The fossil fuels used to create the average desktop computer and monitor weigh at least 10 times more than the finished electronic devices. Plus, the manufacturing process involves the use of more than 700 chemicals such as mercury, chromium, cadmium, and other heavy metals. The cathode ray tubes in monitors can contain up to 8 pounds of lead, a substance known to cause birth defects, cancer, and neurological disorders. When these chemicals aren’t disposed of properly, they can leach into the soil, from which they pollute the local water supply and ecosystems.

Happy Hamster’s Green Approach

With the cost of new computers going down, more than 10 million old systems are getting dumped into landfills every year. Before throwing away a broken computer, Happy Hamster encourages consumers to take a greener approach by first seeing whether the issue can be fixed with a simple computer repair.

If computer repair services aren’t a cost-effective option for you, or your system is old, the next best option is to recycle it. Several manufacturers will recycle your old system free of charge, and some local dumps offer a recycling program for electronics. Alternatively, you can donate your old computer to a nonprofit like FreeGeek.org, which will refurbish and donate it to a school or community organization in need.

Tips for Green Computer Use

To prolong the life of your computer, follow simple energy-saving practices. Turn your computer (and monitor) off when you’re not using it. If you plan to use it again within a couple of hours, at least put it in “sleep” mode and turn off the monitor.

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