Disposing of Old Computers



Following a read about how big institutions pollute the environment, Cassie Cross directed an investigation into the disposal techniques of old and worn-out computers at the Writing Lab in Bellevue College. The research was to assess the various methods of disposing of old computers as well as finding better and sustainable ways to do the same, a task that resumed on 22ndJuly. To perform the research, a senior Writing Lab personnel was interviewed based on a series of questions that were framed beforehand. There was also the use of observation where the methods applied were assessed within the allocated time. From the research, it was discovered that the Writing Lab engaged two primary disposal methods: donating and dumping in what was referred to as a ‘fossil corner.’ To confirm Mrs. Cross’s fears, the writing lab was guilty of irresponsible dumping where some of its worn-out computers and their parts were heaped just behind the lab. The lab, however, practiced one eco-friendly disposing method that involved donating the old computers to schools for further use. Following these results, it is recommended that the Writing Lab considers selling the worn-out computers and their parts to recycling firms, keep up the donation initiative and educate its staff on how to employ these environmental friendly methods.

Keywords: Old and worn-out computers, eco-friendly methods, disposal methods. 

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Executive summary

Bellevue College, just like any other institution in the world, uses technology which includes the use of computers. The college has a writing lab in which computers are used on a daily basis. Because of the everyday use, some of these computers get old and lessen or even lose their functionality, and as such, the institution just like any other has to get rid of them. These machines have toxic elements and if not disposed of safely, could pollute the environment extensively. Following this development, Mrs. Cassie Cross requested an inquest into the different ways that old computers at the writing lab are disposed of and if there can be better ways to do so.

To attain the objective of the research, a familiarity with standard disposing methods was reachedalong with an examination of these methods. The analysiswas guided by detailed questions that were used to guide the course of the research.

From the results, it was discovered that the writing lab has two ways of disposing of old and worn-out computers; by donating them to schools and discarding non-functional ones in what was referred to as a ‘fossil corner.’ This information was discovered through an interview with a senior member of the lab as well as through observation that was done across the period of the project. Following these conclusions, it is recommended that the college initiates a program that would enable the sale of non-functional computers to recycling firms. It is also recommended that the college betters its activity of donating old usable computers to school. Consequently, the Writing Lab educates its staff on eco-friendly methods of disposing of these computers.


Following a read on the adverse effects of certain dumping methods of machines, Mrs. Cassie Cross requested that I do research to assess the methods used by the Writing Lab to dispose of old and worn out computers. In the study, Cross also requested that the methods be investigated to find out whether they are eco-friendly or not. Furthermore, she requested that the research comes up with a recommendation of what better methods should be employed in disposing of these computers. To accomplish this, the researchwas based on the consideration of the following two questions:

  1. How are old and worn-out computers being disposed of?
  2. Are the methods being used eco-friendly?

Based on these questions, the college would want to know the different methods being used to dispose of such computers and come up with a system to make the process better and environment-friendly.

Research Methods

The research was broken down into two main tasks to achieve the set goals.

Task 1. Assessing how old and worn-out computers are being disposed of.

Mrs. Cross was interested in knowing how the Writing Lab was handling the disposal of old computers. To uncover the details to this request, an interview was conducted and along it was the personal observation by the researcher. 

Task 2. Investigating whether the methods used are eco-friendly.

In this section, the research called for the use of scholarly articles along with other research-based articles.

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Task 1. Assessing how old and worn-out computers are being disposed of.

The use of computers keeps increasing as the years go by and with it comes tothe issue of how to dispose of the junk that comes along with it (Urbina, 2013). As such, disposing methods of computers vary since every institution employs those which are suitable for its system (Ferry, 2013 and Skurnak, 2014). Just as much as these machines have their uses, they can equally be destructible when handled and disposed of carelessly (Martin, 2014). This is because computers release lead and mercury into the environment, toxic agents that are dangerous to the ecosystem (Milovantseva and Saphores, 2013). Across the world, various methods have been generated on how to dispose of these machines safely, and some are applied by the writing lab. Through an interview with a senior employee at the lab, it was noted that “old usable computers are donated to local schools to help develop the younger ones.” The employee also clarified that “donations are done when new computers are brought in to replace the old ones.” Through my observation, I discovered a heap of other dead computers just behind the lab. Upon further inquiry, the employee clarified that the place was called a “fossil corner” and was used for “dumping non-functional computers.” 

Task 2. Investigating whether the methods are eco-friendly or not.

Saving the environment is crucial for the survival of today’s and the existence of tomorrow’s generation (Mohite, 2013). It is important hence that all options that humans chose to undertake to conform to this reality, and these include disposing of old computers as is pointed out by Kantra (2016). Donating old computers is one of the approved ways to dispose of a worn-out computer(computersforlearning.gov, 2017). This means that instead of just lying around, these computers are handed over to continue being useful to the community. It is however unfriendly to the environment when computers are exposed to the earth without any precaution.Uddin, (2012), and Kidee et al., (2012), say that these machines have toxic agents that seep into the ground and as a result, endanger the lives of humans, animals, and plants as well.  

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The conclusion to this research is based on the two questions that were acting as a guide for the whole project. It is then important to note that at the Writing Lab, two computer disposing methods were discovered: donating to nearby schools and dumping in a fossil corner. Of the two methods, one is eco-friendly while the other is not. It was found out that the institution is in dire need of restructuring its policy on dumping of old computers as one of the methods used was found to be environmentally degrading.


I at this moment recommend that the Writing Lab restructures its computer disposal methods to support a toxic-free environment. It is recommended that the lab initiates a program that commissions the sale of old and worn-out computers to recycling firms. It is also a recommendation to the lab to keep up its donation program as it conforms to environmental ethics. Finally, the lab and the institution are encouraged to initiate education programs that will enable staff to be aware of disposing methods that are eco-friendly. 

Did you like this sample?
  1. Computers For Learning – Proper Disposal for Schools/Educational Nonprofits. (2017).
  2. Ferry, P. (2013).Proper E-Waste Disposal and Environmental Sustainability — Environmental Protection.Environmental Protection
  3. Kantra, S. (2016).How to Safely Get Rid of an Old Computer.
  4. Kiddee, P., Naidu, R., & Wong, M. (2013). Electronic waste management approaches: An overview. Waste Management, 33(5), 1237-1250. 
  5. Martin, J. (2014). How to dispose of a laptop or PC.Tech Advisor
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  7. Mohite, D. B. (2013).Issues and Strategies in Managing E-Waste in India.Indian Journal of Research in Management, Business and Social Sciences (IJRMBSS) ISSN, (2319-6998), 46-51.
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  10. Urbina, I. (2013). Unwanted electronic gear rising in toxic piles.New York Times, 18.
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