Laptop Recycling: How to Recycle Your Laptop?

On average, 320 tons of gold and 7,500 tons of silver are used worldwide to construct computers each year. It is a fraction of the cost to recover these materials from recycled electronics, rather than processing raw ore from the earth. You also have to consider the pollution and emissions that come along with producing these new materials. Laptop recycling has become increasingly popular over the last decade, but there is still a need to educate consumers about why it is so important to recycle your old laptop. 

According to one EPA report, if one million laptops are recycled, we can save enough energy to power 3,500 US homes for one year. This provides clarity as to why recycling your old laptop is so important. 

Laptop Recycling: Why do it?

According to the book Recycling by Vigi Wagner, “Manufacturing a desktop computer and 17-inch CRT monitor uses at least 240 kg (530 lbs) of fossil fuels, 22 kg (50 lbs) of chemicals and 1,500 kg (3,330 lbs) of water — a total of 1.8 tons (1.9 English tons) of materials — roughly the weight of a sports utility vehicle or a rhinoceros.” The time for laptop recycling is now. 

E-waste is increasing rapidly as you read this, while precious resources that can be found in discarded laptops are going to waste, and our landfills are poisoning our air and our bodies. We are upgrading and purchasing new computers faster than ever, yet the country is slow to handle its e-waste responsibly. 

When you simply throw your laptop in the garbage, you are leaving the government and taxpayers to pick up the costs of your irresponsibility. About eighty-eight percent of laptops will go right into the landfills.

How Is Laptop Recycling Done?

If the laptop is recycled in the United States by a reputable e-cycling plant, it will first be manually deconstructed. This is due to the abundance of hazardous substances that comprise the laptop. Laptops’ plastic casings and circuit boards are treated with brominated flame retardants. Transformers and monitors along with other devices are filled to the brim with heavy metals, like zinc, lead, chromium, and cadmium. The lighting in laptops contains mercury, along with batteries. These parts must be removed and shredded.

Rare precious metals are then extracted including nickel, gold, platinum, indium, and lithium are needed to produce personal computers, thus they have a lot of market value. They must be extracted and processed for reuse. Indium alone – which is a substance used for making flat screens has exponentially risen in value – its price has increased by six times in the past five years. It is now more expensive than silver.

Before recycling your laptop, be sure that you either destroy the hard drive or erase the data. You do not want your personal information to get lost or fall into the hands of a dishonest person. Programs like DataErase, Darin’s Boot, and Nuke are helpful when it comes to wiping your computer clean.

If you cannot find a responsible recycler who is in a convenient location, you can consider dropping off your laptop at Best Buy, Staples, or Office Max to be reused. Best Buy will charge you ten dollars but offer you a ten-dollar gift card, Staples and Office Max will charge a small fee. Another chain store that will accept used laptops is Goodwill – they will typically take any brand for free.

Laptop Recycling

How to Prepare Your Laptop for Recycling

There are a few steps that you need to take before you can recycle your laptop. These steps are necessary to protect your privacy and ensure none of your sensitive information falls into the wrong hands. 


It will be important to migrate your data to your new laptop by using a cloud service or an external hard drive. Cloud services are very popular and convenient. They allow you to access your files from any computer without the need for added hardware or software. 

You can use an external drive to backup your data if you like. It is always a good idea to have a physical backup of your computer before recycling. Once your file is backed up you will probably want to take the extra steps to destroy your old hard drive. This will ensure that no one will be able to access any files. 

If you are unsure about how to dispose of your hard drive you can recruit the help of professional services, such as All Green Recycling. They will be able to destroy your hard drive and give you the proof that it is no longer accessible. 

Because the prices of electronics are going down, the need to upgrade is becoming more prevalent. More and more people are shopping online sales to get the latest and greatest devices. This does not make your old laptop inoperable, so we will go over some other alternatives to recycling later in this article.


Go through the process of de-authorizing your devices for programs that limit your device use, such as iTunes and Adobe. Before the disk is wiped clean you will want to make sure all of these services are deauthorized. Some may allow you to install their software on more than one device. However, there would be no point in keeping the software on the computer if you are going to recycle it. 

Deactivate Adobe software:

  1. Go to Help
  2. Click Deactivate
  3. Click Deactivate Permanently

Deactivate iTunes software:

  1. Run the application
  2. Click on Account
  3. Click Deauthorize This Computer

Clean and Reset      

Use software that complies with DOD standards to completely wipe your old laptop hard drive. You will find that there are reset and restore instructions for both Apple and Windows

Unplug Peripherals

If you have any external peripherals, such as speakers, external keyboards, external webcam, or a mouse, these can also be taken to the same electronic recycling company that you are working with. If these parts are not damaged you could consider selling or donating them. Repurposing old electronics is a great idea, as it will keep it out of a landfill and help someone else. 

Alternatives To Laptop Recycling

If your laptop is still in great condition then you may not be willing to recycle it. Here are some alternatives that you could consider. 

Donating a Laptop

Many non-profit organizations could use a computer. Places such as your local schools, libraries, brother or sister clubs, or any other organizations that are lacking in technology. These devices would help them help others more efficiently. If you are coming up short and not sure where you could donate your laptop, there are plenty of organizations such as Good Will or Salvation Army who work with programs and families on individual bases. These organizations will be able to find them a good home. 

Selling a Laptop

E-waste such as laptops can be handled in a couple of ways. You could throw it out, recycle it, take it somewhere for reuse as described above or you could sell it. Selling a laptop is fairly easy these days, you can turn to Craigslist or eBay. Manufacturers may offer you the value of your old computer if you return it to them. For example, Apple will give you a gift card to the Apple Store for the value of your depreciated laptop. The laptop recycling process is growing in importance as our landfills are increasing in size. Please dispose of your computer thoughtfully.

3 Reasons You Should Recycle Your Laptop

Here we will talk about why laptop recycling is important. There are hundreds of recycling centers all over the nation willing to take your laptops and we are making it our mission to help you get them there! Keep reading to find out why recycling these devices is so important.

Recycling e-waste, like laptops, helps in lessening pollution. 

E-waste of gadgets like laptops have chemicals and deadly materials that may damage the environment. The chemicals can damage the surroundings we live in. Thus, they may cause deaths of living organisms, including humans.

Recycling your old laptop can help Mother Earth. Not recycling might lead to an accumulation of unusable items that are harmful to the environment. However, recycling your old laptop can prevent the destruction of the ecosystem due to chemicals contained in your computer.

If computer recycling is not done, one of the areas to be affected is the water supply. Water is especially prone to contamination. It can then cause serious illnesses to humans.

Further, by recycling e-waste properly harvesting and over-extracting of metals is avoided. It can prevent or mitigate environmental catastrophes and destruction.

Learning how to dispose of old computers, like laptops, is part of the “electronic recycling process.” This gives importance to the idea that your laptop can be of use again. It saves energy and time, and it helps the environment a lot.

Recycling your old computer may protect your secret, private and important files and data. 

Nowadays it is easy for hackers to get your personal information by using technology. With just one click they can get your data and files without you knowing it. Even though you may think you have deleted all your information stored on your old devices, there is still be a chance your information can be stolen.

In this case, you are susceptible to having another person intruding into your files and data. They might use them to perform illegal acts against you. To avoid this possible scenario, you need to learn how to recycle your old laptop properly. Then you will be free from concern that your identity and secret files may be stolen.

It is now illegal or unlawful to throw away e-waste, like laptops, so it’s better to recycle it. 

Laws are being implemented against the disposal of e-waste such as laptops. This is to make sure that recyclable wastes are used again, instead of dumped in landfills. Currently, there are twenty-five states that are implementing this law.

The bottom line is that recycling your old laptop is essential. By doing so you are protecting the environment. Once you help protect the environment, you also protect life. This is important so that the next generations can still enjoy the beauty of Mother Earth. Again, recycling computer equipment is one of the things that we can do to help save Mother Earth.

 Where to Recycle Laptop Computers

When it comes to laptop recycling, the point is you want to keep it out of a landfill. There are several ways that you can do that. Many recycling companies will focus on reusing or properly dismantling the laptop. Click here to find an All Green Recycling Center near you.

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