How To Recycle Tablet?

It’s estimated that there’s 347 metric tonnes of unrecycled e-waste worldwide in 2023. This is equivalent to 375 cruise ships. But how to recycle old tablets?

Here’s everything to know about the tablet recycling process.


Why Should You Recycle iPad and Tablets?

You should recycle your iPad and tablets for environmental and financial purposes.

From the environmental standpoint, you should recycle iPad and tablets because

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It saves the environment - Tablets have non-biodegradable harmful to the environment, such as lead, mercury, arsenic. These adversely affect animals and plants. If you recycle iPad, these components will be reused, which keeps the waste out of landfills, and wildlife safe.

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It conserves energy - One recycled cell phone can save enough energy to power a laptop for almost two days. 130 million cell phones are thrown away every year. This can power over 24,000 homes a year. Tablets can do even more.

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Lowers mining - Tables are made of elements such as gold, silver, and palladium that can be recovered if the tablet is properly recycled. This lowers the amount of mined minerals needed to make new tablets.

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To prevent health issues - Tablets contain toxic materials that pollute the environment and can lead to cancer in humans. Mercury is also fatal to animals.

These are the financial reasons you should do iPad recycling:

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Help charities - Some charities can refurbish donated tablets and give them to people in need. Some charities sell old tablets and give the proceeds to charities. Some charities recycle the components and use the money from the precious metals to help people.

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Reuses old parts for new gadgets - Thousands of tablets are manufactured yearly to satisfy the demands of new buyers. These tablets need components that can be obtained through recycling. This helps manufacturers save money.

What Materials/Parts Can You Retrieve From iPads and Tablets

Materials and parts that can be recovered from iPads and tablets are:

  • Glass used for the touchscreen
  • Aluminum used in casing
  • Valuable metals, such as gold, silver, platinum, copper, and palladium, usually found on the circuit board
  • Metals are good electrical conductors, and circuits usually have a thin cover of gold because it doesn’t corrode and makes sure there’s a stable and durable connection.

    A tablet battery is also a good source of gold. According to the US Geological Survey, there’s 0.034 g of gold in a cell phone, which is the equivalent of about $2.

    Overall, about 60 different kinds of materials can be extracted from tablets. By recycling, these materials are reused again, and there’s less need to dig for minerals. Mineral sources won’t last forever, which is another reason we should recycle tablets.

    How to Recycle iPads and Tablets?

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    E-Waste Recycler

    E-waste recyclers use industrial recycling processes. This ensures as many materials as possible ar recovered and recycled from your tablet with minimal energy used.

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    Municipal Waste Management

    Some municipal waste programs have the necessary facilities and equipment for recycling e-waste. However, some states don’t accept e-waste through the municipal waste program because these items contain lead, mercury, and cadmium which are hazardous materials. It’s best to contact your municipal waste management to check if they recycle tablets.

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    Manufacturer/Seller Takeback Programs

    You can also contact the manufacturer or the tablet seller and ask if they accept old tablets for recycling. Many noteworthy manufacturers and retail stores such as Amazon, Apple, Best Buy, and Staples offer takeback programs.

    Where to Recycle iPads and Tablets?

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

    If you’re an SF Bay Area resident, you can take advantage of Green Citizen’s drop-off service.

    Here’s what to do:

    1. Fill out the drop-off form with the details about the devices you want to be recycled.
    2. Check if your item belongs to the free or paid category (tablets are free to recycle).
    3. Meet an employee at the Green Citizen service center who will accept your items.
    4. Our employee will weigh the recycling items and give you a quote.
    5. Pay using a contactless chip reader.

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

    If you’re a business in the SF Bay Area, you can take advantage of our pick-up services.

    Here’s what to do:

    1. Check that electronic items you want to recycle are on our accepted list (we accept tablets).
    2. Separate the items with hard drives and data storage parts you want us to put through a data destruction process.
    3. Take a photo of the items you want to recycle and email it to us.
    4. Our employee will give you a quote.
    5. Confirm the pick-up time and make sure there’s easy access to the devices and that they are in boxes.
    6. We’ll weigh and process the items and send you an invoice.

    Mail-in Recycling (US-Wide Service)

    If you live outside of the SF Bay Area but still want to recycle your tablet with us, we have a mail-in service. This is a great option if you can’t find a reputable recycler near you.

    Here’s what to do:

    1. Check if your electronics are on the list of free or paid items (tablet is free).
    2. Weight the items you want to recycle and fill in the mail-in form.
    3. Choose a data destruction service if you want us to do a full factory erase of the tablet or another smart device.
    4. Pay the recycling fee online.
    5. Select a shipping company you prefer and send us the items.
    6. You’ll get a notification when we receive your electronics.

    Green Directory (US-Wide Service)

    We also have a Green Directory that lets you search for certified electronic waste recycling companies across the USA. This is the most eco-friendly way to recycle tablets, as you can find a recycler near you and send or drop off the tablet with minimal resources spent.

    Enter your zip code into the Green Directory and tablet recycling in the search field. You’ll get a list of the recyclers close to you in seconds.

    Tip: Choose how near you want the recycler from you. You can select 5, 10, 25, 50, or 100 miles from your location.

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