E-Waste
By The Computer Guy / Information / / 0 Comments

The yearly amount of electronic waste is rapidly increasing more than any other kind of waste.

 

Do you have old computer’s that are too old or broken to use? Are they just laying around the house without having a use, or even paying rent? Once computer’s reach a point we refer to as B.E.R, meaning Beyond Economical Repair, they’re basically a paperweight that’s too big for regular paper. This is where e-waste can help.

 

If you look onto the back of a soda can, it usually states that it should be recycled, and some states offer rewards for doing so. This is to encourage people to recycle properly to reduce landfill, pollution and help re-use precious materials. E-Waste disposal is a similar concept.

 

Contents

1. When is a Computer Classified as B.E.R?

  • Knowing when your PC or Device is in need of replacing is important to make an informed decision.

2. Why E-Wasting is a Clever Idea

  • Benefits to Proper Device Disposal

3. What Can Be E-Wasted?

4. E-Waste Recycling – How it Works

  • What’s invloved and How to Get Access

5. Re-Using Devices at Home


 

When is a Computer Classified as B.E.R?

 

B.E.R (Beyond Economical Repair) is a term used for a computer that will cost more to fix than it’s used worth.

 

Of course, when possible it’s always preferred to fix someone’s machine, getting it back to running in good condition. However, if the hardware in the machine has an age close to its life expectancy or too many parts are damaged, the repair cost will exceed the used value of the item.

 

Tip: Look up your item on Gumtree and see if it will cost more to repair your item than what they’re selling for second hand.

 

Imagine taking an extremely old car, one with dings in the sides, worn brakes, torn seatings and the paint job is extremely scratched up. Of course, you can always opt to go ahead with repairs to fix these issues but the cost to fix all these issues may cost more than what you could sell the car for. It’s also hard to predict if anything else goes wrong- what if the engine light comes on in a week?

All in all, it just seems more reasonable and buy another car, even if it’s not brand new with a bow on top, it’ll be a better use of money.


 

Why E-Wasting is a Clever Idea

 

When a device breaks or is classified as B.E.R, many owners will simply leave it sitting in storage gathering dust or put it directly into the rubbish, even landfill. Throwing out electronics without properly disposing of them is extremely harmful as most contain sharp, metal hardware and dangerous chemicals. This is terrible for the environment and adds more unneeded waste to our landfills.

Australians discard almost 20kg per person annually but on 5% is recycled!

e-waste

Not only is it bad for the environment but you can put your personal information at risk, especially if where and how you dispose of the waste is careless.

By simply throwing out electronics without them being properly and professionally sanitized or processed, it becomes a risk that a stranger will find your old hardware. This gives them access to any data stored on the machine’s drives, including saved passwords, internet history, pictures and documents. Even if the hardware is damaged physically, the data may still be recoverable.

The world only has a finite amount of resources. By Recycling and E-Wasting electronics, this allows the materials used in these devices to be used again rather than extracting more from the earth. In turn, this also means more products will be able to

 

Reluctant to E-Waste?

People tend to become attached to their devices, and not in the ‘oh teens have their heads stuck in their phone doing the snapchats and twitters’  way. If one spends a significant amount of money on something, sometimes people will refuse to throw it out as they think its a waste. Of course throwing the an iPhone straight in the garbage as soon as leaving the Apple store is, but this is more about not wanting to let go of devices that have lived a long life.

There are times that people can insist on fixing something that’s not worth fixing because they’ve ‘already spent so much on it’. This isn’t uncommon and it’s understandable, but there comes a time when things just need to be replaced all together. Every product has a life expectancy.

You can always trust a reputable establishment to properly erase your old data and dispose of your goods properly. Find places with good reviews and recommendations, or ask some friends for places they’ve gone to before! It’s never too hard to find a trustworthy place.

 

To keep our environment clean and protect your personal information, it’s worth considering properly E-Wasting your gadgets, computers and devices.

 

 


 

 

What Can Be E-Wasted?

 

The ‘E’ in ‘E-Waste’ stands for ‘electronic’, so that alone gives a broad idea of what can be given. Almost anything electronic can be e-wasted! This includes:

  • Laptops and Desktops
  • Printers
  • Phones and Tablets
  • Keyboards and Mice
  • Headphones
  • Cables
  • Hard Drives
  • Light Bulbs

 

Each are processed in diverse ways however the general idea stays the same. Recycling and properly disposing as seen fit to not be wasteful or harmful.

Different companies will collect different items. It’s never a bad idea to call ahead of time to see what different items are generally collected by the company. For example a computer focused company may not accept printers and light bulbs, vies-versa.


E-waste Collection – How it Works

 

Most places require you to drop off the devices you wish for them to properly e-waste and… that’s it! Super-duper simple!

 

There are more than 1,800 collection points across the country where householders and small businesses can drop off their unwanted televisions, computers and accessories for free.

abc.net.au

 

 

Some places may charge for their services and labour to properly do so, it’s always a clever idea to do some research before jumping ahead with anything. Microsoft Registered Refurbishers will usually provide great e-recycling and e-waste services free of charge for laptops and desktops. Devices like printers can carry a small fee due to multiple factors with their parts and hardware.

After the e-waste has been collected, there are various processes which they will go through to clean and wipe all data. Using specially designed software programs, any storage disks are completely wiped of information. Reports can also be created to guarantee every single piece of old data has been completely removed. This ensures the previous owner of the item’s data on the device has no traces left-  from pictures to passwords saved in the browser.

All parts of the hardware are cleaned and dealt with accordingly. Batteries and any other parts with harmful product in them are contained to prevent leakage into the ecosystem.

 

 

Professional E-Waste Companies and E-Waste Collectors have the equipment to:

  • Safely clean and wipe all personal data from electronics
  • Sanitize drives and devices
  • Dispose properly of equipment
  • Safely contain dangerous goods found in electronics

Re-Using Devices at Home

 

Have you ever upgraded your phone or computer when the one you currently had was still usable? You just wanted something newer, something faster.

If your device isn’t ‘dead in the water’ and can still be used, there are other options for it! Donating used items to charities or offering them to PC refurbishes is a great idea to help those who may need it. Small businesses accept used parts and products. This may be for them to refurbish and use for sale or donations. Local Businesses also can specialize E-wasting and properly disposing of products, which includes professionally cleaning and wiping data.

There’s also always the option of good ol’ ‘hand me downs’, which is actually extremely common. This is the general idea of cleaning off your device of the applications and data from when it was yours and gifting it to a relative or friend. Just like with clothes and toys, old electronics that still work can be passed down to younger siblings or kids in the family for them to use! This is also a good idea to save money by not needing to buy a new device, and if it does break then it’s not a couple hundred or more dollars immediately lost!

Maybe you have grandparents or that one aunt who owns way too many candles, and all they’d like to do is use Facebook and play some solitaire if they’re feeling adventurous. Well, old laptops and desktops that may have seen their day can be perfect for them! If there are extremely old parts that just need a tune up, that’s a simple fix.

 

Consumers should know are always alternatives to dumping old devices. Deciding to properly dispose of, or re-use old electronics, is a great benefit and a step in the right direction. 


Check Out Our Other Posts:

SSD vs HDD: Battle of the Hard Drives

Being Safe Online: What to Know and How to Take Caution

Online Scammers: Protect Yourself from their Nasty Tricks

Follow us!

 

? Facebook  ?

? Instagram ?

Twitter ?

?Snapchat ?

By The Computer Guy / Information / / 0 Comments

Have you ever switched on the power and listened to your computer whir to life? Or hear some humming coming from inside when you’re searching and sorting files? People sometimes ask what that noise is, and sometimes they’re indifferent, but it’s good to know what this noise is from and what it says about your computer.

 

What are Hard Drives?

 

There are a lot of parts to a computer, one of the most known is the hard drive. It’s where everything is stored away, from your family photos to that one assignment you did for a class and may have left to the last minute. Everything is nestled into that one small part of your machine.

Since we rely on them so much to safely hold our valuable data, it’s always a good idea to know a bit about them and how reliable they are, their speeds and types. Sure, we know there are portable hard drives, USB’s, ones that go inside your PC and SD cards, and that alone is a decent amount of information, especially if you know what each of them is generally used for. But what about the inside?

 

 

If you look inside a hard drive, you can see a lot of small parts- but that’s probably the only way you can describe hard drives in general. In fact, there are two main types of hard drives; Mechanical and Solid State.

It’s often though that all hard drives are the same on the inside, but that’s not the case. Over time as technology has evolved, more secure, faster and even quieter hardware has come onto the market. Therefore, we have several types of Hard Drives!

 

 


 

 

Comparing the Difference

 

A (Very) Brief History

Mechanical drives have been around since the 1950’s. Drives around that time were about the size of a fridge-freezer combo, and only held about 4 Megabytes of data. Now you can get 5 Terabytes of storage on a disk that’s no bigger than a block of cheese!

SSD’s are newer technology. The original concept of microchips storing data has been around since the late 1980’s, recently has this technology become available for everyday PC users.

 

1956: IBM ships the first hard drive in the RAMAC 305 system. The drive holds 5MB of data at $10,000 a megabyte.

– PCWorld.com

 

Mechanical Drives (HDD)

Another name this type goes by is a Hard Disk Drive, hence the acronym being different. This is quite literally referring to the metal disk inside the drive. The inside of these could be compared to an old record player! It’s the same concept of the disk being read by an arm which moves around, finding different grooves to gather information on what to relay to the user.

Since these drives have been around so long, the ways they have been made and developed became more affordable to the point where they’re basically the standard for a computer, except for those that have had SSD’s installed. By having mechanical drives in a retail laptop, for example, the price can be set to something more affordable for the every-day customer who doesn’t need anything super flashy.

Even though they’re ‘older’ technology, it doesn’t mean that mechanical drives are bad at all! Like with anything, if you invest to get a decent quality drive from a reputable brand then they can live a long happy life.

Mechanical drives are recommended for storing copious amounts of data, like games or video footage, especially since they’re more affordable per gigabyte. Since storing data doesn’t require a fast processing speed like booting programs would, often the D Drive on a computer will be mechanical!

 

Bonus Facts!

  • Portable Hard Drives are mechanical!
  • The disk in a HDD will spin at either 5400 or 7200 Rotations Per Minute (RPM)
  • Prices of mechanical hard drives has dropped by an average of 34% a year
  • HDD’s have two sizes; 2.5” or 3.5”. Smaller ones are used in laptops

 

 

This is what the inside of a Mechanical Hard Drive looks like!

 


 

Solid State Drives (SSD)

Unlike Mechanical, a Solid-State Drive has no moving parts. This completely erases the issue of ‘wear and tear’ over time. The chip technology used in USB’s and phones is the same as that in an SSD, meaning all data is stored and sourced electronically. Utilizing this means there is no physical screws or surfaces that can scratch, becoming damaged and unreliable after a certain amount of use.

Benefits to no moving parts include the reduced noise! SSD’s send and receive information electronically, so there’s no rattling parts, motors or disks spinning. This means that whirring when you boot the PC becomes essentially silent, not to mention it boots faster!

The fact that SSD’s don’t have any moving parts speeds up your PC’s boot time and allows it to load faster! With a rotating disk like in a mechanical, user’s wait for the disk to get up to speed before loading . Along with that, there isn’t a disk for the drive to search when locating data! The storage is tracked electronically creating easy and fast access to programs and files.

SSD’s are in fact newer technology, and are in high demand because of both technology companies and consumers. The cost per gigabyte is higher with SSD’s than it is with mechanical drives, making them inefficient for substantial amounts of data storage. This is the reason people with desktops, and sometimes laptops, have more than one hard drive!

 

Bonus Facts!

  • SSD’s have the same components as phones, SD cards and USB’s!
  • Flash Memory, what SSD’s use, was introduced to the marked in 1984
  • All SSD drives are 2.5″, the same size as a laptop HDD
  • Revenues SSD’s brought worldwide totalled $585 million in 2008, and have sold over 67.3 million units as of 2012

 

This is what the inside of a Mechanical Hard Drive looks like!

hard drive

 

 


 

Utilizing Your Hard Drive – How to Get the Most Out of Them!

 

Take Care of your Drive!

It’s not something a lot of people consider but there are steps you can take to ensure you’re getting the most out of your drive!

Turn off your computer at night or when you go out!

If you aren’t leaving things to update overnight or uploading a video while you sleep then you should always turn off your PC! Other than saving power, you’ll extend the life of your hard drive. A lot of mechanical drives slow down when they have been actively running for a long time. Imagine if you ran a marathon, then after the event is over instead of going home to relax, you must just keep walking around the block. Of course, you’d be exhausted quickly if you weren’t given a chance to rest. It’s the same for your hard drive!

 

Be careful with laptops!

Of course, this just seems like common sense, right? As well as turning it off when it’s not in use, closing the lid before it fully shuts down or jolting the machine while it’s on can disrupt the hard drive. Remember how they spin at up to 7200 rotations a minute? Causing the machine to harshly move while its spinning that fast can scratch the disk and cause an area to no longer be useable!

If you have a laptop with an SSD in it of course this issue won’t be too much of a problem, but you still should be careful. It’s not recommended that you body-slam your PC into the floor or anything like that.

 

Which would be better for me?

Depending on a person’s budget different options are always recommended. Before jumping into any decisions ask yourself:

 

  • Do I need a large amount of storage space?
  • Is my computer running slowly now?
  • Do I travel with my laptop a lot?
  • Can I hear the hard drive working in my PC?

 

 

 

It’s recommended that before making the switch or upgrading that you check the health of your Hard Drive. You can do this with a program or see a professional. There’s also the choice of having both. A lot of laptops may not be able to fit two hard drives, but can be fitted in depending on the hardware it already has.

A lot of desktops use two hard drives to up the efficiency of their computer. This typically consists of a Solid State where Windows loads from, allowing the computer to boot up quickly and run smooth. The second drive, labelled as the ‘D:’ drive, is where data gets stored, still have a large amount of room. The majority of the time, this drive is mechanical.

 

Hard Drives are a big part of your PC, and knowing what’s best for your computer can be greatly beneficial for its performance. Research never hurts when looking into an upgrade or just a change, and more space doesn’t always mean better performance.

 

 

Check Out Our Last Blog Post

 


 

Related Articles

 

Timeline: 50 Years of Hard Drives

What are Hard Disk Drives

Computer: The Hard Drives History

 

 

 

 

The Computer Guy 2017