Earth Day is later this week, and you may be trying to think of ways to help save the planet. There's at least one thing you may not have considered.

It's your computer. About 80 percent of computers wind up in landfills.

Every year, Americans trash 255,000 tons of computers. They wind up in landfills and so do billions of elements inside that are harmful to the environment, and the problem is getting worse because computers are getting more inexpensive. Why pay someone $200 to repair a computer when you can buy a brand new one for $300?

To keep laptops and computers out of landfills, it's best to either recycle old ones or keep them running.

Computer repair experts tell me the lifespan of a computer should be 6-8 years. Typically, computers that die sooner are because of viruses and spyware, which could be avoided by installing malware protection, such as Malwarebytes, and another piece of software, C-Cleaner, that scans and cleans out the registry.

And the computer age-old question: should you turn it off or leave it on when you go to bed every night? This will protect your computer too. Restarting the computer at least once a week allows for security patches and other updates to be installed. But computers shouldn't be turned off every night. Each time it starts up, tiny parts start spinning. Most problems occur at start-up.

If your computer does die, or if you have one lying around the house, don't toss it in the trash. Best Buy and a few other retailers will recycle them for you, at no charge. Just drop them off at the store. There may be an e-waste recycling center nearby so it's worth a quick Google search.

It may be the one thing you do that'll go a long way to protect the environment.

Popular in the Community