Carnegie Mellon University

Computer Recycling Resources

Computer Recycling - Educational Resources

Although much information is available on the web pertaining to the social effects of making, using, and disposing of electronic equipment, we were unable to find a comprehensive informational source directing people to get answers to some important questions. We created this site to assist you in locating information or contacts needed to reduce the impacts of electronic products.

Industry Roadmaps

The electronics industry has over time identified many environmental and energy concerns associated with the manufacture and use of equipment. Roadmaps are used to quantify current state of the art and to plan future use of technology to reduce environmental effects. Several examples of these roadmaps are given below.

The resources below have been organized under various categories, generally following the life cycle of electronic equipment. Note that we no longer provide links to companies ONLY selling refurbished systems. If you notice dead links, or have suggestions for sites to add, please contact us.

Overview of a Product Life Cycle

The life cycle of a product can be viewed as a series of phases that proceed from extracting raw materials, through processing of materials to assembly, use, and end-of-life. There are also potential phases for recycling, remanufacturing, and reuse. The U.S. Office of Technology Assessment created the following diagram of a product life cycle:

OTA Life Cycle Picture

Source: OTA, "Green Products by Design: Choices for a Cleaner Environment", 1992

Materials and Manufacturing Issues

New designs often require rethinking the materials selection choices for electronics, the kinds of resources and substances used in manufacture, and also the creation of new production techniques. Some of the major issues are listed below.