The proper disposal or recycling of hazardous computer components is a global issue. Make sure to follow regulations that govern how to dispose specific items. Organizations that violate these regulations can be fined or face expensive legal battles.
Batteries often contain rare earth metals that can be harmful to the environment. Batteries from portable computer systems can contain lead, cadmium, lithium, alkaline manganese, and mercury. These metals do not decay and remain in the environment for many years. Mercury is commonly used in the manufacturing of batteries and is extremely toxic and harmful to humans.
Recycling batteries should be a standard practice for a technician. All batteries, including lithium-ion, nickel-cadmium, nickel-metal hydride, and lead-acid, are subject to disposal procedures that comply with local environmental regulations.
Monitors contain glass, metal, plastics, lead, barium, and rare earth metals. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), monitors can contain approximately 4 pounds (1.8 kg) of lead. Monitors must be disposed of in compliance with environmental regulations.
Handle CRT monitors with care. Extremely high voltage can be stored in CRT monitors, even after being disconnected from a power source.
Toner Kits, Cartridges, and Developers
Used printer toner kits and printer cartridges must be disposed of properly or recycled. Some toner cartridge suppliers and manufacturers take empty cartridges for refilling. Some companies specialize in refilling empty cartridges. Kits to refill inkjet printer cartridges are available but are not recommended, because the ink might leak into the printer, causing irreparable damage. Using refilled inkjet cartridges might also void the inkjet printer warranty.
Chemical Solvents and Aerosol Cans
Contact the local sanitation company to learn how and where to dispose of the chemicals and solvents used to clean computers. Never dump chemicals or solvents down a sink or dispose of them in a drain that connects to public sewers.
The cans or bottles that contain solvents and other cleaning supplies must be handled carefully. Make sure that they are identified and treated as special hazardous waste. For example, some aerosol cans explode when exposed to heat if the contents are not completely used.