How to Safely Recycle or Dispose of Old Computers

Less than 20% of electronic waste is recycled worldwide. Why is that a problem? They contain hundreds of chemicals such as lead, cadmium, and mercury, which can pose serious threats to the environment.

Not only that, but they can be harmful to humans as well. For example, the chemicals can affect the brain, liver, and heart.

How should you deal with old electronics? What’s the best way to dispose of old computers?

For the answers, be sure to keep reading! We’ll be going over everything that you need to know about how to recycle computers below.

Remove All Personal Data 

Remove all sensitive data from the computer—that way, no one will be able to access your personal information. Simply hitting the delete button won’t be enough, however. The files will continue to exist on your hard drive even after you’ve emptied the recycle bin.

To permanently delete the files, you’ll have to use a third-party program such as Eraser; it’ll overwrite the data entirely so that it won’t be recoverable.

Just remember to back up the files beforehand as they’ll be gone forever once you delete them. For example, you can transfer them to an external hard drive or USB stick.

Recycle Your Old Computer 

Once you’ve wiped the hard drive, you can recycle the computer. For example, you can drop it off at an electronic recycling depot. ITAD and recyclers are another option. They’ll break down the various components and the ones that can’t be reused will be safely and responsibly recycled.

There may also be free pick-up services, depending on where you are.

And chances are, you won’t have to pay anything. Some organizations may even give you a tax-deductible receipt for the item. When in doubt, you can always call ahead and ask.

Sell Your Old Computer

Another option is to sell the computer. For example, you can list it on eBay. You can also sell it locally on sites such as Craigslist. Just make sure to include photos as well as the technical specifications.

Certain retailers such as Best Buy also have trade-in programs where you can trade-in your used computer for a gift card, which you can then use to upgrade your old computer.

If you want, you can also sell the parts individually. If anything, that can bring in even more money. Keep in mind, however, that that can take more time so it may not be ideal if you’re looking to clear some space quickly.

How to Dispose of Old Computers the Right Way

As you can see, there are a few ways that you can dispose of old computers. Just remember to delete all of your personal data beforehand—you don’t want there to be any data privacy issues!

Was this post helpful? Looking for more computer recycling advice? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our technology section!

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