ORLANDO — Here’s a great tip: if you have an old laptop that no longer works, don’t throw it out.
In fact, the worst thing any of us can do is toss those aged electronics in with our regular trash, and let it end up in our community landfills.
Why? Well, it’s a sure way to create serious threats to the environment.
Recycling your used laptop is a much better idea. For one thing, you can we turn your used electronics into cash by recycling them. Electronic recycling firms can help you in another way: they can go a step further and help you remove any sensitive data from your old laptop. That includes passwords and any other private information stored on there.
Now, here’s another tip: even before you reach that stage, think about salvaging some of the parts inside your laptop. Just because it no longer works as your personal computer doesn’t mean your laptop no longer contains plenty of individual parts that still have value.
And those parts can be salvaged as well.
In fact, online market sites like eBay have scores of listings for computer parts that are for sale.
What should you do with your Aging laptops
Technology keeps improving, and laptops can quickly become outdated. No wonder so many of us keep replacing our laptops on a regular basis.
But just because the product is outdated, or no longer works properly, doesn’t mean its internal parts have outlived their usefulness.
The owner could strip out every part from it except the motherboard and processor. Several parts have a life beyond your laptop, including:
* The Hard Disk Drive. You can easily remove the internal HDD by opening the back cover of your laptop, then using it as a portable USB HDD to carry data.
* The laptop battery. This can still be used as an external power source, and there are cells in the battery that are still useful as well.
* Speakers. You can take the speakers out for reuse.
* The Webcam. Attached to the motherboard by four wires, and you can easily detach it and connect it with the wires of a USB Cable.
* RAM. This part can be removed from its sockets and plugged into another laptop that supports them.
* CPU Fan. This is used for the cooling process in the laptop.
All of these parts can also be sold, providing you with money that can be put toward the purchase of your next laptop.
Where do I find Parts hunters
If you’re not really the technical type, and simply don’t know how to find spare part in a laptop and successful remove them, no worries. There are plenty of others who will be interested.
There are always people looking for replacement parts for their own computers.
Before you do that, check online auction websites. See what kind of prices people are getting for their individual parts. Sites like eBay will give you an idea of the kinds of prices sellers want for comparable parts.
It doesn’t matter if your laptop is in working order or not – that’s not what buyers care about.
Polk County, Florida recently discovered the benefits of separating out the valuable components from eWaste being sent to the county landfills.
Since then, county workers have been able to generate up to $1,800 a month in revenue, noted Ed Sparks, who oversees the recycling programs at Polk County Solid Waste.
Is it possible to find hidden treasures in my used electronics
Again, the last thing you want to do with a laptop or any other electronic device is simply throw them away.
The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that only 25 percent of the 3.4 million tons of eWaste that we generate get recycled. That’s a percentage that we all need to work hard to change. Once eWaste goes into landfills, it poses risks to our water, soil and air.
That’s because electronics — including phones, computers and television sets — contain toxic materials like mercury, lead and heavy metals. If these chemicals seep into the ground, the results are environmentally disastrous.
Recycling eWaste is the best alternative. There are companies available to help you recycle your used electronics.
What seems to be lacking is not an e-recycling infrastructure across this nation, but limited public awareness of what can be recycled, and how to go about doing it.
Americans clearly have an insatiable desire for the newest, most advanced, most sophisticated electronic gadgets. That means we’ll have a steady stream of older versions that we no longer need.
We also have the ability to transform electronics into the fastest-growing recyclable material in the U.S.
Whether you’re selling individual parts in your used laptop, or simply selling it to be recycled, you’re doing more than boosting the contents of your wallet. You’re making a strong contribution to our environment as well.
We all need to spread the word about the benefits of e-recycling. This is a growing field, and with all our help, we can make it grow even faster.
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright and author of the book “Koby’s New Home”. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.