Why should I care?


Electrical and electronic equipment are made up of a multitude of components, some containing toxic substances which can have an adverse impact on human health and the environment if not handled properly. Often, these hazards arise due to the improper recycling and disposal processes used. For example, Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs) have high content of carcinogens such as lead, barium, phosphor and other heavy metals. When disposed carefully in a controlled environment, they do not pose any serious health or environmental risk. However, breaking, recycling or disposing CRTs in an uncontrolled environment without the necessary safety precautions can result in harmful side effects for the workers and release toxins into the soil, air and groundwater. Another dangerous process is the recycling of components containing hazardous compounds such as halogenated chlorides and bromides used as flame-retardants in plastics, which form persistent dioxins and furans on combustion at low temperatures (600-800°C) Copper, which is present in printed circuit boards and cables, acts a catalyst for dioxin formation when flame-retardants are incinerated. The PVC sheathing of wires is highly corrosive when burnt and also induces the formation of dioxins. A study on burning printed wiring boards in India showed alarming concentrations of dioxins in the surroundings of open burning places.

“Now our biggest environmental problems come from our own actions, our own choices, rather than pollution produced by big business.”
former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura,

Computers for Charity 252 South Main Street Bowling Green, Ohio 43402 computersforcharity@gmail.com http://computersforcharity.webs.com

Simply taking your computer to the nearest recycling center just doesn’t cut it anymore! Though well intentioned, your effort may be in vain. Most recycling centers simply disassemble the equipment ,shred it and melt it down for the precious metals and other raw materials the computers contain. ‘Recycling‘ in this manner consumes 20 times more energy than reuse. Worse than that, some unscrupulous recycling companies sell the equipment to undeveloped countries as e-waste where it is recycled by poor workers in an unhealthy and environmentally unsafe manner. This is not only only harmful to the local inhabitants of these countries, but for the environment as a whole. Taking your computer to a refurbisher is a better option. Energy does not get wasted tearing down the old equipment and melting it down for the raw materials. There is also the benefit of one less computer that needs to be manufactured. The benefits of refurbishing go beyond environmental consciousness though. Non-profits such as Computers for Charity will take your equipment at no cost to you and refurbish them to be distributed to disadvantaged families as well as other small charities who don’t have the disposable income to purchase new computer equipment.

e‐Waste shows a higher growth rate than any other category of municipal waste. Overall, between 2007 and 2008, total volumes of municipal waste DECREASED, while e‐waste volumes continue to increase. In 2008, we generated 3.16 million tons of e‐waste in the U.S. Of this amount, only 430,000 tons or 13.6 % was recycled, according to the EPA. The rest was trashed – in landfills or incinerators. (The total generated increased from 3.01 million tons of e‐waste generated in 2007, but the recovery rate stayed at 13.6% E-waste is routinely exported by developed countries to developing ones, often in violation of the international law. In the US, it is estimated that 50-80 percent of the waste collected for recycling is being exported in this way.

Yes, you can help! If you have a computer that is less than five years old, it can be put to good use by someone else. Even computers that are non-functioning can still yield valuable parts to repair other computers. We can recycle your old computer equipment at no cost to you and reduce the impact on the environment by refurbishing them and providing the gift of technology to disadvantaged families right in our community. For volunteer positions visit computersforcharity.webs.com and click on the volunteer opportunities button on the lower left panel on the page.

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