Obsolete computers and old electronics are valuable sources for secondary raw materials, if recycled; if not, these devices contain many toxic substances. Most electronic waste is sent to landfills or incinerated, which releases materials such as lead, mercury, or cadmium into the soil, groundwater, and atmosphere, thus having a negative impact on the environment. Rapid technology change, low initial cost, and planned obsolescence have resulted in a fast-growing surplus of computers and other electronic components around the globe. On one hand, technical solutions are available, but in most cases a legal framework, collection system, logistics, and other services need to be implemented before applying a technical solution.
On the other hand, the rising price of precious metals and the high rate of unemployment have led to a larger number of electronics recyclers. Computer parts, for example, are stripped of their most valuable components and sold for scrap.
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