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What to Do With an Old Laptop

How to Recycle Your Old Laptop Like a Responsible Adult

If you've got an old laptop that you no longer use, do yourself a favor and get rid of it ASAP. If it's still functioning, you may be able to earn a gift card in exchange — but know that it's only depreciating as it sits in your closet. Regardless of what it's worth, finally crossing this off your list and freeing up some clutter is guaranteed to be very satisfying.

But if you're planning on throwing it away, make sure that you don't toss it in the garbage like any other piece of trash. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, you're avoiding air and water pollution as well as greenhouse gas emissions by safely recycling or donating your unused electronics. So do the environment and yourself some good by properly getting rid of your laptop with the following steps below.

Step One: Back Up Your Computer

Store your files on an external hard drive or back up your data using iCloud if you have a Mac.

Step Two: Sign Out of Everything

Go the extra length to protect yourself. Sign out of all your applications, make sure none of your login information is stored in your keychain, and wipe your hard drive. Here's the full guide to deleting everything off your computer.


Step Three: Recycle Your Device at an E-Waste Location.

  • Apple Recycling Program: Apple accepts old devices online at any Apple store. If your Mac or PC has any monetary value, you'll receive an Apple gift card in the amount it's worth. To receive an instant quote online, enter your device's serial number on this page. Include your payment method and shipping information and in three to five days, you'll get prepaid shipping supplies sent to your door. Ship it back and wait five to eight business days for your refund!

    If your laptop has any value, you also have the option of trading it in for credit toward a new Apple product.

  • Gazelle: Gazelle is another reliable buyer that will take your old devices. Similar to the process above, all you have to do is enter your laptop's serial number and ship it to its processing center using the prepaid shipping supplies they've sent to you.
  • Best Buy: You have the option of dropping off your old laptop at any Best Buy store for proper disposal.
  • Staples: If your computer has any value, you have the option of trading it in store for a Staples eCash Card, or sending it in through an online process.
  • Goodwill: Drop off your laptop to any Goodwill collection center. According to its site, "One working computer given to Goodwill is worth 5.3 hours of career counseling."
  • Find a local drop-off center in your area: Do a quick search to see if any nearby stores accept e-waste. Many manufacturers, office supply retailers, and even hardware stores will be able to take your laptop off your hands!
Image Source: Unsplash / Kari Shea
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