out, and forgot about them.

Not any more. North America is running out of landfill space, while savvy consumers – piqued by a rising environmental consciousness – want to do more to save the planet. While computers comprise only 1 to 2 per cent of the solid wastestream throwing them in the garbage represents a waste of resources that can & should be recycled.

It’s also turning into a pocket-book issue. Several jurisdictions are taking action to reduce the amount of discarded computer equipment clogging up municipal garbage dumps.

Recently, Alberta imposed up to $45 disposal fee on electronic equipment including PCs and monitors; other provinces could soon follow the province’s example.

Companies supply own recycling programmes
Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are taking a more comprehensive approach to the environment by introducing programs encouraging the three “Rs” – reduce, reuse, and recycle.

For example, Hewlett Packard’s Planet Partners recycling service provides an easy way to rycle any brand of computer equipment or printing supplies.

The company’s recycling program – based on international environmental management standards – ensures that unwanted hardware or printing supplies don’t end up in the local landfill.

To date, more than 64 million HP ink-jet and laser-jet cartridges have been recycled worldwide and has been in place for over seven years in Canada.

HP does it by facilitating the return and recycling of ink-jet print cartridges free of charge.

That’s important because consumers don’t realize that many companies don’t recycle used products.

A good portion of remanufactured ink cartridges, for example, end up in landfills, lost to the recycling process and a potential source of pollution.

Research also shows that remanufactured cartridges can be overfilled and therefore, prone to leakage.

So, while the remanufacturing process delays cartridges from entering the waste stream, it does not necessarily relieve their overall impact on the environment.

This is why consumers need to educate themselves about the options:

. Find out what companies have recycling programs in place for the printing supplies you purchase from them.

. Consider using ink cartridges that are designed to work together with your printer – it will improve output and minimize inconsistent yields that waste resources by reprinting.

. Consider alternatives to disposal: why not donate your used PC to a school.

Finally, don’t shy away from asking detailed questions about what the manufacturer is doing to enhance its recycling policies. The more you demand higher environmental standards, the more they will respond.

– News Canada