Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The second life of PCs... Updated with videos


Often we do not want to ''give'' our PC : afraid that bad people used our data against us or with a bad intention... Such a pity! A certified recycler such as Good Point Recycling can give a second life to your PCs.

Some video games and softwares need more and more powerful PCs. Windows XP will be abandon for Windows 7...

Planned obsolescence drive us to consume more and to create ''e-waste''. A computer can be seen as obsolete for someone BUT still usable for a poorer person... As a citizen, we have to dispose our old PCs in an appropriate drop-off points, where the data destruction and the recycling will be good. Recycling, refurbishing, repairing, reuse... are environmentally-friendly solutions and make PCs more accessible.

This document describes the end-of-life of PCs. 
With help from Good Point Recycling's employees John, Oscar and Philippe, I will show you what became your old PCs...
Enjoy the post!

Collection of waste

Figure 1. Collection of waste - Crystal
Good Point Recycling (GPR) promotes electronic waste reuse and recycling. First reuse and when it is not possible recycling. Crystal, is the GPR's driver, she collects e-waste from Vermont and its surroundings.

Waste arrival

PCs are on pallets or as bulk products in large packaging (figure 2).
Figure 2. PCs arrival on pallet..

Data security

Before sorting PCs, the first step is to remove the hard drive from the PC. Personal data is separated from the PC.

Figure 3. Hard drive's residues.
Hard drives with speed capacity lower than 40 GB are demanufactured, data are no longer accessible. Hard drive's residues (shown in figure 3) are very valuable. Printed board and magnets are respectively resale at 14 & 3$ per lbd. Amazing for a waste!
Hard drives with speed capacity above than 40 GB will be resale for reuse. A software called ''D-ban'' swiped EVERY DATA and so no personal data is divulged.

PCs sorting

PC testing at Good Point Recycling on Utube.

 With Philippe, we sort out PCs in 3 different categories. The protocol is the same for a unit or a laptop.
Figure 4. Left a bulged capacitor, Right a normal capacitor.

1. Check if the PC has RAM and NO bulged capacitor(s) (figure 4).
If there is/are bulged capacitor(s), the PC will be considered as not working.

2. Power on the PC. If it is not possible to power on the PC it can be due to the video card, the PC will be recycled, not reused.

3. The PC is on, access to the PC's BIOS.
Check there is no password. If there is no password it will be reused, if there is a password we will not reuse :(.

The BIOS shows the specificity of the PC. The processor speed will be used to create 2 categories : higher and lower than 2.8 Ghz (figure 5).

Figure 5. Access to the BIOS, tested PC is surrounded in red.

4. Sorted PCs are from one of the following categories :
  • Reusable, processor speed is > 2.8 Ghz
  • Reusable, processor speed is < 2.8 Ghz
  • Recyclable, PCs which have failed the test

PC's Reuse & Recycling


Reusable PCs are exported towards emerging countries. This solution is the most environmentally friendly because the life of the PC is increased. PCs will be reused after being repaired or updated if necessary.



PCs which have failed the previous test will not be reused. They will be demanufactured at GPR. Oscar is in charge of PCs demanufacturing (figure 6).

Figure 6. Demanufacturing of PCs - Oscar.

Figure 7. Different steps of demanufacturing a unit.

Figure 7 shows how we demanufacture a unit. The only used tool is an electric screwdriver.

Figure 8. Demanufacture a unit little by little.

Figure 8 chronologically shows what are the components of a unit. The different residues are listed in the figure 9 with the resale prices, this is environmentally-friendly.


This article introduces how your old PC can be recycled. Recycling and reuse increase the life of your old PC which is good for the environment.

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