Recycling Computer Equipment

Considering the majority of IT equipment is practically non biodegradable and can contain substances that are potentially harmful, there is scarce information available to local residents about how to go about effectively recycling their old computers.

I wasn’t particularly surprised to find no reference to such advice on the Torbay Council website.Unfortunately it seems that whilst both national and local government bang on about the importance of public awareness regarding the issues of recycling, they don’t tend to clarify exactly what we should actually be doing.Extending my search to council websites nationwide was just as fruitless, and as such it’s not surprising the public at large are slightly bewildered about the best way to dispose of their IT equipment.

Fortunately there are a number of methods one can use to dispose of their old equipment:

-You could look to reuse the computer yourself and there are a few options available to you here; you could recycle your computer as a hardware firewall, a print server or maybe even a shared network drive.Of course, having a computer using a relatively large amount energy whilst performing, what could be considered menial, tasks would probably be more detrimental to the environment in the long run than simply binning it.

-Sites such as eBay will allow you to sell practically anything, no matter what the age.You may not get much for your old equipment but you’ll stop it going in to landfill and may get a couple of quid to boot.Of course, the Herald Express free ads section is also a good option if you’re looking to advertise locally.

-A fantastic idea would be to give your technology to charity; it does involve a little bit of effort on your behalf but might be worth it for the feel good factor.Phone around a couple of local charities to see if they have any use for your old equipment and if not try listing it on Donate A PC ( who offer a free matchmaking service, where individuals list the items they have to sell and charities then offer to collect.Alternatively check out Computer Aid ( who will take practically any equipment for charity however you will have to sort out the postage to London yourself.

-Freecycle ( is a very popular site which allows users to list absolutely anything that they want to get rid of online whether it’s computer equipment or otherwise.It’s akin to eBay with the exception that you’re not selling the goods but rather giving them away; whilst not financially beneficial it is certainly good for the environment.

-You may find that a local computer company will take the computer off of your hands however it is unlikely that they will give you any money for it, and in some instances may refuse to take the equipment off your hands at all unless it is relatively modern. This is because of new guidelines, companies have to pay to get rid of this kind of waste and so, unsurprisingly, they will be unwilling to take something off your hands free of charge.If purchasing new equipment then, under the WEEE initiative, the retailer should take your old goods back for recycling free of charge.

-If you are unable to get rid of your equipment in any of the above fashions then taking it to the recycling centre on Yalberton Road may be the only option.Since no information on what actually happens to equipment disposed in this fashion appears to be available I will try to get a response from the council regarding this by next week.

Whilst most companies that you could donate a computer to say that they will securely wipe your data for you, I would still urge on the side of caution so before sending your computer off completely wipe the hard drive with a free utility such as dBan ( note that simply deleting files or formatting your hard drive isn’t sufficient as data can often be retrieved from drives wiped in this fashion; those that are particularly concerned about their data may even consider removing the hard drive and physically destroying it.



About the Author - Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.