How to Recycle Computer

While all of the components of a computer are made of different materials and require diverse disposal efforts, they can be recycled through a variety of drop-off locations and take-back programs. To find out if you can recycle computers in your area use the recycling search tool at the end of this article.

Find Recycling Guides for Other Materials

Frequent Computer Recycling Questions

When you’re ready to get rid of your old computer, you have a variety of choices:

  • Find your closest local recycling options.
  • Check with your computer’s manufacturer, or the retailer you purchased it from to see what kind of take-back or trade-in options might be available.
Many laptops have a small fluorescent lamp in the screen that contains mercury, or use lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. Also, lead is present in CRT computer monitors. Circuit boards can also include mercury, lead and cadmium, as well as batteries made of mercury and mercury switches.

These materials cause harm to the environment if they are mismanaged or disposed of in improperly lined landfills, which means it is important to find a responsible recycling solution when you’re ready to get rid of your old computer equipment.

Recycling your electronics helps ensure many valuable materials like plastic, aluminum, copper and gold do not go to waste. But just as importantly, it is also providing the important benefit of keeping some of the less desirable materials found in computers such as mercury, lead and other heavy metals out of our natural environment.
Computers can contain materials that are hazardous to the environment if disposed of improperly.

State regulatory requirements for e-scrap can be more stringent than the Federal requirements, and vary from state to state.

Check relevant state requirements via your local household hazardous waste facility.

Yes, lots of them! Many manufacturer-sponsored programs will accept and process their brand for free. Some accept other brands for trade-in or a small fee.

Manufacturer-Specific Programs:

  • Apple
  • Dell
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • Acer
  • Toshiba
  • Gateway
  • Lenovo
  • Sony
  • Panasonic
  • Epson
  • IBM

Retailer Programs:

  • Circuit City
  • Best Buy
  • Staples – Accepts computers, monitors, laptops, desktop printers, faxes and all-in-ones
  • U.S. EPA Plug-in Partners – Lists manufacturers, retailers and service providers that offer recycling of e- waste

Additional Reading