Microsoft Ending Windows 10 Support Could Create E-Waste Boom

7 months ago
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Microsoft is stopping support for Windows 10, and that could mean a lot of old computers might end up as junk, making a big mess for the environment. Around 240 million computers could get thrown away, and that’s like 320,000 cars’ worth of waste. The environmental impact of this disposal has raised concerns, but it also presents an opportunity for recycling valuable materials from old hardware.

The decision to discontinue support for Windows 10, with full support ending in October 2025 and extended support until 2028 at an undisclosed price. It means that businesses with older PCs may be compelled to upgrade to newer devices.

The new generation of the operating system, Windows 11, is anticipated to bring advanced artificial intelligence technology to PCs, which could potentially boost the sluggish PC market. However, the strict compatibility requirements for Windows 11, including the need for a special “TPM” security chip on the motherboard, may limit its use on older machines, prompting businesses to consider upgrading their hardware.

Canalys Research has highlighted the potential consequences of this decision. They predicted that businesses facing high costs for supporting aging PCs may opt to discard them. This could lead to an estimated 480 million kilograms of electronic waste, with components such as hard drives being valuable sources of materials for electric vehicle motors and renewable power generation.

While this might seem terrible for the environment, there’s also a chance to make something good out of it. There are companies that can take these old computers and recycle the valuable materials inside, like gold, silver, and copper. This isn’t just good for the environment but also opens up a whole new market for businesses.

Old computers can contain a surprising amount of gold. While the actual amount can vary depending on the specific computer and its components, it’s estimated that around $344 million worth of gold is trashed every year by Americans disposing of their old smartphones. This suggests that there is a significant amount of gold present in older computers as well, making them a valuable source of this precious metal for recycling.…Read more by Elizabeth Kartini

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