April 22, 2019, marks the 49th anniversary of the very first Earth Day. It is an important event in the modern environmental movement which drew large crowds to the streets to protest the deteriorating environmental conditions. One thing that makes a small difference is e-waste. Keep reading to learn how to save your computer and the environment!
What is E-Waste?
Electronic waste, also known as E-waste, are the unwanted electronic devices that you throw out. Items such as keyboards, old computer monitors, outdated cell phones, and broken MP3 players are all considered E-waste.
These discarded electronics can be hazardous to the surrounding environment if they have not been properly disposed of. This is because they contain metals such as lead, mercury, lithium, and others which can contaminate the ecosystem and leach into our drinking water.
As a consumer, the life of your electronic devices end once they leave your house, but this doesn’t mean they have disappeared. In fact, many of these discarded electronics end up in third world countries where they have polluted living environments and imposed health risks on local populations. You can see haunting pictures of what these Electronic Graveyards look like at these articles from The Atlantic here and from Wired.com here.
How Computers Contribute to the E-Waste Problem
As a computer user, think about when the last time you bought a new computer. It might be two to three years ago, or maybe even ten if you are lucky. In fact, most computers last up to five years, with your average mid-range laptop lasting around three years. This means that most people will likely go through more than ten computers in their lifetime.
Municipalities usually have their own E-waste recycling program. But this doesn’t mean that people will bring their out-dated computers there. Some old computers still end up in landfills or in third world countries as it costs a lot less for them to be recycled there.
The screen, keyboard, mouse, and other components inside your computer all contribute to our planet’s growing E-wastes. In fact, in the year 2016 alone, over 44.7 million metric tonnes of E-waste were generated, which is the equivalent of 4500 Eiffel towers. This number is only projected to increase to 52.2 million metric tonnes by 2021.
How to Extend the Life of Your Computer
Since it’s impossible to live without any electronics in this day and age, extending the lifetime of your computer is one of the best ways you can help reduce E-wastes. Continue reading below for some tips on how you can extend the lifetime of your computer.
Quality not quantity
Like with purchasing anything, buying a quality computer will make it last for a longer period of time, it can also help you avoid additional repair costs. Consider purchasing a quality laptop that will last you more than the standard five years. This way, you will not have to spend more money to replace it in the long run.
Drain and recharge the battery regularly
If you have purchased laptops in the past, you may have noticed that your laptop’s battery loses its ability to hold a charge over time. That’s why it’s a good idea to unplug your laptop’s charging cable once a week. Even though you can never overcharge your computer’s battery, this will allow your laptop’s battery to drain out completely and then recharge, thus extending the overall lifetime of your computer’s battery and its ability to hold a charge.
Keep it clean
Keeping your computer clean internally and externally can maximize your computer’s lifetime. Start off by cleaning the external components of your computer, such as the fans and the air vents. You can use compressed air to do this.
To keep your computer clean internally, consider uninstalling any programs you don’t use. You can do that by following these instructions here. Also, don’t forget to run a FixMeStick scan every month to remove viruses that could be clogging up your computer!
Haven’t tried FixMeStick yet? Check it out here.