computer companies do not want us to keep using our computers for very long, simply because it makes them more money if we are regularly buying new ones.
As there are 68.9 computers to every 100 people in Australia and we replace them at a rate of 2.4 million every year it would only take us 6 years to replace every computer in Australia. Unsurprisingly computers are the most frequently updated electronic device.
So what is happing to all these old computers? I happen to have an old laptop, it still works well except that the connection to the screen is broken and in 2009 it cost me less to replace it than to get it fixed. So I looked into what options are available to me to correctly dispose of my old laptop.
Apple has a recycling service, when you purchase a new product in Australia they will recycle your old computer of any make fee of charge, or you can recycle with them anytime only paying for the fee of the shipping to America, around $32 Australia.
1800 E Waste claim the title of Australia’s leading collection and recycling service for electronic waste. And will collect and recycle electronic items in some areas or Australia, they don’t service the ACT however, but were kind enough give me a quote of $66 dollars to recycle my old laptop if I lived in an eligible area.
Mugga Lane Resource Management Center, the local option, will take the laptop off my hands for $22.50 and send it to Melbourne for recycling.
Charity Computers, a Belconnen based organistation, accept working and damaged old computers with working parts, they then repair and supply the computers to not-for-profit organizations. An important part of their corporate promises is that only 5% of donated material becomes waste. They only charge a fee on donation of monitors of $15 and printers of $5.
Charity computers is the most appealing option to me, although I would qualify for apple’s free service, I think my computer would be ideal for donation to Charity Computers and that is the option I will choose.
Although, as we have found it is not that hard to correctly dispose of your old computer not may people take the trouble. For the year 2006 there were 1,600,000 old computers thrown away, 7,100,000 old computers sat unused in storage and only 500,000 old computers were correctly recycled. (statistics are from 1800 E WASTE)
At the rate we replace computers that is a massive amount of wast. And when you consider that many of the now unused computers are not broken but only made obsolete by a newer model it becomes a discussing case of over consumption.
Although there are good options to be used for recycling computers the real solution requires manufacturing companies to step up and create a longer lasting product, and for consumers to demand better value for their money.