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A guide to laptop recycling – Everything businesses need to know

Updated on 14 December 2023

Laptops are a staple in today’s society. They can be used for work, school, or entertainment. But what happens when a business is ready to get rid of an old laptop? You might think that just throwing it in the trash is the easiest solution, but this is actually one of the worst things you can do.

Quick, easy, no commitment!

Laptops contain harmful chemicals and materials that can harm the environment if not disposed of properly. Also they contain lots of sensitive data that needs to be destroyed to stop it getting into the wrong hands.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about recycling laptops!

Pipedrive logo The CRM platform to grow your business
  • Great for entrepreneurs
  • Powerful data analytics
  • Manage sales and data
Rippling logo Manage all your employee data
  • Run in 90 seconds
  • 100% error-free
  • Automatic tx filing
Wix logo Powerful web builder and advanced business tools
  • Great for startups
  • Powerful web page builder
  • E-commerce available
Planable logo Supercharged content planning
  • Great for marketing
  • Better than lists or sheets
  • Manage social media
Webador logo Create a new website in 10 minutes. Easy.
  • Launch your website fast
  • Powerful data intuitive
  • No coding skills needed

So whether you are trying to downsize your collection of laptops or you just want to get rid of an old one, recycling is the way to go. Here’s what you need to know about recycling laptops.

Why recycle laptops?

The average lifespan of a laptop is about three to five years. However, laptops can last much longer if they are properly cared for. Once your business is ready to get rid of its old laptops, recycling is the best option. Not only is it better for the environment, but it can also save your business money. By recycling a laptop businesses can recoup some of the costs associated with buying a new one.

What is WEEE?
The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2006 (WEEE) regulates the recycling of laptops in the UK. The regulations were drawn up to prevent laptops and other electronic equipment from being disposed of in landfill sites.

It is estimated that amount of e-waste will double by 2050. This is a huge problem because e-waste contains harmful chemicals and materials that can leach into the ground and contaminate our water supply. This is why being able to recycle a laptop is so important as it can help reduce these hazards.

How is a laptop recycled?

There are a few steps when you recycle a laptop:

  1. Inspect each laptop to see if it can be reused
  2. Remove hard drives to destroy the data held on them
  3. Use parts for refurbishing other machines
  4. Recycle and recover all materials if laptop can’t be used
  5. Issuing a certificate of destruction

A company will typically check to see if it can be reused

Once a company decides that it’s time to recycle its old laptops, a waste disposal company will collect the laptops and inspect each one to see if it can be reused. This includes checking to see if the laptop is in good working condition and that all of its parts are still in tact. If the laptop meets these requirements, it will be refurbished and put back on the market. Refurbishing includes wiping the hard drive to make sure no sensitive data is left on them.

Remove the hard drives to wipe the data off them

If the laptop cannot be refurbished, the next step is to remove all of the hard drives from the laptops. Once the data has been wiped from the hard drives, they are typically recycled or sold for parts. If recycled they are hard drives are shredded and the metals are separated for reuse.

Use parts for refurbishing other machines

If a laptop is beyond repair, the company will then use any working parts to refurbish other laptops. This includes things like the memory, processors, and batteries.

Recycle and recover all materials if laptop can’t be used

The last step is to recycle and recover all materials from the laptop if it can’t be used. This includes metals, plastics, and glass. All of these materials are recycled and reused in other products.

Issuing a certificate of destruction

Once a laptop has been recycled, businesses will receive a certificate of destruction, issued by the recycling company. This is to ensure that all data has been wiped from the machine and that it has been properly disposed of.

Common mistakes with laptop recycling

One of the most common mistakes businesses make when recycling laptops is not removing all of the data from the hard drives. This can lead to data breaches and identity theft. That’s why it’s important to make sure that all data is removed from the hard drive before recycling it.

Another common mistake is throwing away a laptop that still has value. While it may be old and outdated, there are people who can use it. Donating it to a school or charity is a much better option than simply throwing it away. Make sure that all the data is wiped from the laptop before doing this.

In a rush to recycle of laptops businesses don’t take time to check the credentials of the recycling company in question. Make sure they are NAID certified and that they will meet regulations. By using unregulated companies can lead to laptops being sent to landfill sites or sold overseas where there are not strict e-waste laws.

Cost of laptop recycling

The cost of recycling laptops varies depending on the company you use and the number of laptops you have. Some companies offer a trade in service which helps you recoup some of the costs. Being able to recoup this cost is important as it can help offset the expense of buying new laptops.

FAQs about laptop recycling

What is the best way to recycle laptops?

The best way to recycle laptops is to use a certified recycling company. This ensures that all of the data is removed from the hard drive and that the laptop is properly recycled.

How much does it cost to recycle a laptop?

The cost of recycling a laptop varies depending on the company you use. Some companies charge by the pound, while others have a flat fee.

What happens to laptops when they are recycled?

When laptops are recycled, the data hard drives are removed and wiped clean. The rest of the laptop is then disassembled and the materials are recycled.

Why recycle laptops?

Recycling laptops is better for the environment and can save businesses money. When recycling, businesses should use a certified company to ensure that all data is removed from the hard drive.

What are the benefits of laptop recycling?

The benefits of recycling laptops include reducing e-waste, preventing data breaches, and helping to preserve the environment.

Reviewed by , Managing Director

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