How to Dispose of Old Computers

Not every home has the luxury or capacity to keep old computers that are no longer functional. It is of no use for homes that do, and you can maximize the luxury by storing valuable items there instead.

Disposing of it in the regular trash is not advisable either because it contains heavy metals and other materials that are hazardous to human health.

However, there are proper ways to dispose of your old computers, and you will learn about them in this post. But first, we begin with how to keep your data safe before you dispose of your old computer.

Keeping Your Data Safe Before Disposing Of Your Old Computers

Disposing of your old computers begins with ensuring the safety of your files and other information on the computer. You should create a backup for sensitive files and ensure they do not get into the wrong hands. Follow the instructions below to do this.

Create A Backup

The first step before disposing of your old computer is to create backup vital programs and files. Important files you should backup include photos, videos, audio, and document files. Browse every file and folder on your PC to know the essential files you need to keep.

There are different options for backing up your data. You may transfer your files to a new PC if you already have a replacement for the old PC, and OneDrive is a reliable tool for Windows operating system users.

A similar alternative to OneDrive is saving your files to the cloud. There are different cloud storage services available, including Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox, iCloud, Icedrive, Deegoo, Yandex Disk, MEGA, and MediaFire.

Another option for backing up your data is to save them to an external storage device. External storage devices are flash drives and portable hard drives. Your choice of storage device will depend on the device’s brand and size and your data size.

Disconnect All Hardware Devices

Ensure no hardware device connects to your computer before you dispose of it. Disconnect every wireless hardware device starting from mouse, printer, keyboard, Wi-Fi, wireless display, and so on. Disconnecting the devices is necessary to guide against dangers from theft and other criminal acts.

LogOut Of All Online Accounts

Another essential step before disposing of your computer is to sign out of every online account on the PC. Logging out of online accounts helps disconnect the PC from your online accounts, and failure to do so exposes your accounts to danger from third parties that may have access to the PC after disposing of it.

Wipe Your Hard Drive

It is crucial to ensure all your programs and files are destroyed and not recoverable before getting rid of your computer. The last step to ensure that is to wipe your hard drive.

You can sign out of every online account, disconnect every hardware device, delete private data after backing them up, and reinstall a new operating system to overwrite the existing one. But, a third party can still access the details with a few tools. Therefore, you should wipe the hard drive clean and leave nothing behind.

Follow the steps below to wipe your hard drive on a Windows 11 PC. 

  • Search for recovery on your computer. 
  • Launch the program when it displays in the search result.
  • Click the reset PC button in the recovery window.
  • Select remove everything from the prompt that displays.
  • Choose the local reinstall option to reinstall Windows on your computer locally. You can also use the cloud download option if it does not work.
  • Click on change settings. 
  • Turn on the switch next to the clean data option.
  • Confirm the action on the confirmation window that pops up and click Next.
  • Click Reset to begin the process.

The system will reset your computer, delete every data on your hard drive, and reinstall a new operating system.

Wiping your hard drive clean on another Windows PC is similar, but the process is different with a Mac PC. When your hard drive is clean, it is time to dispose of your old computer.

Note: you can shred your hard drive if you have no plans to reuse it.

Ways To Properly Dispose Of Old Computers

Your computers are harmless gadgets, but they become dangerous to the environment when you pile them in a garbage lot. Just like you dispose of car tires and other hard-to-recycle items, you can dispose of them in the following ways.

Reuse The Computer

Your old computer may still be valuable, and it will be best to reuse it rather than dispose of it. Sometimes, you can repurpose the computer’s components or reuse the whole computer.

The computer screen is reusable with a similar computer, and you can reuse the battery if it is still strong. You can turn your hard drive into an external storage device by fitting it into an external casing. Other reusable components include RAM, disk drive, keyboard, optical mouse, speakers, etc.

Also, you can reuse your old computer as a whole instead of scrapping it and using the components independently. One of the ways to reuse your old computer is to turn it into a home network server for connecting home electronics, a dedicated game server for hosting multiplayer games, or a secondary computing server. 


You can donate your old computer if you no longer need it, but it is still functional. A local school looking to refurbish their computer lab is a great place to donate your old computers, and it will allow young students to explore ICT and learn cheaply.

You can also donate your computer to hospitals, orphanages, non-profit organizations like World Computer Exchange, National Cristina Foundation, Donation Town, etc. Many non-profit organizations are certified to refurbish old computers and have connections with many international charities.

Trade-In Programs

Why trash your old computer in the garbage when you can make some bucks off it? When your old computer is still functional, you have the advantage of getting a reward for disposing of it in a trade-in program.

Many international companies offer trade-in programs where you trade old electronics like computers, smartwatches, and phones and receive compensation for purchasing a new gadget. A trade-in program will give you the advantage of selling your old computer fast rather than trying to sell them on your own.

Some companies offering trade-in programs are Amazon, Apple, Staples, Bestbuy, and BuybackWorld.

Use Waste Management Agencies

When your computer breaks or becomes obsolete, your best option may be to trash it, and you can do it properly by calling a waste management agency. 

Although not all waste management agencies take electronic waste, those that do will help adequately dispose of your old electronics. Some agencies have access to recycling companies that can remake your old computer into new products. 

However, most waste management agencies will charge you a fee to pick up your old computer. 

Hard-To-Recycle Community Collection Events

Participating in a hard-to-recycle community collection event is a proper way to dispose of your old computers. These events are sponsored by the government or by environmental organizations in your community and target collecting hazardous waste in a community.

The goal of a hard-to-recycle community collection event is to keep bulky waste away from human settlements and ease citizens of the stress of properly disposing of such waste.

Therefore, look out for a future waste collection event in your area if you want to dispose of your old computer or other hard-to-recycle waste in such events. You may need to pre-register for free to participate in some cases, and disposing of some materials may attract a little charge. 

Recycling Companies

When you cannot donate a computer because it is too old, you may conclude it is obsolete and no longer helpful. However, a recycling company can still turn such electronic devices into new products.

Electronic recyclers have professionals with a superior understanding of electronic devices and the tech industry. They can refurbish your old computer and recycle its components.

You can find an electronics recycler by entering your Zip code at Call2Recycle or your ZIP code and the product you wish to recycle (computer in this case) at Earth911.

Why You Should Properly Dispose Of Your Old Computers

Below are the reasons you should carefully dispose of your old computer. 

  • Computers contain toxins like lead and mercury, which are released into the air when you burn them.
  • The toxins also pollute the groundwater when you dump old computers at a site.
  • Proper disposal helps protect your identity and reduce the risk of theft. 
  • Donating your old computer to non-profit organizations is a way of giving back to the community.
  • Proper disposal sometimes serves as a source of making money.
  • Recycling old computers will save manufacturing time and energy of extracting raw materials.
  • Disposing of your old computer properly saves you from the wrath of law in some countries.


That is all on how to dispose of your old computer. Always backup your data before the disposal so you can transfer all your files into your new computer and maintain your productivity. 

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