Computer Recycling & Disposal

Computers play a huge role in modern life. As technology continues to advance, consumers are replacing their laptops, computers, and tablets much more often.

But when it’s time to upgrade, how do you handle computer disposal? Laptops and tablets are made from electrical components, plastics, glass, and chemicals, that can harm the environment if not properly thrown away. Unfortunately, many waste management companies do not accept electronics with their regular trash collection. 

Convenient PC & laptop disposal service

If you need a hand getting rid of your old computers and tablets, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? can help! Whether it’s a small item from your home or a bigger load of equipment from an office or school, we can handle it. We’ll do all the loading, recycle the recyclables, and donate the donatables.

Here's how our service works: 

1. Simply schedule your free onsite estimate online or by calling 1-800-468-5865.

2. Our friendly, uniformed truck team will call you 15-30 minutes before your scheduled 2-hour appointment window.

3. When we arrive, just point to the old or broken computer you want to be removed and we’ll provide you with an up-front, all-inclusive price.

4. Once you say the word, we’ll haul your computer away from wherever it’s located and finish by tidying up the area. Plus, we will recycle and donate whatever we can, whenever possible.

How do I dispose of or recycle old computers and laptops?

When it's time to get rid of your old computer, you may be wondering the best way to do it. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has specific guidelines for consumer computer disposal. Ideally, old computers should be reused or donated first, recycled next, and then disposed of as a last resort. 

Here’s how you can handle computer or laptop disposal:

  1. Back up any important data you want to keep in a cloud or on a flashdrive.
  2. De-authorize any programs you need an account or licence to run. 
  3. Remove any sensitive data, such as bank statements or tax returns, with a data removal program.
  4. Delete your browsing history.
  5. Consult with your employers about any company data disposal policies.
  6. Uninstall your programs, such as Microsoft Office or ecommerce programs that may save your personal information.
  7. Complete a full factory reset on your computer to delete any saved preferences.
  8. If the computer is unusable, consider removing your hard drive and destroying it by hand or with a tool such as a hammer or drill.
  9. Once your computer is free of personal files, consider what your best options are for getting rid of it.
  10. If you choose to sell it, advertise online or take it in to a computer retailer to find out about trade-in options.
  11. If your computer still works, consider donating it to family, friends, or any computer-based charities in your area.
  12. If you choose to recycle your laptop, reach out to your local electronics recycler and ask about drop-off policies.
  13. As a last resort, throw your old laptop away with your garbage. However, be aware that throwing computers into local landfills is not legal in every city.

No matter how you decide to handle your PC disposal, be aware of the potential hazards throwing your old computers into the garbage can cause. 

How are computers recycled?

Recycling old computers, laptops, and other personal electronic devices involves breaking the items down and reusing their recyclable materials, such as metals, plastics, and electrical components, to create new, valuable products. 

Computers are made from a variety of valuable sources, such as:

  • Copper
  • Aluminum
  • Lead
  • Gold
  • Silicon
  • Tin
  • Iron
  • Cadmium
  • Plastic
  • Palladium

Many of these materials can be melted down and reused over and over again without altering their properties. To ensure these items get properly recycled and don’t end up in the landfill, you’ll need to take these items directly to the recycling facility.

Can you throw a computer or laptop in the trash?

Throwing personal electronic devices such as computers, laptops, and tablets into landfills and dumps can cause irreparable harm to the environment. There’s a small chance that the e-waste you throw in the garbage will be separated and recycled properly, and an even smaller chance that someone might salvage it before it gets collected.

Once it ends up in the landfill, it may sit there for years. The toxic metals and flame retardants contained inside can slowly leak out, damaging the soil and local water supply. As the metal and plastics that form the computer do not break down naturally, the computer will continue to burden the surrounding area by taking up valuable space in the landfill.

To ensure this doesn’t happen, you’ll need to make sure it goes directly to a recycling facility.

The recycling facility will then use mechanical shredding and a high-tech separation device to take out the usable metals. Plastics and other materials will also be separated out and reused where possible.

Why is it important to recycle or properly dispose of old computers?

Recycling e-waste helps prevent harmful materials from negatively affecting the environment. Proper computer disposal can keep old plastic and metal devices out of landfills and reduce the need to use non-renewable, raw materials to create new products. This means using less energy, less financial resources, and having less of an impact on areas that would be mined and destroyed.

Many computers contain harmful materials that can cause damage to the environment if not handled properly. These materials include: 

  • Mercury
  • Lithium-ion
  • Lead
  • Dioxins
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
  • Chromium
  • Radioactive isotopes
  • Cadmium

Because of the potential danger leaving these materials in landfills can cause, many local dumps will not accept old computers. You may also find yourself facing fines if you put your old computers out with the trash.

How do I dispose of old, broken computer monitors?

If you have an old PC monitor that doesn’t work, you may be wondering what to do with it. Computer screens contain materials such as lead, metals, and other chemicals that can damage the environment. Therefore, they do not belong in the trash.

Here’s how you can responsibly get rid of your old computer monitor:

  1. Unplug your monitor for safety and clean it with paper towels and rubbing alcohol.
  2. Reach out to local computer retailers and ask out about trade-in, second hand buying, or recycling programs.
  3. If you want to make a few dollars, advertise your old monitor online to potential local buyers
  4. If you can’t recycle, trade in, or sell your old monitor, contact local thrift stores and electronics charities to ask about acceptable donations.
  5. When you’re ready to drop your monitor off, place it in your vehicle face down on top of a blanket or towel to protect the screen

Transporting old, bulky monitors can be difficult to do on your own. Save yourself the hassle and reach out to 1-800-GOT-JUNK? today - we’ll get your computer and any other unwanted junk out of your way in no time!

What parts can be recycled in a computer?

Computers are made of a variety of components that can be reused, whole or broken, and recycled to create new products. Some of these components include power cords, motherboards, hard drives, RAM, graphic cards, keyboards, aluminum casing, and disk drives.

What should I do with my old computer?

Getting rid of an old computer can be harmful to the environment if not handled properly. If the device still works, here are some other useful things you can do instead of throwing it out: 

  • Donate unwanted laptops and tablets to local schools, charities, or other nonprofit organizations.
  • Recycle it at a local recycling facility.
  • Scrap it for parts.
  • Gift it to a friend or family member.
  • Use it for gaming.
  • Set it up in the living room as a communal computer.
  • Sell it online or to a friend.
  • Use it as an experimental computer.
  • Convert your old computer into a home server or network-attached storage unit.

Just because your computer is old, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value. There are a ton of ways to make use of your old computer - and most of them keep e-waste out of landfills. 

We take all types of personal computers

Uniformed TOM ready to haul your old computers
  • Laptops and Notebooks
  • Desktop Computers
  • Monitors & Displays
  • Tablets
  • Mini-Computers
  • Workstations
  • Rack-Mount or Blade Servers
  • Personal Computers
Uniformed TOM ready to haul your old computers

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I need a new computer?

As common as PCs, laptops, and tablets are becoming, it can be hard to decide when you should spend the money and buy a new one. 

  • Here are 10 signs that it’s time to upgrade your computer:
  • Your current laptop or computer is running slow.
  • You cannot load or use the latest software.
  • Your computer is broken and will not run.
  • It costs more to fix your broken PC than it does to replace it.
  • Your computer is making strange noises.
  • Your PC is full of hard-to-get-rid-of viruses.
  • You've paid for fixes or upgrades before.
  • You need more memory.
  • You need a more advanced CPU.
  •  Your computer is vital to everyday tasks.

Thanks to the many advances in the personal computer industry, new laptops and PCs have never been more affordable. When you’re ready to be out with the old and in with the new, remember to properly dispose of your old computer and recycle when you can.