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What Should I Know About Computer Recycling?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Computer recycling is a fantastic way to help keep the world safer and the environment clean. Computers are undoubtedly useful, but many of their components are unsafe to the environment when they are not handled properly, and unfortunately, only a fraction of computers purchased get recycled appropriately. To address this issue, there are now many different ways to recycle computers and the various parts that come with computers like printer ink.

The methods for recycling computers can come in numerous forms. Some nonprofit groups specialize in taking donated computers, fixing them and giving them to low income people or deserving businesses in the community. Ancient computers may be broken down in smaller parts for reuse in new computers, which helps to eliminate unnecessary manufacturing of new parts. The companies that make computers may be willing to buy back recently purchased computers, which they may resell as used or break down for parts. Using either a recognized computer recycling agency or reselling computers to vendors is usually the best way to ensure that all parts are dealt with in the least environmentally hazardous manner.

While companies might purchase back computers from individuals, some computer recycling centers do charge for recycling. This is especially true when people must recycle monitors, which have additional requirements for safe disposal. Other types of computer recycling centers may give people the right to claim the computer as a donation on tax returns, and certain computer items can turn a profit when recycled in the right place. Many schools now openly ask for printer cartridges and cell phone batteries, and make a small amount extra money by recycling these.

Companies that might charge for computer recycling usually don’t charge for certain types of computer parts. Laptops are typically in high demand and may not cost anything to recycle. Recycling fees on other parts vary by the agency. Another method to appropriately dispose of old computers may be employed by many companies that sell many different brands of computers. When customers are purchasing a new computer, companies may offer to pick up and recycle old computers people are replacing.

There are several ways to find reputable computer recycling programs of different types in local areas. On the Internet, people can search through websites, like those offered by the Electronics Take Back Coalition, to discover the various local computer recycling agencies deemed exceptional by this organization. Another place to look is in local phone books. Information about recycling all kinds of materials including electronic equipment is often available in the front of phone books.

Even if finding a computer recycling program proves a bit of a hassle, there are definitely advantages to proper disposal of computers. 70% of toxic waste in places like the US comes from improper computer and other electric equipment disposal. This is a huge amount, and it’s easy to see how recycling computers could very quickly reduce environmental debt.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

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Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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