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British PC users fail to recycle PCs

Half of all British computer users fail to recycle old PCs or dispose of them responsibly. The scale of the problem has been revealed by research from Fujitsu Siemens Computers (FSC).

The online research was carried out by TNS of 1,050 adults over a two day period in February. It found that a staggering 12.5 million unwanted PCs or laptops have not been re-used or recycled by their owners over the past five years.

The computer maker is calling for a dedicated IT and electronic and electrical waste departments at municipal tips across the country, after discovering that one in four people dump their old computers at the local tip.

FSC says this waste is a result of only one in two unwanted computers being recycled or donated to another person over the past five years. Only one in 10 (10 percent) of the UK population claims their discarded computer was actually recycled via a manufacturer’s recycling facility, and four in 10 (41 percent) claim to have given their old computer to a friend or charity.

The new findings also indicate a worrying level of apathy among the population with many people making no attempt to recycle their unwanted IT hardware. Over 1 million people said they had dumped their computer or laptop in their household rubbish (4 percent) or fly tipped it in the countryside (1 percent).

Furthermore 6.2 million people say they have unused computers lying around their home or garden, while 5.1 million people just took their old computer to their local dump.

"We don't know where it goes," admitted Dave Scott, head of communications at FSC commenting on PCs left at local tips. "When I go to my local tip for example, there is a dedicated section for electrical goods, but we are unsure what happens to it after that."

"We think there should be dedicated sites at all tips, specifically for IT equipment. It is too easy for example to depose of old laptop in the household rubbish," he added. "Because of the sheer amount of IT equipment, we feel this would be a responsible way to approach the recycling of IT equipment."

By Tom Jowitt, Techworld

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