How to Dispose of Laptops

Electronic waste like laptops contains hazardous substances like lead, beryllium, cadmium, mercury, and brominated flame retardants that can contaminate the environment.

Disposing of laptops in regular trash is not advisable because these substances are hazardous to human health. They can leak into water systems and contaminate the air if not handled properly.

How to Properly Dispose of Laptops

Laptop Disposal

Disposing your old laptops is not as simple as throwing an empty milk carton in the bin. In some states, dumping old electronics like laptops can be seen as breaking the law, and not everyone has the luxury of storing an old laptop that is no longer functioning.

This blog post will explore how to dispose of your old laptops safely, how you can repurpose them, and how you can recycle them correctly. Keep reading to find out more.

Secure Data Before Disposing Of Your Laptop

Before disposing of your old laptops, it is important to secure your files, account information, passwords, bank details, and any other vulnerable information that may fall into the wrong hands.

Back up any sensitive files you want to keep private on an external hard drive or any other device you own. After securing your data, you can now proceed to perform a factory reset on your laptop to take it back to its default settings.

Donate It

You can donate your old laptop to a charity organization or a local community school if you do not require it. A charity organization or a local community school could find your old laptop useful. It will help develop the IT knowledge of young kids and students who are interested in building their skills.

Before donating, ensure your old laptop is still useful and will serve a purpose for the people you plan to donate it to. Also, do extensive research on the organization you wish to donate to, what kind of equipment they accept, and its state. Organizations like Dell Reconnect in collaboration with Goodwill and accept everything related to computers and any brand you may want to donate.

Dispose of through Waste Management Companies

Another way to dispose of your laptop if it’s no longer useful is via a waste management agency. However, not all waste management agencies usually accept electronic waste. If you find the right company that does, it will be disposed of properly, or they can easily access recycling companies that can take your old laptop and transform it into a new product.

Note that the waste management agency will require you to pay a small pick-up fee.

Utilize Take-Back Programs Provided by Manufacturers and Retailers

Manufacturers provide several exchange programs whereby your old laptop is accepted when you purchase a new one, occasionally giving you a discount on your new purchase.

These electronic shops and manufacturers also provide recycling programs. A chart on the website of the environmental protection agency allows you to search for programs by the specific product model or manufacturer.

A few recycling programs have established electronics drop-off locations for laptops and other devices, which are then recycled. You may inquire about drop-off options at your neighborhood electronics stores. The Apple take-back program provides over $1,530 for eligible laptops and other electronics in gift cards or in-store credit.

In contrast, if your laptop or any other electronic you own doesn’t fit the criteria, the firm will accept and recycle it. With an Amazon gift card, your products could qualify for a one-time promotional credit that can be attached to a new, qualified Amazon laptop.

Trade Your Old Laptop For Cash 

Your old laptop could be perfect for someone who can’t afford a brand new one, and you can also get some cash. Sites like eBay, Amazon, and Facebook Marketplace will help you make a few dollars by selling your outdated laptop, or you can take it to a walk-in store. Several walk-in stores are willing to pay a good sum for your old laptop.

If you have more than one item, you can host a garage sale to help you get rid of some of your old equipment.

Trade-In Programs

Why trash your old laptop in the garbage when you can make some money off it with the trade-in program provided by several laptop manufacturer companies? If your old laptop is still functional and you want to get rid of it because you want something new or you are tired of it, you can get paid to dump it at the trade-in program.

A trade-in program will give you the advantage of selling your old laptop much faster than trying to sell it on your own. Some companies offering trade-in programs are Amazon, Apple, Staples, BestBuy, and BuybackWorld.

Take it to a Local Community Electronic Recycling Center 

You can dispose of your laptop by contacting your local electronic recycling community and contacting them to know if the accepted electronics are like an old laptop before visiting them.

A free database of electronics recyclers around the nation is available from the National Center for Electronics Recycling. You might have to pay a little fee for recycling your laptop.

You can find the curbside collections, special collection days, and e-cycling initiatives in several towns and states. The Computer Technology Association’s Recycle Locator and Earth911‘s large recycling database both allow you to search for local choices by providing your ZIP code and the item you want to recycle. You can call 800-CLEANUP for assistance from Earth911 as well.

Safety Tips for Disposing of Your Laptop

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

Be Aware of the Risk

Securing sensitive paper files is now widely known. It is also important to destroy your online data in a safe manner. Several of your records with sensitive information can be saved on a laptop device or hard drive, and if they mistakenly fall into the wrong hands, you might encounter identity theft or internet fraud.

Be Familiar With Your State’s e-Waste Disposal Regulations

Electronic devices like laptops can be dangerous to the environment if not disposed of in the right manner. You could also get fined for disposing of your device wrongfully. Be sure to make proper inquiries on the days set aside for electronics like laptops, and dispose of them according to their regulations.

Keep the Disposal Documents Intact

Preserve your claims that your laptop disposal complies with your federal and state requirements. If not, you might face severe fines and penalties. You will be presented with a certificate of destruction containing your serial number, your device’s manufacturer, and your device’s model to show that you followed due procedures.

Recycle Your Laptop Battery Separately

Contact your recycling agency or visit your nearby domestic hazardous water collection to know if you can recycle your laptop with your battery or differently. If you are to recycle differently, make sure to take it to a battery recycling location. Visit for more information on how to recycle your laptop battery.

Reasons Why You Should Properly Dispose Of Your Old Laptops

  • Laptops and computers, when burned, can pollute the air because they contain toxins like lead and mercury.
  • They also contaminate groundwater when you dump at the site.
  • Donating is a way of giving back to the community.
  • Proper disposal protects your identity from fraudsters.
  • Proper disposal will protect you from getting into trouble in some states.

To learn the best way to dispose of other electronics, you can check our article on How to Dispose of Electronics.

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