The Secret Information on Toxic Chemicals in Your Laptop
Laptops have been around since the 90's and that means in about 20 years we have had a long enough time to see their effects on us and our surroundings. You might not know it but there are a few very toxic chemicals and carcinogens in all of our laptops such as beryllium, lead, chromium, mercury compounds and some small groups have been working to change this and make our computers more healthy and safe for using. You have probably never heard of brominated flame retardants but they're in almost every piece of plastics used on electronics and have been found to emit toxic chemicals, they have slowly been pushed out of laptops but are still present in older models!
Brominated flame retardants are just one small part of why laptops need to be recycled and disposed of properly because they contain many more toxic chemicals that are hurting our nations directive to go green! The older your laptop the less likely the company was to be aware of these things and they are packed with more and even worse chemicals before the government started enforcing stricter laws on what can and cannot be used. Not only are older computers slower and more prone to problems they could be bad for your health!
Not all laptops are bad some have actually been ahead of the curve for a long time, Apple laptops have long since moved away from using plastics which is where brominated flame retardants are found. BFRs are used in plastics to make them more flame retardant and less susceptible to catching on fire. Apple Macbook Pro's and Macbook Air's have started using aluminum casings for four or five years now for many reasons. Apple has focused on making the best laptop in terms of performance, longevity and recyclability. Aluminum casings not only keep your Macbook cooler and keep it running longer since heat is what makes your laptop eventually break, but these casings are far better for the environment and can be recycled and reused much easier. The Macbook is a far more eco-friendly choice and when you want to sell these Macbooks or recycle them the benefits are huge.
This isn't to say you can't use laptops with plastics casing and even BFRs have been removed from the newer laptop plastics and how they are made. Lots of companies in their efforts to catch up to Apple's climbing sales numbers are trying to copy the look and feel of the Macbooks that are doing so well. Companies like HP and Sony are making new Elitebooks that are much higher end models and are using brushed aluminum casings where the laptop gets the hottest like the LCD back and bottom casings. It's a movement in the right direction for laptop recycling and reuse. Not only does it take much less work and resources to break down aluminum but it is also far easier to make in the first place versus the plastic casings. Obviously a laptop should be purchased based off of the users needs and wants so don't buy an Apple laptop just because they're trying to make the most Green and eco-friendly laptops because the Mac OSX operating system might not fit every ones need or budget. However it is every ones responsibility to recycle and reuse the Earth's precious resources if we want to conserve them for our kids and future generations. Making small choices to support Environmentally friendly companies like Apple Computers will lead more companies like HP and Sony to make top of the line computers to rival Apple. We can make the choice to go Green with laptops!