Information on residential electronics and computer waste

Find an electronics recycler
When selecting a recycler, consider what the recycler will do with your old computer, cost, privacy concerns and environmental impact.
Computers and other electronic equipment are prohibited from disposal in a landfill.
  • Harmful chemicals can leach out of this waste and contaminate soil and groundwater.
  • Local governments aren't required to fund a public electronics recycling program or collection events.
    • In limited situations, they may vote to opt out of the landfill ban after first performing a "good faith effort" to provide the minimum recycling options.
    • They must reassess the feasibility of providing the minimum recycling options in two years.
  • Check with your local government agency if you are having trouble locating an electronics recycler or to learn if there are any local collection events planned.
Manufacturers' recycling programs
Several major manufacturers of computers and other electronics offer consumers recycling and reuse alternatives for their products.
  • Check your computer manufacturer’s website for information about its recycling services.
  • Some local retailers may act as agents for computer manufacturers' trade-in/upgrade programs, so check with your retailer before purchasing a new computer to see if it will accept your old one for recycling.
Personal information security
You're ultimately responsible for protecting personal information stored on the hard drive of your computer or printer.
  • Simply deleting files and reformatting the hard drive doesn't guarantee all your data will be destroyed.
    • Use special disk-wiping software designed to protect sensitive data; or
    • Remove your hard drive and destroy it.
      • Hammer a nail through it in several places.
      • Dismantle and deeply scratch or break the inner disk plates.
  • Once you've secured your personal information, bring the drive and other electronic waste to a reputable recycler.
    • Some recyclers may perform these tasks for an additional fee.