How to Recycle Your Old Computer
Find Out Where and How to Recycle, Donate, or Reuse Your Computer
When it comes to computers, there's a certain gray area that exists. Can you recycle your computer, and how do you do it? E-waste is one of the most hazardous forms of all waste. There have been chemicals found in computers like bromines, lead, and PVC, so it is imperative these materials are treated seriously and not just thrown into a landfill. Read on to find out how to recycle your old computer and prevent it from being thrown into landfill conditions for all eternity.
Wipe Your Hard Drive Clean
Before you recycle your old computer, you should seriously think about wiping the hard drive clean, or even destroying it. The hard drive is where all of your sensitive information is stored. If it is left intact on the computer, it could be potentially get into the wrong hands. In the age of identity theft, phishing, and online security breaches, you can never be too careful. Read this article from PC World to completely erase your hard drive.
Evaluate the Worth of Your Computer
How old is your computer, and what working condition is it in? Computers typically don't last longer than five years, sometimes more, sometimes less (and this doesn't seem to be changing anytime soon). Hundreds of millions of computers are purchased and disposed of annually, so the e-waste is really building up.
First, you should evaluate the worth of your computer. If it still works and isn't considered stone age technology, consider selling it or donating it. Local schools, shelters, and non profits could certainly use them. If the condition of your computer is poor, won't start, the operating system doesn't work, or the technology is simply too old to be of any use, it's time to recycle it.
Find a Place to Recycle Your Computer
There are no nationwide government programs that are dedicated to recycling computers and e-waste (though it would make sense if a program existed). If you'd like to recycle your computer, you'll have to rely on local programs and big manufacturers to recycle it. Here are some of those programs.
Places to Recycle Your Computer
- Call2Recycle - Battery Recycling
This site specializes in connecting you with battery recycling and cellphone recyclers near you. Like computers, these are very important!
- Donate and Recycle Hardware
Enter your zip code and find a local place to donate your computer or hardware. Broaden your search by including results within 100 miles.
- Digital Tips Recycle Finder
This website specializes in connecting you with a facility that could recycle your electronics and e-waste. Better yet, they might point you in the direction of how you can reuse it instead.
- Computers Recycling - Earth911.com
You may have trouble finding a computer recycling facility near you, but you can check Earth 911 just in case. Who knows, it could be free and legit.
Retailers that Recycle Computers
- Toshiba Computer Recycling
Trade in your Toshiba computer on their website and have a shipping label sent to you.
- Staples Computer Recycling (and Electronics)
Staples has a great recycling program. If you have a DELL, they'll recycle it for free. If you have other electronics, they'll charger $10 per item.
- HP Recycling
Hewlett-Packard's environmental website includes information on Hewlett-Packard's operations, environmental programs for products and take-back and recycling programs.
- Global Recycling Options | Dell
Customers across the globe can recycle their unwanted electronics through the convenient and responsible recycling programs of Dell. The catch: you must buy a Dell to recycle your old computer (of any kind).
- Best Buy Recycling Program
No matter where you bought it, Best Buy says they can recycle it. Most of it, anyway. See the website for complete details.