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How To Recycle Your Old Laptops Safely And Easily

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If you get a new laptop every few years, you may keep the old ones for backup or you may keep them around because you're not sure how you can get rid of them. You've probably heard laptops are dangerous to the environment if they're tossed in landfills. You may also be worried about someone getting your personal information off one. Here's a look at why you should recycle your old laptops and how you can do it safely.

Why Recycling Laptops Is A Good Practice

Electronic equipment contains heavy metals that contaminate the soil when they're thrown in landfills. Your city probably prohibits you from throwing old laptops in the trash for that reason. However, old laptops can be recycled because of useful parts they contain, and then the recycling company can dispose of the dangerous parts safely. Recycling is useful for another reason too. If your laptop still works but is just old and slow, it may still be useful for someone who wants a computer to check email and doesn't plan to watch movies or play games on it. By giving an old laptop to someone else or having the parts recycled, you can extend its life and usefulness after you're finished with it.

How To Prepare A Laptop For Recycling

An easy way to remove your data from a computer is to remove the hard drive. Your data remains on the hard drive, but it won't be on the laptop any longer. Before you do that, be sure to transfer all the files you want to save. Also, deauthorize programs if needed. Some programs allow a set number of devices per account, so you want to deauthorize an old laptop before you give it away or dispose of it. If you'll be donating the laptop or giving it to someone, then you'll have to leave the hard drive in place and erase your data from it. Simply deleting files won't work.

You can use software designed to erase your laptop or you can format the hard drive and reinstall the operating system from scratch. Some newer operating systems allow you to erase the hard drive with a menu option. If you're not sure how to erase your computer, get tech advice from a hard drive destruction professional or look up the operating system online for step-by-step instructions.

Where To Recycle Your Laptop

Recycling a laptop is easy to do. You can probably take your laptop to an electronics store as many of these accept old laptops that they refurbish or pass on to a recycling company. If the laptop still works and you've erased your data from the hard drive, then you can even donate the laptop to a thrift store as an easy way to get rid of it.