Every year, millions of tons of electronic waste, or e-waste, end up in landfills. This growing problem harms the environment and wastes valuable resources. 

“EPA estimates that, in 2009, US consumers and businesses discarded televisions, computers, cell phones and hard copy peripherals (including printers, scanners, faxes) totaling 2.37 million tons.”

According to a 2023 WHO article, “When e-waste is treated using inferior activities, it can release as many as 1000 different chemical substances into the environment, including harmful neurotoxicants such as lead.” These toxins will then leak into the soil and water, polluting our environment. 

Recycling is an eco-friendly way to get old tech off your hands. Recycling will recover most of the valuable materials like metals and plastics used to manufacture the electronics, thus reducing the need for new resources. Recycling prevents contamination and protects ecosystems, and it also demands less energy than the manufacturing process to create all of the components. 

But, getting rid of your old technology presents a new challenge: how do you keep your data safe while disposing of outdated technology? 

How to recycle old tech:

  1. Research your local recycling laws: Look for e-waste collection events in your area, drop-off centers, or responsible recyclers in your community (some recyclers may not accept certain items). 
  2. Remove any batteries: Those are recycled separately. Bag broken parts separately to contain any toxic chemicals. 
  3. Prepare your electronics: Typically known as a “factory reset”, be sure to remove all saved data from your device. You never know who may end up with your old electronics and you don’t want a stranger having access to your personal information. 

Repair and upgrade

Instead of immediately discarding slightly outdated or damaged electronics, explore repair options or upgrade components to extend their lifespan. 


If your electronics are still functional, consider donating them to local charities, schools, or reuse programs. There are plenty of people in need of these items and chances are, you can help!

By making informed and thoughtful decisions about electronic waste disposal, we can collectively contribute to a more substantial future. Responsible recycling is essential for protecting our environment and conserving precious resources, and doing it securely is key. Let’s all do our part to build a cleaner, better future!