An old laptop or computer is made up of unusual and toxic components (like an old lithium ion battery), so it can't just go into the trash our out with your curbside recycling.
Fortunately, most big tech companies (including Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft) and big gadget retailers (like Best Buy and eBay) have recycling programs that are specifically for people who want to get rid of their old laptops and computers.
Before recycling your old laptop or computer, you want to make sure all your information is backed up and that your old laptop is factory reset. There's likely a lot of personal information on that laptop and you'll sleep easier knowing you've fully removed it yourself.
Once your old laptop or computer has been prepped for recycling, you need to figure out what to do with it. The first thing we recommend doing is checking the trade-in programs of these various manufacturers and third-party retailers. A lot of times you can get some money back or a gift card, which could be put up against a future purchase. If your laptop doesn't have any trade-in value, don't worry — most of these programs will still take it and recycle it properly anyway.
The Recycling Programs
• Apple Trade In: If you have a Mac, a good option is to go through Apple's Trade In Program. You simply select the model of computer you're sending in, type in the serial number and they'll send you a trade-in quote (It likely won't be for every much.) Once accepted, it'll then tell you where to take or send your old computer.
• Dell Trade-In & Recycling Program: If you have an old Dell or laptop computer, you can trade it in fairly easily using the company's program. You simply go to the website and follow the steps, entering the model and serial number of your laptop or computer, and they'll give you a quote. If you just want to recycle it and don't want money back, Dell will send you a free Fedex shipping label (you'll need to supply the box) — you just need to fill out this form.
• Google's Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive: Google works with a third-party recycling partner who only accepts used electronic devices that are "equivalent to a device" that Google manufactures; while it's not exactly clear, this likely means any laptop from the last several years. You won't get any trade-in value, but you can request free shipping label. You can return up to three old devices for free.
• Microsoft Trade In & Recycling Program: If you have an old Microsoft laptop or desktop and you want to get some trade-in value for it, Microsoft has a program just for that. If you're device isn't eligible for trade-in, you can still recycle it for free. Simply go to this webpage and follow the necessary steps.
• Lenovo Product Recycling Program: Lenovo has a free recycling program for anybody with an old computer by Lenovo, Medion and IBM. They also have a trade-in program — here — in case you want to see if you can get any money back.
• Samsung Recycling Direct: If you have old laptop or Chromebook from Samsung, you can drop it off at any one of the company's recycling drop offs. You can find the nearest drop-off location by visiting here.
• Best Buy Trade-In/Recycling: Best Buy has a pretty robust trade-in program and you can pretty easily check to see if your old computer or gadgets are worth anything using the company's online trade-in estimator, and then trade it in for a Best Buy gift card. If it's not worth anything you, can have it recycled for free through the company's recycling program. (Note: you might have to recycle online because not all brick-and-mortar stores accept recycled computers.)
• Earth911: This is a website that's been designed to specifically help you find a place to drop off your old electronics so that they can be recycled. You simply go to the website, type the type of electronics you want to get rid of in the search bar as well as your ZIP code, and it'll tell you the nearest drop-off locations.
• Amazon Secure Electronics Recycling Bins: Amazon works with ERI, a renowned recycling company, to allow anybody to drop off their old electronics in large recycling bins that you can find at select locations. To find the location nearest to you, you can search here.