Electronics are the fastest-growing part of the world’s trash problem, with an estimated 50 million computers becoming obsolete annually.

More than 3.2 million tons of electronic waste (e-waste) is laid to rest in U.S. landfills each year. Every day, individuals and organizations dispose of mountains of electronic waste, containing hazardous and toxic materials that pose significant environmental risks: CRT monitors with toxic lead oxide that can leach into the ground water; PC-related components & batteries with chromium, nickel, zinc, mercury and other heavy metals; plastic equipment housings that can release dangerous gases if incinerated.

It’s true: It’s often cheaper and more convenient to buy a new PC than to upgrade an old one. But what should you do with the computers abandoned for newer models?

Tax laws are written so that computer equipment can be depreciated over a three-year period. Therefore, much equipment is entirely depreciated and ineligible to donate as tax write-offs. Most schools and non-profits will no longer take computer equipment as donations in order to avoid the liability and cost for end-of-life disposal. (In most cases, by the time computers are donated to the schools, they are years behind the current generation of technology.)

Responsible organizations have come to realize there is no “free lunch” in IT recycling. Even alternatives like donation or employee purchase carry a risk, because the liability for environmental hazards may fall back on the originating party with penalties applied against all involved parties.

The right answer it to find an organization like The Surplus Exchange, one that will handle your materials with the environment and human rights in mind. The Surplus Exchange is dedicated to recycling electronics. That means we try to find reuse programs for products that still have the ability to serve, and we make sure we capture the raw materials back from products that are end of life. Electronics contain gold, silver, copper and other metals- metals can and should be reused. Why work so hard to mine and extract metals if you are only going to use them once and throw them away. It takes 350,000 tons of earth moved to yield just 1 ton of gold. Environmentally speaking, hard rock mining is one of the (if not THE) worst things we do on the planet. When you recycle your electronics you help reduce the need to mine more of the material we already have in hand. The Surplus Exchange is required to have oversight of all material recycled until it is returned to its raw material state. Simply put – WE DO IT RIGHT!