How Computer Recycling Works: What to do with Your Old Desktop

Table of Contents Computer Recycling & Data DestructionBeware of Irresponsible RecyclersGreenCitizen to the Rescue Advancement in technology means more and more computing power in smaller packages like laptops and tablets.  People are on the move and are looking… Read More

Advancement in technology means more and more computing power in smaller packages like laptops and tablets.  People are on the move and are looking for their technology to go with them. Since so many companies and consumers are replacing their PCs with smaller devices, the need for computer recycling is growing fast.

At GreenCitizen, we are seeing companies replace hundreds of desktops and LCDs at any given time. Plus, many of our recycling drop-off customers are replacing their desktop computers at home with laptops and tablets too.

Computer Recycling & Data Destruction

Like recycling a laptop, the most important step in preparing for recycling a computer is data backup. Both Apple and Windows operating systems offer ways to help you backup your data safely. Once your data is backed up, you can then find a reputable recycler to help crush or data wipe your system for responsible reuse.

(To learn how to recycle a laptop, click here.)

Even if  your system is so old that the data is of no use to you, it still  has confidential information such as your email address, phone number, social security info, or other sensitive information. The more secure way to destroy the hard drive for you or your company is to find a responsible recycler. While there might be a small cost to do this, the peace of mind you get from knowing your confidential data is destroyed is priceless.

If your desktop is too old to run current popular web applications, a responsible recycler will break it down. They will then send these parts to a certified de-manufacturer for raw materials. Making products out of recycled raw materials produces less CO2 and water. It also saves having to dig in the earth for more precious materials while reducing the use of petroleum to make plastic.

Beware of Irresponsible Recyclers

Person walking through ewaste landfill

Is computer recycling safe? Yes, when done the right way. When a desktop computer is not properly recycled, it effects you, your company, and this beautiful earth we are trying to save. For example, using an irresponsible recycler to pick up your desktop for free increases the risk of them selling it to an exporter. This exporter might send your computer to a developing country under the false claim of reuse.

Due to lack of government environmental regulations and oversight, impoverished communities in developing countries try to salvage as much value from a desktop by any means. This includes looking up hard drives and breaking up a computer into useful parts. They then burn the remaining remnant or PC boards for traces of metals. Open burning of electronics contaminates local water sources and is harmful to the communities who live there. This isn’t what computer recycling is about. It’s immoral and a crime against nature and its inhabitants.

GreenCitizen to the Rescue

Since our start, we have helped divert over 20 million pounds of electronics from landfills and global dumping. We have also returned over 230,000 electronics back to the U.S for responsible recycling.

For those interested in computer recycling in San Francisco, we have a convenient drop-off center near the San Francisco Airport in Burlingame. At the GreenCitizen Eco-center, you not only can drop off items for electronic recycling, but also have your computer hard drives destroyed or wiped clean and responsibly dispositioned through our ITAD services. We also have electronic waste pickup options for businesses in the San Francisco area.

Our Eco Center is open Monday to Saturday from 10 to 6. No appointment is necessary. We have a passionate environmental staff that helps you unload your recycling items and helps you through the process.

If you want to recycle your computer outside San Francisco, or you simply don’t have the time to go to our Eco Center, just mail in your old desktop to us and we’ll take care of recycling it responsibly.

You can also use our Green Directory to search for the nearest electronics recycling center to you.

There is a right way to recycle your old desktop. For more information about computer recycling, give us a call at (650) 493-8700 or message us on our website’s chat!

James Kao is the founder/CEO of GreenCitizen, which provides products and services that help make every day Earth Day. He's passionate about data and sustainability, with a deep background in launching, funding, and managing successful tech companies. James enjoys spending quality time with his family, hiking, traveling, watching well-made documentaries, and eating good healthy food. read more »

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10 Comments on “How Computer Recycling Works: What to do with Your Old Desktop

    It caught my attention that you said that computer recyclers are the best way to destroy any confidential data. The computer that I used for work has gotten old and needs replacement, however, I’m hesitant to dispose of it since it has a lot of important company documents and accounts that I fear may be recovered if I were to give it away or throw it. It’s good to know that I won’t have to worry about that with a recycler that puts it through data center decommissioning. It will really put my mind at ease and I can get myself a new unit guilt-free.

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  2. This is a very fantastic and very interesting pattern blog site.thank’s to share.

    I have an old computer which is now no use to me. I was going to throw it in a junkyard in a few days. But after reading this I now have a better option to consider which can do better for this environment. Also, I liked that you mentioned about backing up the data that I was out of my mind. I will share this idea with my office co-workers as it could do some good.

    Thanks for sharing such rare ideas. This helps me a lot.

    I never thought of computer recycling. after reading this blog I gathered some knowledge about it. But it is necessary to wipe out all personal information from the system memory before recycling it, for security purpose.

    Thanks for sharing this useful information with us. It’s really interesting and more informative. I have been following your blog for quite some time and like the content that you have shared with your readers. we are also providing the same service in Toronto. Keep sharing…

    It’s interesting to know that the most important step in preparing a computer for recycling is data backup. My husband and I are thinking about getting a new computer, and we are looking for advice about what to do with our old laptops. I will let him know about the benefits of recycling our old computers after having our data-backed up-.

    I’m glad you mentioned that it is important to backup your data before recycling an old computer. I would be very upset if I recycled my computer and lost a lot of important information because of it. If I ever recycle my computer, I will be sure to back up the data first.

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