How to Dispose of Old Computers

published Jan 19, 2021
2 min read

Computer Recycling

Technology is an essential part of contemporary daily life. New and improved computers are released almost every year, and they become obsolete sooner or later. This means that if you are keeping up with the latest technology, and you can’t sell your old stuff, you’re faced with the problem of disposing of all the e-waste properly. It has become common knowledge that it’s not good to throw away e-waste along with your other trash. So what should you do with it? In this article, we will cover the most effective options to get rid of your old computers, helping you make the most responsible and informed choice.

Why Is It Important to Recycle Old Computers?

Toxic materials and hazardous chemicals are often used in the manufacture of computer and electronic devices. Thrown in landfills, they leak toxic materials, causing soil and water pollution. Keep in mind that it doesn’t just happen in a landfill. Computers left on the curb for collection can also leak, especially in wet weather. Recycling not only prevents pollution but also slows the use and mining of primary raw materials. It provides numerous benefits to the environment, which are the following

  • Hazardous materials and chemical components such as Lead, Cadmium, Dioxins, Furans, Arsenic, Mercury, DDT, PCB, Chromium, Vinyl chloride, Antimony, and Beryllium, are disposed of responsibly;
  • Recycling computers conserves natural resources;
  • Recycling can help create local jobs. If more people in our community decide to recycle their old computers, the need for people to run the processing plants will increase, thus creating new jobs.

How Much E-waste Is Produced Each Year?

We generate more than 50 million tonnes of e-waste every year, equal to 1000 laptops thrown out per second. A large amount of e-waste is shipped to Asia or Africa for processing. Workers, often children, are exposed to hazardous chemicals.

How to Get Rid of Old Computers

It’s easy just to throw your old tech in the trash, but the proper recommended disposal of it would require more care. There are several options to consider to avoid this harmful mistake. But first, you need to secure your personal information.

Delete Your Personal Information before You Recycle

No doubt, you don’t want a stranger having access to your private information. Delete saved information like browsing history, usernames and passwords from your old computer’s browser. Be sure to log out from your accounts before uninstalling the programs. If you have sensitive files like tax documents and others, make sure to delete them. Look for a program or function on the computer that will let you erase all the files from the hard drive. Perform a factory reset to ensure you’ve deleted all personal files and software programs.

Recycle It

To recycle your old computer, first, reach out to your device’s manufacturer to see if they will take the product back. You may be charged a small fee or other rules and restrictions may apply. You can also check for local electronics recyclers and ask about their drop-off policies. Some companies will gladly take your e-waste as well, whether for free or a nominal fee.

Donate Your Old Computer

Look for local organisations that accept old computers to refurbish for people experiencing disadvantages. Just because your equipment is outdated doesn’t mean others can’t use it. Less than five years old laptops can go to libraries after being upgraded. Additionally, donating your computer could earn you a tax break.

Repurpose Your Old Tech

An old desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet may be lacking to meet your daily demands. However, outdated equipment can still find a new life as a universal remote control to smart devices in your home. You can also use them as a multimedia player, a home server, a storage unit, a digital calendar or a family planner. You can repair or upgrade them to improve the performance if needed.


It’s important to think carefully when thinking of ways to dispose of your old computer. By making responsible decisions, you can feel good knowing you are doing your part to benefit the community and protect the planet.