Where to Recycle Laptops Safely

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Recycle Laptops Safely

It’s important to recycle your laptop because you are doing your part for the environment and preventing waste from contaminating natural resources. You should follow these tips on what to do with your old laptop before throwing it away to ensure that you’re properly disposing of it.

But what do you do with it first? How can you make sure that you’re properly disposing of it?

Recycling electronic equipment is important to keep it out of landfills to emit chemicals that pollute the environment. Computers contain hazardous waste like lead, mercury, and cadmium, which are all toxic. These toxins can contaminate groundwater supplies. Disposing your computer improperly will also create unnecessary waste.

There are many different ways to dispose of a laptop, and we’ve outlined them all in this article. You should follow these tips on how to recycle your old laptop before throwing it away properly.

What to do with your old computer before throwing it away:

1) Sell your laptop – One of the easiest ways to recycle your old computer is to sell it. Do a quick search for “sell my laptop,” and you’ll find dozens of websites that will buy it from you. You can often make more money by selling old electronics than if you recycled them for parts.

2) Donate your laptop – You can also donate your computer equipment to a charity, public school, hospital, or recycling program. Ask around in your community to see which organizations would be most likely to accept a donation of your unwanted electronics. Some places that might take a donated laptop include schools, kindergartens, and charities. For example, Computer Aid International ships old computers to developing nations.

3) Give it to a family member or friend – You can always give your old electronic products to a friend or family member who might need one. If you’re looking for the best way to recycle your old laptop and help someone out at the same time, this is probably it!

How to correctly recycle an old laptop

If you cannot do any of the above tips, your only option is to take it to a transfer station for recycling and disposal. Check with your local government to find out if there are any available options for you. If all else fails, dispose of it at a landfill.

Whatever recycling option you take, you must remove any data from the device. Some organizations will do this for you but follow our guide below if you are sensitive about your personal information.

Backup all your files.

Before you recycle any electronic device, it’s important to backup all of your files. If the device is broken, this process becomes even more important as there might be a way to recover some data. We recommend using an external hard drive or cloud storage for laptops and desktops – see below for more details.

If the only option is to dispose of your old laptop at a landfill, it’s important to back up the hard drive. Once the data has been removed from your device, you can remove the hard drive and send it to a recycler for proper disposal.

If possible, make sure that all data on your computer is properly backed up before recycling. This way, you won’t have to worry about losing anything important when you send it to its afterlife.

cloud storage

External hard drives vs. cloud storage

Some people are wary of using cloud storage because they don’t want their data stored on a third party’s server, but this is one of the safest ways to backup your files. There are plenty of options for both, so decide which one will work best for you.

External hard drives are great in that they are portable and ensure your data is stored with you wherever you go. They have the added benefit of being easily plugged into a computer so you can quickly transfer files without having to worry about an internet connection. If using an external, make sure it has the latest antivirus software.

Cloud storage is more reliable than an external hard drive because it backs up all your information on multiple servers. This ensures that if one server goes down, there are still copies of your files stored elsewhere that you can access. Cloud services often provide automatic or scheduled backups, too. If using cloud storage, make sure you select a provider with good reviews and the latest antivirus software.


If you are comfortable working with computers, you can use a program called Darik’s Boot and Nuke(DBAN). It’s open-source software designed to wipe the entire hard drive clean of any data quickly. You can download it for free on their website.

Wipe your drive

If you don’t feel comfortable using DBAN, use alternative software. Multiple programs specialize in securely wiping drives clean of any data. You should wipe the drive several times to ensure that no personal data is recoverable.

Most people tend to underestimate the number of files they have on their computers. Files like your browsing history, cached data you don’t need anymore, and even old documents that are no longer used can leave traces behind if not properly removed before selling or giving away a device.

Factory reset

This is the safest and easiest option as you’ll be restoring your computer to its factory settings. This will wipe any old data from the disk and restore it to when you first bought it. You can find instructions for doing this on the support website of the manufacturer.

To make sure the data is completely gone, you should use shredding software. Windows 10 lets you do this from within its factory reset options. If your operating system isn’t Windows 10, it’s good to run additional tools to delete all data on the drive/device completely.

Why recycling your old laptop is important. 

Sending your old laptop to a recycler ensures that you won’t send it to the landfills, and instead, someone else can reuse it. Old laptops often have lead, plastics, and other toxic materials inside them, polluting groundwater supplies if the devices are left in landfills.

Some organizations specifically take old household electronics to be recycled or refurbished for lower-income families. The electronics are either resold or recycled, so it’s always good to look for organizations like this if you don’t have the time/knowledge to do it yourself.

Old laptops dumped in landfills contribute a lot to pollution caused by discarded batteries. The entire laptop shouldn’t go into landfills but instead, be recycled.

Recycling your electronic waste ensures that lead, plastics, and other toxic materials are disposed of properly rather than left in the environment to pollute. Most local authorities run some electronics recycling programs, so it’s advisable to check first. Because of the hazardous materials inside the electronic item, the recycling center may charge a recycling fee. Again, it’s best to check first and ask what your options are.


When the life cycle of a laptop ends, it’s time to recycle it. The most efficient way is to wipe the hard drive clean, and then factory reset the computer. Suppose you’d rather not do that yourself. In that case, you can always send it to an electronics recycler or look up organizations/companies in your area that specialize in computer recycling and properly dispose of toxic materials. 

If you’re comfortable working with computer equipment, you can use tools like Darik’s Boot and Nuke to wipe your device clean and restore it to when you bought it.

Recycling electronics reduces unnecessary waste and ensures that toxins pollute natural resources and groundwater supplies in landfills. It also ensures that no personal data is recoverable.

Empire Laptops is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.
Edison Joshua

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