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U.S. Geological Survey
Fact Sheet 060-01
Online Version 1.0

Obsolete Computers, "Gold Mine," or High-Tech Trash?
Resource Recovery from Recycling

By Donald Bleiwas and Thomas Kelly

Photograph of circuit boards removed from obsolete or discarded computers As the importance of electronic systems in all aspects of technology has increased, so has the amount of computer waste. Because microchip development is so rapid, users can replace their current computers with newer, more powerful models about every 18 months. Significant amounts of material used in the manufacture of these obsolete devices -- including metals from wires and circuit boards, glass from monitors, and plastics from casings -- can be recovered, recycled, and reused.

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Created 09/28/01
Last modified: 09/28/01 (krw)