A + Certification – Environmental Impact of Computers

With technology, including computers, consistently changing, and our throw away lifestyles, technology has had a big impact upon the environment. When taking the a + certification it is vital that you understand these impacts as they have significant influence over the ways you treat a computer and resolve issues.

One of the biggest problems, although not the biggest, is the dumping of computers. These fill up landfills, poison the environment and pollute our waters. We are not only damaging others' habitats but our own too. There are a few chemicals, which are a worry to our water supplies, including the flame retardants and metals used. These are risks when dumped in landfills close to workers and water supplies, and become even more of a risk when dumped in developing countries which have improperly manager facilities. The European Public Health Alliance believes this could lead to significant health risks.

Another environmental consideration to take into account is the fact that computers are resource intensive. Since they have so many components to them, they use a significant higher amount of finite resources than other household goods. Thus, in recent years an EU directive on the recycling of goods has been put into place for all EU members – the WEE (Waste Electrical Equipment) directive. This directive encourages manufacturers to recycle their electronic equipment for free for customers. This can either be in the form of recycling or refurbishment. The EU gave recycling targets for all their EU members to reach – the only failing countries were the UK and Malta (2005). As one of the 'behind' countries, who is trying to significantly reduce its carbon footprint, it is imperative that we use methods of recycling for electrical goods.

These can include:
– Recycling the system locally or through the manufacturer,
– Refurbishment,
– Upgrading of computer system (ie Vista to Windows 7),
– Repairing the system, rather than replace it.

It is imperative that you take the environmental impact of a computer into consideration and you encourage recycling and repairing the systems. Environmental impact is vital to know about and understand as an IT technician or a technician in training under the a + certification or similar. The latest version of the a + certification has a whole module devoted to the understanding of environmental issues.