What is the lifespan of the average computer and how do you dispose of it safely?

Recycling IT equipment for Business

Computers are an essential part of everyday living and get through a lot of work on a daily basis. Trying to establish the average lifespan of an average computer is akin to asking how long is a piece of string but there may be some factors which give a hint to a computer reaching the end of its useful life.

There are a wide range of occurrences that could spell the end for a computer. Any one of a large number of components could malfunction or it may be that it has been considered obsolete if it struggles to cope with new and improved software. Rendering a computer obsolete can be triggered by different reasons for different people, some may not consider that a computer no longer has any worth until it finally cannot be used for anything at all. The performance particularly of key components such as the central processing unit, battery and hard drive are most likely to dictate the time for a change.

In a whitepaper compiled by software giants Microsoft the average lifespan of a business PC is said to be four years. PC’s are the most commonly used type of computer but this presumption is hardly an exact science especially if trying to relate this to home based PC’s. Although business PC’s tend to be used for long periods at a time on a daily basis they are more likely to have an IT specialist on hand to keep them in order while home PC’s may be open to more over-exuberant usage by younger members of the family and other wear and tear factors.

The general consensus does however point to PC’s and Mac’s lasting longer than a laptop. Quite simply the amount of travelling and number of precarious positions afforded to a laptop in its lifetime makes it more susceptible to an early demise. Laptops are by design far more likely to suffer scratches, bangs and drops than more immobile desktop PC’s.

Factors affecting performance and sustainability

Leaving a PC open to viruses will help to lessen the lifespan of any device with some attacks capable of inflicting irrevocable harm to hardware. Other instances about how a PC is treated will also determine its lifespan – how clean it is, how well protected it is from liquids, if it is secure or has been dropped or hit are all factors that will influence performance. Individual perception is another factor that will directly affect the lifespan of a PC. If the ability to run the very latest software and do so at the fastest speed is imperative to you, any loss in speed or functionality will kickstart the desire for change.

Disposing of your old computer

Taking care to dispose of your old computer hardware properly is important both from the viewpoint of the environment and the protection of your data. The components of a computer can include a dangerous mixture of hazardous and toxic chemicals, including lead and mercury. Some of the chemicals may also release dioxins if burned. Ensuring that these elements are kept away from groundwater or from being released into the air is extremely important for the environment. Using a specialist recycler will ensure that that any hazardous materials and chemicals are removed safely and correctly. Based in Telford, Shropshire, Recycle IT 4U was formed in 2004 to help organisations dispose of electronic equipment in an environmentally friendly manner and in accordance with all relevant legislation. We pride ourselves in refurbishing, reusing and recycling for spares and repairs as much as possible, so equipment can have a second lease of life.

Any equipment not suitable for our refurbishment programme or spares, is separated and then sent in bulk to our Strategic Partner, the world’s largest waste management company for further recycling and separation into glass, metal and plastics and reintroduced into the manufacturing chain as raw materials. We can offer cash rebates on PCs and laptops less than 3 years old, if fully populated with all components and suitable for our refurbishment programme. We can also arrange for the destruction and wiping of unwanted sensitive data. For more information please browse our website IT Recycling