A computer is an essential tool for millions of businesses. Whether it’s a desktop or laptop, it allows businesses to keep track of customer information, create and receive emails, order inventory from suppliers, conduct advertising campaigns and more.

Computers don’t last forever, though. According to Chron, most computers last for just three to five years, at which point they become obsolete and require replacing. If your small business’s computers are approaching the end of their life, you should consider recycling them rather than simply tossing them in the trash.

Why You Shouldn’t Throw Away Your Business’s Old Computers

What’s wrong with tossing your small business’s old computers in the trash? First and foremost, many states have laws prohibiting the disposal of electronics. If your small business happens to operate in one of these states, it could be fined for each computer, as well as other electronic devices, that’s tossed in the trash.

More importantly, throwing away old computers contributes to environmental pollution. Computers don’t just contain plastic. While the case is typically made of plastic, the electronic components often contain toxic chemicals like chromium, mercury and various flame retardants. When thrown into the trash, a computer will release these toxic chemicals into the environment.

The Benefits of Recycling

Recycling your small business’s old computers, on the other hand, means they’ll be broken into base materials that are reused for other purposes. Recycled computers aren’t sent to the landfill. Instead, they are sent to facilities where their materials are extracted so that they can be reused.

Steps to Recycling Your Business’s Old Computers

Before you can recycle your small business’s old computers, you should wipe the hard drives and other storage devices. Failure to do so could result in a data breach. If someone happens to find one of your old hard drives, they could extract the data from it, resulting in a data breach. By deleting the data beforehand, you can rest assured knowing that your small business’s data can’t be accessed.

After clearing off all the data, you can proceed to recycle your small business’s old computers by transporting them to a nearby e-waste recycling facility. The website Earth911 offers an online tool that will search for e-waste recycling facilities in your area. Of course, it’s a good idea to contact the facility first to verify that they accept old computers. Once you’ve found an e-waste recycling facility, you can drop off your small business’s old computers to have them recycled.