Old computers are classified under electronic waste. Low cost and constant advancement in technology has resulted in a surplus of obsolete computer equipment in a relatively brief interval of time.
Computers are known to contain a lot of hazardous chemical substances. Some of them are polyvinyl chloride(PVC), lead, antimony, mercury, chromium, cadmium, lithium, polychlorinated biphenyls(PCBs), halogenated flame retardants, beryllium, phospers etc.
Lead is used in the connectors between the computer chips and circuit boards, on the monitor to shield radiation originating from inside and as a stabilizer for the different plastics used in building computers. PCBs are sometimes used in lubricants or coolants. PVC is used in cables. Antimony and halogenated flame retardants are used in the monitors and printed circuit boards. Mercury is used in the back lights. Beryllium is present in the mother board. Chromium, cadmium, lithium are present in batteries and used in plating. Old computers disposal should be done appropriately so that these hazardous components do not pollute the environment.
Lead interferes with many physiological functions of the body, is toxic to kidney, intestines, heart and bones. Mercury hinders neurological development in children and impairs nerve functions of adults. Beryllium is a carcinogen. When inhaled, beryllium causes serious respiratory problems and cancer. PVC is non-biodegradable and releases toxic gases like dioxins when incinerated. Cadmium accumulates in the environment and causes renal problems. Considering the effects of these substances proper disposal of old computers is essential to avert serious health implications.
SAI Recyclers therefore takes great care when handling computer and related equipment.