What Happens to a Recycled Computer?


Do you know what you are supposed to do with electronics that are no longer of any use? Let’s quickly go over the process of properly disposing of electronic devices and the steps that make up the procedures involved.

Why Shouldn’t I Just Throw Out My Old Technology?

There are a few reasons why the regular trash collection is a poor choice for device disposal. 

  • First and foremost, there is no real accountability for the chain of custody. Simply tossing an old device without any of the additional precautions that recycling these devices involves leaves the data they contain potentially accessible to those who know where to look.
  • Secondly, modern computer components (including those more and more commonly found in appliances) contain amounts of hazardous materials that—if left in a landfill—can ultimately make it back to us through the water table. Many of these components are actually shipped to poorer countries to be dumped illegally.
  • Third, it is just wasteful. There are a lot of materials used in constructing electronics that are perfectly reusable, so ensuring that a device is properly processed and everything that can be recycled, is, is a more responsible choice.

Regardless of your recycling facility’s processes and policies, it is always wise to ensure that all of your data has been completely removed from any storage drives and devices being processed to ensure that no data remains to potentially leak out somewhere down the line. While we recommend that you reformat any drives you plan on recycling, know that this isn’t always enough. You should also make sure that whoever is going to be processing your technology also plans to erase this data and specifically destroy the hard drives—typically, by shredding them—so nothing can be recovered.

How Electronics Are Recycled

Once a computer or other device has been taken to a reputable recycling center, the process of breaking it down can begin. Most recycling companies will then disassemble the device and process different parts separately, based on what the components are made of. Then, the plastic, metal, glass, and circuit boards that made up each device are recycled according to best practice. This is also how the more hazardous materials are removed from the device.

The disassembled components can then be processed and renewed by using the materials to create new devices, eliminating a lot of potential waste that would otherwise, well, go to waste.

We understand how useful technology is to businesses, and how important it is that it is handled properly even after it has outlasted its usefulness. That’s why we’re committed to assisting businesses, regardless of their technology needs. Give us a call at 810.230.9455 to find out what we can do for you and your business’ essential IT.