How to recycle a laptop

Recycling your old laptop is the best way to dispose of it if you aren’t looking to sell. It’s not as simple as throwing in the recycling bin though, as laptops need to be handled with care. Due to the toxic and environmentally damaging components contained within laptops, they must be broken down and processed meticulously when being recycled. 

Failure to do so can mean these poisonous materials, like mercury, leech into the environment through landfills and can eventually end up back in our bodies. In this article, we explore how to recycle a laptop.

First, back it up

Before you dispose of your old device, don’t forget to back it up. Here’s how for both Windows and Mac:

Backup for Windows

  1. Select the start button
  2. Navigate to the control panel 
  3. Select system and maintenance 
  4. Select backup and restore
  • If this is your first time backing up your PC, select ‘set up backup’ and proceed to follow the steps. 
  • If you have created a backup before, select ‘backup now’.
  • If you have created a backup before but want to create another full backup, select ‘create new full backup’.

Backup for Mac

With Apple Macs you have a couple of options when it comes to backing up your device. You can either use the Time Machine software or store your data in iCloud and iCloud Drive. 

A Time Machine backup works by connecting an external storage device to your Mac, selecting it as a backup disc, then Time Machine will automatically backup all of your data over a period of time.

  1. Click Apple menu, open System Preferences and then click Time Machine.
  2. Click Select Backup Disc.
  3. Select the external hard drive you connected. (You can also encrypt backups.)

Once connected, Time Machine will automatically make periodic backups. 

When using iCloud to backup an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, the process is as follows:

  1. Update all your Apple devices to their latest software. 
  2. Setup iCloud on all devices.
  3. Ensure the same Apple ID is used across all devices.
  4. Go to Settings and click your name. 
  5. Click iCloud.
  6. Turn on iCloud drive. 

When using a Mac, the following steps should be taken:

  1. Go to Apple menu, click System Preferences, click Apple ID.
  2. Select iCloud.
  3. If prompted, sign in with your Apple ID.
  4. Select iCloud drive and turn it on.

Prepare the laptop for recycling

Once your device is backed up and you’ve removed any memory cards or other items, check if it has a removable battery pack. If it does, remove this and recycle it with other batteries, as recycling the battery with the other components creates a fire hazard.

The next step is to bag it up. Once your laptop is bagged and ready to be recycled you need to find a reputable business to recycle it with. Click here to learn more about our laptop recycling services and get a cash offer for your old, unwanted laptop today. 

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