UK turns to tech grave as 200,000 PCs per month are dumped

Research carried out by Fujitsu Siemens Computers has uncovered the environmental issues associated with the disposal of technology assets as millions of computers and laptops end up in dumps and tips.

About 12.5 million PCs and laptops have been thrown away over the past five years, says Fujitsu Siemens Computers (FSC), which means that only one in two computers being offloaded by someone ends up either being reused or donated to a charity or a third party.

At an average price of £20 each that computers and laptops could command in flea markets or on auction sites, UK households have thrown away more than £50 million per year.

But things could turn even nastier as Dave Pritchard understands; there are apparently 6.5 million unwanted PCs and laptops which are currently unused and will end up being discarded sooner or later

To this should be added thousands of computers which will be made redundant by upgrades as Microsoft's latest operating system, Vista, pushes old PC systems to their limits and computer retailers push new system prices even lower with a £199 price point entry.

Ironically, Environmental concerns and lifestyle changes could also explain why more computers are ending in bins as more people upgrade to laptops and flat LCD screens instead of desktops and old CRT.

The research comes six months after the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment ) directive became law and after reports that only 26 percent of IT WEEE waste is re-used or recycled.

Fujitsu said that councils now needed to have specialised IT and electrical waste employees to prevent serviceable computers being disposed of.

FSC surveyed more than 1,000 adults, out of whom only 10 percent recycled their computer equipment when they reached their end of life.