How To Recycle Laptop?

Recycling 1 million laptops can save energy equivalent
to the electricity used by 3,500 U.S. homes in a year.
But where and how to recycle old laptops?

Let’s dig deep into the laptop recycling process.


Why Should You Recycle Old Laptops?

Even if your local laws allow you to dump your old laptop with the communal trash, there are plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t do that and recycle your laptops the proper way. 

Here’s why proper laptop recycling matters.

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Prevent Toxic Waste - Laptops contain toxic materials like lead, chromium, mercury, and cadmium that can leak and contaminate the soil and groundwater. 

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Save energy - It takes much less energy to reclaim a material through recycling than
create a new component from ore or stock. This doesn't just apply to metals but plastic too.

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Reclaim valuable - materials Laptop circuits are manufactured using different precious metals like gold, silver, platinum, and copper, which can be recovered and reused for other purposes.

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Help someone out - Your laptop might be slow for your use, but someone could still use it for years. By donating your laptop to a school, charity, or a family with disadvantaged background, you’re helping a good cause.

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Earn some cash - If your laptop is still working, you can sell it on the internet. College students are always hunting for bargain deals on used electronics.

What Materials Can You Retrieve From Old Laptops?

Recycling aluminum cans is a no-brainer. They get cleaned, shredded, melted, and rolled into new sheets.

But the truth is that many laptop parts can also be recycled.

Parts Retrieved Materials Through Recycling
Processors, Motherboards, and RAM Through smelting or acid treatments, recyclers can recover gold, copper, and non-metals like silicon.
LCD Panels The glass used for display panels contains indium tin oxide, a valuable material that can be recovered from powdered glass using solvents.
Cases, Keys, and Cooling Fans Made of plastic that is readily recovered and recycled.
Batteries The battery is removed manually in the recycling facility. If a battery is not fit for reuse, the plastic casing is removed, while the rest is thermo-chemically treated to separate different materials like cobalt, nickel, copper, and iron.
Cables Non-damaged cables can be reused directly. In other cases, copper is removed, while the plastic insulation usually goes to waste-to-energy facilities where it’s used as fuel.

How to Recycle Laptops?

E-Waste Laptop

E-Waste Recyclers

Professional electronics recyclers use industrial recycling processes, ensuring that most materials are recovered or recycled from your laptop with minimal energy. 

Laptop Manufacturer

Manufacturer/Seller Takeback Programs

Major retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Staples have take back programs for laptops. You bring or send in your old laptop and get store gift cards. Manufacturers like Dell also have a trade-in program.

Donate Laptop


If your laptop is still working, you can erase your data, reinstall the OS and donate it to someone who needs it more than you do. Ask around your friends and family or contact your local charities. 

Sell Laptop


Money doesn’t grow on trees, and even an old laptop may be worth something. Don’t let your old laptop just sit there collecting dust. Sell it online while it’s still working. 

Where to Recycle Laptops?

Drop-off Recycling (For Individuals in the San Francisco Bay Area) 

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and drive around a lot, the easiest way to get rid of your old laptop responsibly is to bring it to our EcoCenter in Burlingame. We’ll recycle your laptop for free — no hidden fees.

If we can reuse or repair your laptop, we’ll sell it online and use the money to support our free laptop recycling operation.

Business Recycling Pickup (For Businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area)

This option is great for businesses that are looking to upgrade their hardware. If you can’t spare any of your
people to make the drop-offs, our Business Pickup Service comes to your place of business to take old
hardware off your hands.

Mail-in Recycling (US-Wide Service)

If you don’t live in the San Francisco Bay Area and would like to recycle your old laptop with us, you can use
our Mail-in Electronic Recycling Service. Send us your old laptop, and we’ll recycle it free of charge.

Green Directory (US-Wide Service)

Our Green Directory Service helps you find the nearest laptop recycling site wherever you live in the US. Search for the item to recycle, enter your location or ZIP code, and you get a list of the nearest recycling centers and drop-off locations, together with their business details and the Google Maps widget. No more googling for “where to recycle laptops near me”.

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