Computer recycling, electronic recycling or e-waste recycling is the disassembly and separation of components and raw materials of waste electronics. Although the procedures of re-use, donation and repair are not strictly recycling, they are other common sustainable ways to dispose of IT waste.
In 2009, 38% of computers and a quarter of total electronic waste was recycled in the United States, 5% and 3% up from 3 years prior respectively. Since its inception in the early 1990s, more and more devices are recycled worldwide due to increased awareness and investment. Electronic recycling occurs primarily in order to recover valuable rare earth metals and precious metals, which are in short supply, as well as plastics and metals. These are resold or used in new devices after purification, in effect creating a circular economy. However one can also make use of the useful components of the dead computes that may be damaged beyond repair so as to make or use the parts on new computers which may cover on material costs as another cheap way of recycling at homes and working areas.
Recycling is considered environmentally friendly because it prevents hazardous waste, including heavy metals and carcinogens, from entering the atmosphere, landfill or waterways. While electronics consist a small fraction of total waste generated, they are far more dangerous. There is stringent legislation designed to enforce and encourage the sustainable disposal of appliances, the most notable being the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive of the European Union and the United States National Computer Recycling Act