How to dispose of old computers responsibly

Brian Burgess
How to dispose of old computers responsiblyBrian Burgess

We all go through several computers and other electronic devices over a lifetime and getting rid of them is not as easy as throwing them in the trash. Today we take a look at how to dispose of your old machines in a secure and environmentally responsible manner.

With the new Windows operating system around the corner and an abundance of cheap computers on the market, you may find yourself asking what to do with your old PC and components. We will take a look at how to securely destroy private data on your old hard drive, ideas for repurposing, and how to get rid of them in a way that is friendly to the environment.

Ensure Data Is Destroyed

The biggest concern when getting rid of your old computer is ensuring important and private data doesn’t get into the wrong hands. Simply deleting your files and emptying the Recycle Bin is not enough. Darik’s Boot and Nuke (DBAN) is the most popular free utility that will overwrite each sector on your hard drive making data unrecoverable. It is very secure and will deter people that use hard disk forensic analysis from retrieving your data. Burn the ISO image to disk and boot from it to get the main menu. From here you can choose the method you want to use to wipe the disk.

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

Using the advanced methods takes a considerable amount of time and unless you have government secrets or the KFC secret recipe on the drive, you might want to choose a quicker method. You can get a list of other methods by hitting F3 at the main menu. The quick method will overwrite all sectors with 0’s in one pass and might be the easiest method for home users. However, some with the right equipment could possibly still recover data from this method and is considered the least secure.

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

Using a degausser to wipe a hard drive clean is aimed at businesses and corporations that need to wipe out several at a time. A degausser magnetically erases all of the information on the disk platters. Buying a degausser is not very practical for home users as they cost around $2,000 and higher. You can pay for services from companies like Garner and SEM that will degauss and destroy your hard drive completely.

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

Another cheap and effective (and much more fun) method is taking an axe or hammer to the hard drive and smashing it into bits. Of course make sure you wear protective goggles and other protective clothing when smashing it up.

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

What Happens to E-Waste?

Even with best intentions and bringing your old computers and other electronic devices to recycling centers, it’s shocking how much is dumped in developing nations. Computers and monitors contain toxic levels of mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, and beryllium which are very unfriendly substances to the environment. PBS and 60 Minutes have done stories where they track items from US recycling centers to dumping areas in China and Ghana.

A digital dumping ground in Ghana.

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

From a 60 minutes story, a dumping ground in China where workers are using a vat of acid to extract gold components.

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

It is not all gloom and doom when it comes to disposing of old computers and other electronics though. Get to know your local recycling centers and find out how they dispose of toxic e-waste. A great site is from the Basel Network (mentioned in the videos) that have created a list of rigorously tested recycling centers certified as e-stewards.

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

Alternatives to Recycling

Just because a computer is too obsolete for your needs doesn’t mean it it cannot help someone else. There are several donation programs that will take your legacy computer , get it in working order, and give them to others who need a starter machine to get into the information age. One thing I do is destroy all my data with DBAN and put on a fresh version of Linux or Windows and bring it to a thrift store.

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

Other Options

  • Sell it. If your old computer has some value left you might be able to sell it on ebay or craigslist for a bit of spending money.
  • Repurpose it. Figure out a new way to use the old machine. Install a light version of Linux like Damn Small Linux or Puppy Linux to breathe new life into it, turn it into a firewall, give it to your child or grandparents for web browsing, simple word processing and games.
  • Keep it around for parts. I do some computer repair on the side from my home and it has been awesome having extra memory, NIC cards, and hard drives laying around. Even having an extra CRT monitor is nice to use in case one of the LCD screens goes bad.
  • Keep it. If your current machine goes down for some reason you will have a spare to hook up while getting it fixed or getting a new one. You can also use it to do geeky things like trying Linux or creating a network.


If you have private data like credit card numbers, security number, heck even your favorite pictures on the hard drive it is extremely important to make sure it is wiped out. If you need to recycle it, make sure it’s with a trustworthy company. Even if you donate or repurpose a computer, ultimately it will need to be disposed of but hopefully with more awareness we can help do it responsibly. Leave us a comment about how you get rid of your old machines.

If you are planning on selling your used Windows-based computer/laptop to friends or strangers, there are at least 5 things you should do before selling it.

1. Back up data

The first thing you need to do before selling your computer is backing up any important data you want to keep, such as documents, photos, and programs. If you have a small amount of data to keep, you can use any cloud storage service such as Dropbox to do the backup, or directly copy and paste the files into one removable device. If you have a large amount of data to keep, you can set up Windows built-in Backup and Restore utility to back up all your files into an external hard drive.

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

2. Find product keys for installed software

If you intend to sell your old computer and consider buying a new one, you should find and back up the product keys for both software and Windows currently installed on your old computer before selling so that you can install them again on your new computer.

If you have never made a backup of the product keys yet and you can’t find the keys right now, the best choice is to use a special product key finder program to find and backup the product keys for all installed software and Windows.

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

3. Format hard drive

Format the hard drive to wipe all data before selling your computer. This will give the person who intends to buy your computer a completely clean environment on the one hand; on the other hand, it protects your personal information from remaining on the hard drive and being known to the buyer.

4. Reinstall operating system

There will be nothing on your hard drive after formatting. To better show the buyer your computer, before selling you need to reinstall the operating system. You can install the latest system such as Windows 10 or install one operating system based on the buyer’s liking.

5. Clean up the computer

At last, keep your computer clean before you sell it. Remove all of your users and passwords used to lock the computer. Clean the computer’s screen, keyboard, mouse, etc. to make it look newer and run better, which can fetch a better price.

Before you get rid of your old computer, think about what important information you want to save. Do you have photos, videos, or important documents you want to save? How much storage space will you need to save that information?

Knowing what you want to save and how much space you’ll need will help you choose the best solution. Here are some options for saving or backing up your information.

Transfer your files to your new computer. If you bought a new computer, you can transfer information from your old computer to the new one. Most operating system manufacturers have support articles that tell you how to do this.

Save your files to an external storage device. A USB flash drive is an affordable option that offers a moderate amount of storage. Another option is an external hard drive. It might cost a little more than a USB drive, but it can give you more storage capacity and transfer data faster. You can decide which files or folders to back up, and you may be able to schedule automatic backups.

Save your files in the cloud. There are many cloud storage services that let you save files and data online. You may be familiar with some, like Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox, or iCloud, but there are many others out there. Many of these services come with some free storage space and you can pay for more storage.

When you save your information in the cloud, you’re trusting someone else to keep that information safe. If you’re thinking about using cloud storage, find out what level of privacy or security the different services offer. Do they have privacy and security settings you can adjust?

Do they use encryption to protect your data? (Encryption is the process of scrambling the information to hide the contents of the file.) A service that encrypts your data when it’s transmitted to and from the service, or when they store it, provides a higher level of security than one that doesn’t.

Sign Out of Accounts, Disconnect Devices, and Erase Your Hard Drive

After you save your personal information, however you save it, sign out of all your online accounts from the computer you’re getting rid of. Un-pair your computer from Bluetooth devices like a mouse, keyboard, or wireless display.

Then, erase your computer’s hard drive. Look for a program or function on your computer that will let you erase all your files from the hard drive and reset it to factory settings. If it doesn’t have one, look for expert reviews online to see what programs are out there and which ones are compatible with the type of computer and hard drive you have.

Safely Dispose of Your Computer

You’ve saved your personal information and wiped your hard drive clean. Now you’re ready to get rid of that computer. Most computers contain hazardous materials like heavy metals that can contaminate the earth and don’t belong in a landfill. So what are your options? You can recycle or donate your computer.

Computer manufacturers, electronics stores, and other organizations have computer recycling or donation programs. Check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s Electronics Donation and Recycling page to learn about recycling or donating your computer.

You saved your personal information. Wiped your hard drive clean. And safely disposed of the old computer. Now learn how to protect your new computer from hackers with these computer security tips.

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

According to the EPA, Americans discard more than 112,000 computers every day.

The real problem is that only 15% of all the e-waste in the country gets recycled. This includes computers and everything else electrical.

Even worse, millions of tons of e-waste are shipped out to developing countries like Ghana, where workers who take them apart for scrap metal are exposed to lead and mercury.

Recycling is the only environmentally safe method of disposing of your old computer.

Here you’ll learn how to get rid of your computer as a true green citizen.

Why Should You Recycle Your Old Computer Responsibly?

Reduce the Amount of Trash

Landfills are expanding not only in the US but all around the world. In other words, we are constantly trying to find more space to dump our trash.

On the other hand, by recycling our computers and e-waste, we reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the landfill.

Don’t let landfills get any bigger — recycle!

Stop Toxic Waste

When computers get bulldozed and tumbled around with communal waste, they break down releasing toxic materials like lead, mercury, beryllium, and cadmium.

Rains easily wash this toxic cocktail deeper into the soil. This pollution can even reach our water streams and do a lot of harm to living organisms.

Heavy metals pose a direct threat to our health, too. It’s not rare that higher levels of lead and mercury are found in communities that live close to dumping sites.

Waste companies often export electronic waste to developing countries, but that just dumps the problem to other people’s doors— pun intended.

Those people in Africa and Southeast Asia who try to earn a living by scavenging through smoldering heaps of e-waste for copper and steel are the ones who are picking up the tab. They often burn the PCBs to salvage the metals in boards — burning PCBs could release toxic fumes in the environment.

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

Save Raw Materials

Believe it or not, just 2% of materials in your computer aren’t recyclable. An amazing 98% of your old PC can be recycled and reused.

But then please someone tell me why are we still dumping almost $7.5 billion worth of raw materials as e-waste every year?

Things like glass, keyboards, casing, cables, batteries, and circuit boards can be reused or recycled for copper or rare metals.

Most importantly, it takes less energy to reuse materials from those components than to source them from scratch.

Secure Your Data

I hate to tell you but deleting the data by right-clicking isn’t enough to keep you safe. You can even format your hard drive, but hackers and identity thieves have means of recovering your stuff.

And that’s the very thing that can happen if you throw away your hard drive.

So, how are computers disposed of safely?

For a small fee, they will destroy your hard drive before recycling everything else. When it’s all done, they’ll give you a certificate that your data is irrecoverably destroyed.

Don’t Break the Law

Finally, there’s a good chance that dumping your computer is illegal where you live. At the moment, there are 19 states and the District of Columbia that treat computers as hazardous waste and ban landfill disposal.

But even if it is legal where you live, do you seriously think it’s OK to throw your computer along with the potato peels?

Disclaimer : These sites are listed for informational purposes only. US EPA does not endorse any of these entities nor their services.

Why Donate or Recycle Electronics

Our Certified Electronics Recyclers page explains what it means to be a certified recycler.

Electronic products are made from valuable resources and materials, including metals, plastics, and glass, all of which require energy to mine and manufacture. Donating or recycling consumer electronics conserves our natural resources and avoids air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by manufacturing virgin materials.

For example:

  • Recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 US homes in a year.
  • For every million cell phones we recycle, 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.

Before Donating or Recycling Your Used Electronics

  • For your computer or laptop, consider upgrading the hardware or software instead of buying a brand new product.
  • Delete all personal information from your electronics.
  • Remove any batteries from your electronics, they may need to be recycled separately.
  • Check for recycling facilities in your state or community.

Where to Donate or Recycle

Manufacturers and retailers offer several options to donate or recycle electronics. Search below to find programs developed by Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Electronics Challenge participants. If you are an original equipment manufacturer or retailer, learn how to join the SMM Electronics Challenge. Participation in the SMM Electronics Challenge is voluntary. EPA does not endorse any of the participants or their products and services.

Search by Electronic Device or Company

The following links exit the site

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

Offers in-store, event, online, and haul away recycling options

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

Offers free drop-off locations

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

Offers in-store and event recycling options

Offers in-store and event recycling options

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

Offers permanent drop-off site, mail-in and event recycling options

Offers permanent drop-off site and event recycling option

Offers mail-in recycling options

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

Offers mail-in recycling options and permanent drop-off site in some states

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

Offers mail-in recycling options and permanent drop-off site in some states

Offers permanent drop-off site recycling option

Offers permanent drop-off site recycling options

Offers mail-in recycling options

Offers permanent drop-off site, event, and haul away recycling options

Offers in-store, permanent drop-off site, and event recycling options

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

Offers mail-in, event, and permanent drop-off site recycling options in many states.

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

You’re ready to get rid of some old equipment. How can you do that safely?

Once you’ve upgraded your computer equipment, you may be wondering what to do with your old hardware. Many companies have a policy whereby old computers cycle down to other, less critical areas of the business. But at some point, you’re going to need to get rid of your old hardware, including computers, tablets, cell phones, and servers.

Doing so poses a challenge for many businesses, as old computers often retain a lot of sensitive information, including financial data, customer information, and company secrets. You want to make sure that you don’t accidentally dump a computer with retrievable data. To make sure you dispose of old computers and hardware safely, follow these steps.

1. Backup your data.

Before you do anything, backup your hard drive so you don’t lose any data. You can make an archive of your computer’s data on an external hard drive, or back it up to the cloud. Whichever way you choose, back up as much of your hard drive as you can. It’s better to make a complete backup than to find out too late that you lost valuable and irretrievable data.

2. Wipe your hard drive.

Clearing data off our computer is no easy process. To ensure that no sensitive company of customer data can be recovered by data thieves, follow this multi-step process.

  • Delete all your files. You may have heard how hard it is to permanently delete data from your hard drive. Simply emptying your recycling bin isn’t enough—the data might be removed from your file structure, but it’s still on your hard drive until it gets overwritten with more data.
  • Unlink and uninstall all your programs. Many programs automatically sync with online cloud backups. This is a great boon to you in case of anything happening to your machine, but it also means you can’t leave these programs on your computer while they’re still connected to your information.
  • Clear your browser. It’s not just your browsing history: many of us save important passwords and account information in our browsers to make logging in to our various online accounts easier.
  • Wipe and restore to factory settings. After you’ve done all this, restore your computer to its default factory settings and wipe all data from it using a hard drive erasing program, which will overwrite your deleted files. Some programs overwrite your old data once, while others overwrite multiple times for added security.

3. Donate, resell, or recycle.

You can’t just throw your computer away. There are various components within a computer that are either environmentally toxic, such as mercury and lead, or valuable, such as copper, aluminum, and gold. Because of this, there are many programs available to help take your old computers off your hands.

If your computers are in good working order, consider donating them. Many charitable organizations specialize in providing used and refurbished computers to underfunded schools or families in need. You can also look into options to resell your old computers, if they’re still in good enough condition.

If your hardware isn’t usable, there are many options for recycling. Some hardware suppliers, such as Dell and Apple, have programs in place for taking back old equipment. Most towns and cities have drop-off locations for computer recycling, and many computer retailers, such as Staples, offer recycling or trade-in services. If you have a lot of computer equipment to dispose of, there are even professional services that will come to your office to pick up your old tech.

Consult with a professional about regulatory standards.

Depending on your industry, you may have regulatory procedures to follow to ensure sensitive data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. If you have any doubts about your company’s ability to safely destroy this data, consult a professional for help. At Brightline, we specialize in data compliance standards for many industries. We can work with you to manage your equipment lifecycle and make sure that your old computers are disposed of safely.

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When you think of discarding old computers, a lot of stressful thoughts come to mind. From logistics to data transfer and disposal locations, it can be overwhelming. Here’s how to navigate the process easily.

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

Personal computers have become a constant tool in the lives of both individuals and enterprises. According to a report by Gartner, over 290 million computers were shipped to buyers globally in 2015 alone. Each year, newer models of these computers, with more advanced functionality from faster processing speeds to even greater efficiency, are released. Depending on your organization, you may feel the need to invest in regular computer recycling and disposal.

This decision means that you’re faced with the problem of how to completely dispose of old computers in a way that will not stress you out or cost too much. This guide is designed to help you do just that! Here are 7 easy steps that will have you disposing of your old computers in no time:

1. Backup All Your Useful Data

If you still have useful data on your computers, then it’s a good idea to create a backup on an external hard drive or online cloud storage account. You can also use software applications like Comodo, Syncback and Hinusoft to automate the process so that you don’t waste any extra time on it. You should definitely backup files that fall into the following categories:

Personal Data

This includes any records concerning your organization, like employee information, tax filings, financial statements and memos as well as legal filings and documents.

Client Data

This includes your clients’ bio data, contact information, medical records, financial details and every other piece of information that they have entrusted to you.


If you use a desktop email client like Windows live mail or Opera mail, you have to backup your emails otherwise, you will lose them when you wipe the computer.

2. Delete All The Files You’ve Backed Up

After backing up your important files, you should delete them because you certainly do not want unauthorized persons to access them later. Keep emails, client data and personal data confidential because any mistake in the disposal process may lead to a huge data breach later on.

3. Delete Your Browser Data

Most available guides on how to completely dispose of old computers, highlight this step as one of the most important. Cybercriminals can target you based on access to your browser records so you have to delete them. Deciding whether or not you need to delete your browser data remotely, largely depends on the browser you use. Some browsers like Google Chrome and Safari are connected to email accounts and can be controlled by login processes. This means that once you sign out, your browser history will no longer be accessible to external parties.

4. Deauthorize Your Computer

Most computers have administrator profiles that act as the central authority over customizations and app permissions. In most computer operating systems, you can easily reset the administrator customizations under settings.

5. Uninstall Your Programs

You should uninstall your programs before disposing of your old computers because some programs store your past work and account information. Programs that you subscribe to, may have your business or personal credit card details saved under their settings. There’s no point learning how to completely dispose of old computers if you get hacked due to accidental data vulnerabilities in the disposal process. If the wrong people get access to such details, you may become a victim of theft and credit card fraud.

6. Securely Wipe Your Hard Drive

If you have extremely sensitive data on your hard drives, then deleting them is not enough. When you delete a file, it never really leaves the system and someone else can access it later. You should invest in secure data destruction methods like software data erasure, degaussing and hard drive shredding.

7. Give All Old Computers To a Trusted IT Asset Disposition Company for Proper Disposal

IT asset disposition companies like All Green Recycling make it easy for you to dispose of your computers. For a small fee, such companies take them off your hands ensuring that you have nothing to worry about.

How to Completely Dispose of Old computers Conveniently With All Green Recycling

Knowing how to completely dispose of old computers on your own is great, but the process is also labor-intensive and stressful. We understand this perfectly and that’s why here at All Green Recycling, we make the entire process as stress-free as possible. We offer a host of computer disposal options including the following:

  • Electronics recycling
  • IT asset remarketing
  • Refurbishing and Repurposing of old computers
  • Secure data destruction services including certificates of destruction, chain of custody and liability, hard drive shredding, and degaussing

Our remarketing plan ensures that your organization recoups part of the initial cost of purchasing the computers. We also have drop-off sites in every state in the U.S so that you can reach us easily. To show that we serve your best interests, we can also arrange a pick-up for your computers. It’s time to stop worrying about how to completely dispose of old computers. Contact us now to start disposing of them effortlessly, in a secure and affordable way.

Have you recently run into problems while disposing of your old computers? Leave a comment below and we will respond. Don’t forget to share this with anyone who would like to learn about computer disposal.

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

Many people will purchase or receive new computers and devices this holiday season. In fact, according to Forbes, IDC predicts the worldwide smart connected device market will accelerate past 2 billion units by the end of 2015. If you’re among the lucky owners of new computers and devices this year, you or your company may be planning to get rid of the old computers or devices, which have been replaced by newer versions. If so, I urge you to do so with caution!

Along with a collection of potentially harmful toxins, computers and other connected devices house vital information including passwords, registration numbers, account information, addresses, telephone numbers, and a host of other private information. Your hard drive is a goldmine for identity thieves and it is important to use proven methods to wipe this data from existence, before disposing of devices. Simply throwing the devices or their hard drives away could potentially cause more harm than good.

Below, we reveal the proper techniques to dispose of computers and devices, guard against identity theft, and protect the environment:

  1. Backup significant files and information
  2. Sanitize your hard drive
  3. Dispose of your computer

Read on to learn more about each step.

1.) Backup Significant Files and Information

Before disposing of your old hard drive, you may find it necessary to save files you may need in the future. You can use a USB drive, CD-ROM, external hard drive, cloud service, or a new computer to transfer your information.

When using cloud backup, files can be easily transferred and accessed anywhere there is internet connection. Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive are popular cloud service providers. Each give you an allotment of free storage space, with the option of buying more at a reasonable cost. When transferring files onto a new computer, you can contact the manufacturer’s customer support line for guidance on how to accurately accomplish this task.

2.) Sanitize Your Hard Drive

Clicking “delete” on a file is not enough. Identity thieves have mastered data recovery, which makes retrieving your deleted information fairly simple. It is important that you get your hands on a utility software, designed to meet government standards for secure deletion, to wipe your hard drive clean. Usually, these programs are inexpensive and some are even free. Do your homework to ensure you’ve selected a reputable and proven program for this process — protecting your identity and sensitive data is worth it.

After you’ve taken all possible measures to remove data from your hard drive, perform a factory reset as an extra measure of security. As an extra, extra precaution, some individuals drill holes into their hard drives or destroy it with a hammer. Whereas this may seem a bit extreme, some deem it necessary. Physical destruction is a sure way to prevent data crooks from obtaining your information. You can also contract with a company to securely destroy your hard drive for you, and then provide you with proof in the form of a certificate of destruction.

3.) Dispose of Your Computer

Recycle, donate, or resell your computer to stop harmful toxins from entering the environment. If you opt to recycle it, you will find that several manufacturers have programs to recycle computers and their components. Again, check with customer support on the best method for recycling. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has useful information about how you can go about recycling your electronics. Here at Meridian, we’ve partnered with Evolve Recycling , which pays organizations for used computer components.

There are also many organizations who collect old computers and give them to charity. Doing this now could possibly make you eligible for a 2015 tax deduction. Be sure to check with an accountant for any tax-related details. Finally, reselling or trading in your computer is also a method of disposal. Do a quick online search to find companies with trade-in programs or companies who buy old computers. E-commerce sites like eBay and Craigslist can also be useful outlets for selling electronics.

Don’t Forget.

Remember, simply throwing away an old computer won’t cut it. Be sure you are protecting yourself and the environment with proper disposal.

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

Here are some disturbing statistics: more than 20 million computers are discarded annually in the United States alone, and more than 2 million tons of computer waste is currently sitting in US landfill. If you’re wondering how to recycle computers in an environmentally friendly way, partner with data destruction and recycling experts who know how to extract the greatest possible volume of raw materials from every computer.

Do you know how many old computers are discarded every year in the United States alone? Recent figures estimate that the figure is up to 20 million annually, and this is set to increase. As prices of computers, computer accessories, and electronics continue to decrease and as new technology becomes available every day, consumers are encouraged to replace their “obsolete” computers and gadgets on a regular basis. This has led many people to wonder how to recycle computers in an environmentally friendly way, without adding to the already out-of-control amount of toxic electronic waste around the globe.

First thing that needs to be done before you start recycling computer parts is:

  1. Make sure you removed all data from your computer to prevent identity theft.
  2. Keyboard, speakers, mice, etc.need to be removed from the computer or laptop you plan to recycle. You can likely recycle these parts as well using the same company where you take the machine, but these parts can easily be reused.
  3. Remove ssd or batteries if you used them in your computer or laptop.

Contact us now or submit a quote if you are ready to recycle.

Disassembly of Old Computers

Computer recycling involves the disassembly of old computers into their various components, which are then separated and sorted, with the raw materials subsequently dealt with in the most environmentally friendly way.

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

Understanding the Importance of Computer Recycling

When your new computer is set up and your now-obsolete old equipment is sitting on a pile on the floor, it can be tempting to consider how to dispose of computer components with the rest of your household or company waste. Not only is this method environmentally irresponsible, increasingly more jurisdictions are cracking down on this process of discarding electronics. Rather than wondering if it’s possible to get away with disposing of unwanted or obsolete computers with the rest of your general waste, the real question should be how to recycle old computers in a way that recovers valuable resources while also minimizing harm to the environment.

We already know that approximately 20 million computers are discarded in the United States per year, and now new figures by the EPA suggest that discarded computers and other electronic waste make up more than 2 million tons of waste in the United States. Even worse, computer waste is extremely dangerous, even compared to other forms of waste.

Computers and electronic waste are incredibly toxic to the environment, containing dangerous elements including cadmium, nickel, mercury, and even lead. Left to sit in landfill, unwanted computers cause toxic chemicals to seep into the ground and potentially infiltrate the water systems. Discarding piles of paperwork directly into landfill rather than recycling them is certainly environmentally irresponsible, but it won’t cause the types of damage that computer waste can potentially cause.

How to Dispose of Old Computers and Where to Take Computers for Recycling

When tackling the problem of how to recycle computers, legitimate recycling companies like All Green Recycling have the technological equipment and expertise to extract valuable precious metals from discarded computers – including gold and copper – while also preventing carcinogens and other toxic waste from entering the water stream, the Earth, and the atmosphere.

There is no doubt that computers are difficult to recycle. With a single computer potentially containing up to four and a half pounds of lead, deciphering the unique chemical makeup of computer equipment requires an expert approach. Put simply, while many companies may claim that they know how to recycle computers, very few will understand how to extract the greatest amount of raw materials possible.

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

Get Creative with a DIY Approach to Recycling Your Old Computer Parts

Here’s a unique spin on how to get rid of old computers: if you fancy yourself a bit of a DIY enthusiast, consider how you could reuse various components of an unwanted computer system for personal use. Indeed, while you will need to engage a professional data destruction and certified electronics recycling company when the time comes to fully dispose of your unwanted computer, in the meantime you may be able to extend your equipment’s useful life in various ways.

After all, just because a computer is obsolete does not mean it is broken, and various computer components can prove useful with a little creativity. Plenty of DIY tutorials can be found online, allowing you to potentially create:

  • A makeshift file server out of an old computer;
  • An external hard drive by combining an internal hard drive with an external enclosure;
  • A DIY air filter from old computer fans;
  • Or even a funky art installation.

Where to Dispose of Old Computers

Visit our page with listed locations at All Green Electronics Recycling Drop-Off Sites. We Know How to Recycle Computers in a Way That Benefits, Rather Than Harms, the Environment.

We mentioned above just how difficult computers are to recycle. When asking ourselves how to recycle old computers in a way that will extract the greatest amount of valuable resources while minimizing the harm to the environment, we have come up with methods of turning electronic waste into the greatest amount of secondary raw materials possible.

Not only is responsible computer disposal the best and most environmentally friendly way of permanently disposing of obsolete computers, it is the only sustainable method – and the only way of ridding yourself of the burden of unwanted computer equipment without adding to the already dangerous levels of e-waste in United States landfill.

All Green Recycling is the largest provider of computer recycling services throughout North America and operates more trucks than any other recycling company. If you’re wondering how to recycle computers in an environmentally friendly and cost-effective way, contact us today to find out more about our computer recycling services, or book a pickup now.

How to dispose of old computers responsibly

How often do you upgrade your phone, change your appliances, and replace your electronics at work or at home? Most of us don’t think about the environmental considerations when we purchase the latest iPhone or the next-generation LCD TV, but how we dispose of e-waste has a major impact on the environment. If you’re upgrading your electronics, follow these tips to recycle your electronic waste responsibly.

4 Ways to recycle your electronic waste responsibly

Never dispose of your e-waste in the bin, and this applies to batteries as well. These items contain toxic substances that can contaminate landfills.

1. If the device is still working

If it’s a working phone or device, don’t recycle it. Maximise its lifecycle by donating it to a needy cause. Look for organisations like Work Ventures and Computer Bank Hunter who will put your legacy electronics to good use.

2. Find a responsible recycling service

Find a responsible recycler near you if the device is not working. Because a lot of e-waste is shipped to landfills in developing nations for sorting or burning, it’s important to check with your recycling service. Ask them how the e-waste will be dealt with, and whether they have any certifications or if they recycle in accordance with strict standards. It’s worthwhile finding one that processes your e-waste in a responsible manner, with minimal impact on human health and the environment.

3. Explore your local recycling options

Get to know the options available in your area. You might be able to drop off your e-waste or have it collected. Find out who’s accepting your old electronics, and check with the manufacturer to see if they’d take the used items back. For example, brands like Apple, with its Renew program, lets consumers recycle devices in their stores or online. Some retailers like Harvey Norman will take back old TVs and other e-waste if you’re buying a new one from them. Phones tend to be easy to recycle as recyclers will often have a free mail-in service and you don’t have to drop it off or arrange a collection.

4. Set a e-waste recycling policy

If you’re a business, have a recycling policy for your workplace e-waste. Large organisations can benefit from having a waste audit and setting targets to reduce your e-waste. You’ll want to include secure-erase processes in your policy, to protect private and confidential information.

Where possible, consume less. When you do have to upgrade your devices and appliances, make it a priority to recycle your old equipment in a responsible manner. Explore your options and find an accredited recycler or one whose process conforms to strict standards. By ensuring your e-waste is recycled carefully, you’ll support a healthier planet.

Why should you recycle your electronic waste with care?

Australians discard millions of phones, computers, and TV each year. E-waste includes everything from phones and computers to TVs, copiers, and scanners. Since it includes anything with battery power or circuitry or electric elements, your old washing machine, fridge, and dryer are also considered to be e-waste. It’s important to take stock of what electronic waste you have in your home or workplace and prevent it from becoming unnecessary clutter. In fact, there is $60 billion worth of clutter in Australian homes, so recycling responsibility will go a long way in keeping your space clean too.

So why should you ensure you recycle your electronic waste responsibly?

4 Reasons to recycle electronic waste

1. Reduce the amount of toxins in the environment

In Australia, e-waste is sent to landfills at three times the rate of general waste and it accounts for 70% of the toxic chemicals in there. Chemicals like lead, cadmium, beryllium, mercury, and brominated flame retardants end up in our air, water, and soil if not disposed of properly. A responsible recycler will extract what can be reused and ensure what can’t be returned to the manufacturing process is safely disposed of.

2. Divert waste from landfills

Recycling your e-waste responsibly means you’ll divert it from taking up landfill space. Sending your old computers and phones to be recycled by a responsible provider saves landfill space as well as prevents toxins from being released into our environment.

3. Repurposing electronics and metals

e-waste isn’t valueless; our old electronics are filled with precious metals, including gold and rare earth metals. These take a lot of energy and resources to mine from the ground. The metal inside e-waste can be extracted and used to make batteries, jewellery, metal plates, and other electronics. By recycling, we’re ensuring these metals continue to be used rather than sitting in landfill.

4. A positive impact on human health

As landfills unleash harmful chemicals from e-waste, your old phone or computer can cause serious conditions like kidney disease, brain damage, genetic mutations, and cancer in humans. Guiyu, China, an e-waste recycling capital, has one of the highest levels of dioxins in the world and the majority of children have lead poisoning. The health impacts can be the same if the e-waste is burned. Responsible recycling is key to prevent people in developing countries paying with their lives for our electronic lifestyles.

Platinum Electricians is a multi-award-winning electrical service provider, assisting residential, commercial, and industrial customers with our outstanding five-star service. To find out more about how our triple-accredited electricians can help you maximise the life-cycle of your electrical devices through regular wiring maintenance, contact us for a friendly chat today.