Population, natural resources
End of the World
Computer is a device without which work in a contemporary company in any branch seems to be impossible. Computers are more and more popular also in our homes. Everybody knows that nothing loses financial and functional value faster than hardware. After a few years of using a computer we find that it is useless in comparison with programmes available on the market and we decide to buy a new one. But what should we do with the old computer? We certainly should not throw out the computer on waste heaps.
In the world about 1 million computers are sold every year. In the United States in 1999 about 24 million computer were considered obsolete. Only 3.3 million of them were recycled. Why is it so important that worn out computers do not land on waste heaps? First of all, hardware can be a rich source of resources that can be utilized again. It is estimated that 20% of plastic, 5 % of lead and about 80-90% of iron, aluminum and copper can be utilized again. Also noble metals, such as gold, silver and platinum, which now are the part of integrated circuits to a smaller degree than in the past, are recycled practically in 100%. Besides, such elements as bromine, tin and nickel can be recycled as well.
Another vital argument against storing hardware on waste heaps is the fact that it is dangerous waste. Apart from a large amount of lead, it also contains other toxic metallic elements such as mercury, cadmium, chromium and beryllium. These elements, especially lead which is contained mainly in monitors, may get into ground water posing a threat to people. Thus in several states of North America a ban on storing on waste heaps was introduced and other safer method of the neutralization of their harmful effect was adopted.