repurposing as a part of your recycling efforts

3 Steps For Recycling Your Computer

It's not uncommon to hold onto old technology until it is so hopelessly outdated that it no longer has any real value. If you have old computers taking up room in the closet, then recycling them is a responsible choice. Recycling your old computers, laptops, and tablets is a green option compared to just throwing the old tech in the trash. Learn the three steps for computer recycling so you can dispose of your old tech correctly.

#1: Wipe the data

You do not want to leave any of your personal data on a computer that is leaving your possession. There are always dishonest people that may find a way to get your data. Deleting alone isn't sufficient, since the old data can still sometimes be retrieved. If the old computer still powers on, use data erasing software to turn all of your data into meaningless nonsense. For computers that no longer power on or won't allow you to install new software, physical destruction is the next best option. Simply remove the hard drive and destroy it with a hammer. Just make sure to wear safety glasses!

#2: Remove peripherals

Many recycling programs do not accept peripheral devices beyond a monitor, and of those that do, those devices may need to be separated from the main computer before they are acceptable. Further, many peripheral items, like a mouse or keyboard, can work with even brand new computers. If the peripheral is still functioning, it may be better to donate it rather than recycle. Beyond peripherals, you may also need to remove the battery from a laptop, especially if you are using a mail-in recycling program. Laptop batteries can't be sent via regular mail. Further, many recycling programs aren't equipped to handle the batteries.

#3: Find a recycling location

Once your computer is ready to go, it's time to find a recycling center. Some municipalities offer e-waste recycling, either via a drop-off center or during special events (such as during Earth Week). Some businesses also provide e-waste recycling. Just be aware that there may be a charge for these options. There are also dedicated e-waste recycling companies available. If you do not have access to a e-waste recycler locally, look for a mail-in recycler. Some recyclers may even pay cash for certain devices, such as certain laptops, tablets, or cell phones, which means you can profit from your electronic garbage.

For more help, contact a computer recycling service in your area.