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Microsoft's Windows 10 End of Support May Lead to Surge in Electronic Waste

Microsoft's decision to end support for Windows 10 by October 2025 may result in a surge of electronic waste, with an estimated 240 million personal computers potentially becoming obsolete. This move could contribute to a significant environmental impact, leading to approximately 480 million kilograms of electronic waste, equivalent to the weight of 320,000 cars. Despite the possibility of these PCs remaining functional for years, the lack of security updates may deter user demand. While Microsoft proposes security updates until October 2028 with an undisclosed annual fee, historical trends suggest users may opt for newer PCs, increasing the likelihood of older devices being discarded.

In response to the environmental challenge, recycling technologies offer a potential solution. Advances in recycling methods, particularly for hard drives, present opportunities to extract valuable materials for use in sustainable technologies. Repurposing end-of-life computers into magnets for electric vehicle motors and wind turbines has been highlighted as a promising avenue. 

Additionally, recycling processes for batteries, such as those in electric vehicles, can recover metals like lithium, cobalt, nickel, and copper, contributing to the circular economy and addressing the demand for sustainable technologies and resources. As the tech industry navigates the balance between innovation and environmental responsibility, finding ways to extend the lifecycle of electronic devices and recycle components becomes crucial.


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