Where Can I Recycle Computers and Laptops?

The E-Waste Problem 

“Electronic waste”, “e-waste”, “e-scrap” and “end-of-life electronics” are all words commonly used to describe used electronics that are nearing the end of their useful life and are then throw out, donated, or given to a recycler. “E-waste” is a frequently used term for these items, and there is a growing problem of this type of waste around the world. Most e-waste is made up of personal devices such as laptops, computers, screens, smartphones, tablets and TVs. Only 17.4% of this e-waste will be recorded as being properly collected, treated and recycled. The rest of this e-waste is either placed in landfill, burned or illegally traded and treated in a sub-standard way. This results in the huge loss of valuable and critical raw materials from the supply chain. This causes serious health, environmental and societal issues through illegal shipments of waste to developing countries in particular. 

In the UK we each create a huge amount of electronic waste, 23.9kg per person—the second highest in the world. A recent study advised that un-recycled household electricals cost the UK over £370m a year in lost valuable non-renewable resources like copper, gold, cobalt, and aluminium. This is important because mining these metals in the first instance significantly contributes to pollution. 

However, replacing business laptops, computers, and other IT equipment is inevitable as your business works to remain competitive. It’s important therefore to find a safe, responsible method for disposing of electronics that is appropriate for you and for your business.  



Simply throwing away old electronics such as laptops and computers should be avoided at all costs. Ideally, used laptops and computers should be repaired or repurposed to the extent of their usable life. However, these can be recycled only when their components become unfunctional or unable to be upgraded to keep up with modern hardware.  

Electronic equipment contains heavy metals, so improper disposal of laptops and computers is risky as it will contribute to ground water pollution. Recycling can help reduce the amount of waste that the world produces and to prevent potentially poisonous materials from ending up in landfill or in our world's ecosystems. Currently, the best available recycling equipment is capable of recovering 90% of critical raw materials for reuse. 

Obsolete laptops and computers are often accepted at scrap metal recyclers, and other specialty recycling centres. In the UK there are a range of household waste recycling centres that accept personal devices. This is a good option for individuals looking to discard of their personal laptop or computer. However, businesses with a larger quantity of laptops and computers will be better served by a professional ITAD provider 


IT Asset Disposal 

A lot of end-of-life laptops and computers can be reused or refurbished, but it is still important to ensure that all data bearing devices are securely erased to avoid a data breach. Properly executed electronics recycling can resolve these dilemmas. IT Asset Disposal (ITAD) is an important supplemental service to electronics recycling that focuses on sustainability as well as data security.  

A record 53.6 million metric tonnes of e-waste were generated worldwide in 2019, which is an increase of 21% in the last 5 years. It’s clear that e-waste is a growing issue, and tackling this issue takes a range of solutions from across different sectors. Recycling your IT equipment means that your devices are destroyed way before their end of life, and is a waste of the resources originally used to produce the equipment. 

Businesses can rest assured that ITAD is a safe and secure way to dispose of data bearing devices such as laptops and computers. The Techbuyer team has over 15 years of experience in protecting company data. We process used laptops, desktops, servers, storage and networking equipment, and mobile phones from thousands of public and private sector organisations every year. 

The software that we use to remove data from devices such as laptops and desktops has been tested, approved and recommended by over 15 of the world’s governing bodies and is certified by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to HMG InfoSec Standard No:5. What is more, our systems have been assessed for quality and a strong commitment to environmentally friendly processes giving us ISO14001, plus ISO27001, 9001, and 45001 certifications.  

We fully appreciate that for many organisations, data is their most important and best protected resource, and we pride ourselves in being able to safeguard this for them. Secure data erasure is one of the foundations of our business both as a global refurbishment specialist and as an ITAD service provider.


Link to Techbuyer's ITAD e-guide.