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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, SAVE!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, SAVE!

Given the amount of electronics in use by private citizens, corporations, and public institutions, it’s no surprise that many thousands of tons of e-waste a produced per year. In the 21st century, e-waste has become a major problem, with news reports circulating about massive electronic        waste dumps in Africa that look like something out of a post-apocalyptic film, where waste piles up and sits, and sits, and, well… sits; forever piling up and polluting the surrounding environment.

Here at Milwaukee PC, we are proud to take a different approach to recycling than many of our peers. It may surprise you to hear this, but many computers that come into Milwaukee PC as e-waste are not actually ‘waste’ at all! Many times, our specialists can bring these computers back from the grave and give them a new lease on life as refurbished computers, which cost much less to purchase than a brand-new computer built in house and help to reduce our carbon footprint!  These refurbished computers are great for buyers on a budget or those who simply want a computer that can access the internet and do basic tasks. In fact, to back up the usefulness of refurbished computers: this very blog post is being written on a refurbished computer!

How it works.

Before starting work on refurbishing a computer, it’s important to make sure you know what you are looking for in a computer. Many computers that we recycle are not unusable computers, but simply computers that their owners wanted gone. They might be getting replaced by an upgraded model and were simply not needed. Perhaps the software they were using is no longer supported.  Whatever the case, these computers often can still run, or require only minor repairs.

When choosing a computer to refurbish, it’s important to choose one that can still give value to the customer. This choice is often made based on the generation of its processor. Generally speaking, 4th gen and above are considered good candidates for refurbishment, while 3rd and below are generally used for parts (as with everything else, exceptions exist!).



So many computers, so little time...


After picking out a computer, the next step is the messiest of them all, cleaning! Many users forget that computers need regular cleaning.  Just because the components are encased within a box doesn’t mean that dust, sand, or hardest to deal with of all, nicotine smoke/residue won’t be able to find its way inside the computer! Typically, this is done by blowing out the computer with compressed air, rendering it clean enough for work to begin.



A work in progress computer awaiting testing


Following this, the next step is to ensure the system is capable of powering on* and displaying a picture. The specialist will connect power and video cables to the computer, and power it on. If the computer powers on, displays a message on the screen, and runs without any problems (odd noises coming from fans, error codes, broken parts, etc.), then it is considered a good candidate to be refurbished.

The next step involves ensuring that any data storage devices inside the computer are removed. Milwaukee PC will NEVER, I repeat, NEVER reuse any data storage devices without first securely wiping them of all data or leave customer data inside a refurbished computer.

Following this, an SSD is connected to the computer via SATA cables, and a copy of Windows 10 is installed on the machine, and the specialist will install necessary updates and drivers, while also creating a restore point to allow the user to restore their computer to a known safe point in case of misconfiguration by the end user.

Once these steps are done, the SSD is secured inside the computer, and final cleaning can begin. Any areas inside the computer which still have dust are wiped out, and the outside of the case itself is cleaned off.  The side panels are reattached, and the computer is considered finished and is awaiting a Quality Control check, after which it will be put out for sale to customers.



Ready for sale!


In Conclusion

 Milwaukee PC is dedicated to being able to reduce our carbon footprint on the world, and refurbishing e-waste is just one of the many ways we try to make our world a greener place for everyone. So, if you have old computers you need to get rid of, bring them to Milwaukee PC, not only will you be helping keep our planet clean, you’ll also be helping us provide low-cost computers for our community!


*You may be asking: “Why would you clean the computer out before testing it? Isn't that just a waste of time if it turns out to not work?”

There is a very good reason for this. Many times, issues with computer fans can often arise not from actual problems with the fans themselves, but instead because of built-up material preventing the fans from functioning properly. As such, it’s better to clean it out before attempting to figure out if it still runs then to do it the other way around.