Can You Throw Away a Computer in the Trash?

Computers are heavy. Most people don’t realize how much weight a laptop or desktop computer can accumulate over the years.

As computers age, they often become outdated or unusable.

When it’s time to upgrade your computer or move it away from your desk, it’s important to recycle it properly.

Throwing a computer in the trash is a bad idea because hazardous chemicals can leak out into the surrounding environment, posing a threat to health and contaminating water supplies.

So, can you recycle a computer?

Let’s start now.

Is It Safe To Throw a Computer in the Trash?

No, it is not safe to throw your computer in the trash.

That is the short answer to that burning question – “Is it safe to throw my computer in the trash?” Unfortunately, it’s not that simple and there are many reasons why you should not throw your older computer away.

In fact, it’s extremely important to recycle them responsibly and safely – for both your own safety and for the safety of others and the environment.

So, if you’ve been doing your research and found out that you should recycle your old computers – but you still aren’t sure where to take them or how to safely dispose of them.

Remember that throwing out a hard drive is like throwing your wallet away, with all of your information still on it.

Furthermore, such a judgment is punishable by law.

What Happens If You Throw a Computer in the Trash?

When you throw away your computer and it ends -up in a landfill, its components will slowly degrade over time and will eventually end up in a landfill somewhere.

This means the harmful metals inside will end up in the ground and the toxins inside the components will end up in the water table.

In time, these toxins will be absorbed into the food chain by plants and animals that consume them and eventually end up on our plates – potentially causing health problems such as cancer, infertility and neurological problems .

A computer also generates a lot of heat while in use and can melt plastic and metal objects around it – such as a car’s wiring – which can cause a fire.

These fires can be difficult to put out because many of the components inside are liquid and can be spread quickly if left unattended – resulting in a catastrophic explosion.

Finally, since most hard drives contain private information, it is against the law to dispose of them in this way. They contain highly sensitive information that many fall into the wrong hands.

When they do, it’s just a matter of time until someone figures out how to hack into it and access the data stored on it – which could include personal financial information, social security numbers and even passwords to the accounts you might have online.

Stolen information is then sold on the dark web and used to commit identity theft and other serious crimes.

Even if you’re not worried about identity theft, this information in the wrong hands could be sold to the highest bidder and then used to blackmail you at a later date.

It’s also important to note that many manufacturers of new laptops do not wipe your data before selling them to refurbishers – which means your old laptop could end up in the hands of someone who doesn’t want your personal information any more than you do.

Where Can You Recycle a Computer?

A new computer uses many resources during its production, so it can be recycled instead of thrown away.

By recycling a computer, you can keep its materials out of the waste stream. Some places where you can recycle a computer include Best Buy, Office Depot, Staples, Target, and Walmart.

You can also recycle a computer through local recycling programs or electronic waste recycles.

The electronics industry is one of the most wasteful industries in the world.

By recycling a computer, you can help minimize its impact on the environment.

Can You Recycle Computer Accessories?

Computer accessories such as keyboards and mice contain toxic chemicals which should not be disposed in the trash or recycling bins.

Instead, they should be recycled or disposed of properly. For example, keyboards can be disposed of by putting them in a plastic bag and putting them in the trash or recycling bin.

Mice can be disposed of by putting them in a cardboard box and taking them to the municipal hazardous waste facility.

Alternatively, they can be disposed of responsibly by disposing them at a e-waste recycling event.

Remember: computer accessories contain toxic materials which should not be disposed of in the trash or recycling bins. Instead, they should be recycled or disposed of properly.

Can You Recycle Computer Monitors?

Many people dispose of computers and other electronics by dumping them in landfills.

However, this is bad for the environment. Fortunately, you can recycle old electronics, including computers, monitors, printers, and cell phones.

However, some electronics, like cathode ray tubes (CRTs) and cathode ray tubes (CRTs) cannot be recycled.

In addition, some electronics contain parts that are easily replaceable, but toxic materials need to be removed.

Fortunately, many electronics can be recycled at special recycling facilities, which separate the hazardous materials from the metals and glass that can be used to make new electronics.

Can You Recycle Laptop Batteries?

Most people know that batteries need to be recycled (if they’re rechargeable).

Unfortunately, many people don’t know that you can’t recycle laptop batteries outright.

This is because laptop batteries contain heavy metals that could be toxic if released into the environment.

Instead, you should recycle laptop batteries through the manufacturer or Best Buy.

Also, it’s important to remember that rechargeable batteries last much longer than disposable ones, so it’s better to use them rather than dispose of them.

What To Do Before Disposing Of Old Computers

Break The Hard Drive

Disposing of old computers can be quite dangerous.

That’s because old hard drives can contain sensitive data about a person or organization. Therefore, it’s essential to break the hard drive before disposing of a computer.

This will prevent other people from accessing the data. There are many ways to break a hard drive.

The easiest way to do this is to smash the hard drive with a hammer. However, this can break the read/write heads and render the hard drive useless.

Therefore, it’s important to use a small wrench to unscrew the hard drive first.

Once the hard drive is unscrewed, it’ll be easy to break the drive with a hammer or other blunt object.

Finally, it’s important to wipe the hard drive clean before discarding it.

Delete And Shred Your Files

Before disposing of old computers, it’s important to delete all files and shred the drives.

Hackers can easily access the data if a computer is not completely erased. Furthermore, hard drives can be broken into even if the computer is turned off.

Therefore, it’s crucial to delete and shred hard drives before disposing of old computers.

Back Up Your Files

Before you dispose of your old computers, make sure you back them up.

That way, you won’t lose anything important, such as photos or important documents. Furthermore, you should unplug the computers before you throw them away.

Leaving them plugged in can cause problems because the power can still flow, causing problems such as data loss or a drained battery.

However, you can safely dispose of computers that are no longer functional by recycling them.

How To Properly Dispose of an Old Computer?

Consider Running a Backup

Even if you no longer find use for your old computer, it’s still important to back up your files and run a virus scan on the machine before you get rid of it.

If you don’t take these steps, you could expose yourself to data theft and even viruses that could infect your own devices or computer in the future.

These steps won’t take long to complete and are relatively simple to carry out on your own without the help of a professional IT specialist.

Additionally, if you don’t take these steps before you discard your computer, you’re leaving yourself open to potential identity theft and loss due to hackers accessing your personal data on your computer.

You might have a hard drive lying around somewhere that still works but doesn’t have any personal data on it anymore.

As a result, backing up your data to external hard drives is another simple step you can take to protect your personal information from ending up in the wrong hands.

Gift a Relative or Friend

If you’re going to get rid of an old laptop that’s still in working condition but has no personal data on it, consider gifting it to a relative or friend instead.

This way, you won’t have to deal with the hassle of having to dispose of it on your own later on down the road when you finally decide to upgrade to a newer model anyway.

You may get rid of an old computer or laptop that doesn’t work properly anymore, but still has some value to someone else who can use it more than you currently can.

Instead of getting rid of it altogether, donate it to a charity organization that can put it to good use for a good cause instead.

This is one of the easiest ways to get rid of your old computer and feel good about helping someone else at the same time.

Have the Computer Recycled

If your old computer is no longer in working condition but still has some value to it, you can always have it recycled instead of getting rid of it completely.

Just keep in mind that any sensitive information on the computer will be lost in the process.

So, it’s important that you don’t keep any sensitive files on it prior to having the computer recycled in the first place.

Also Read: Can You Throw Away Old Computer Mouse?


While you may dispose of an old computer in different ways, not all of them are beneficial to the environment or society in general.

Nobody profits from dumping computers and other electronic devices into landfills where they can leak dangerous chemicals into the soil and groundwater over time.

It does little more than take resources away from people who may desperately need them and at the same time pollutes the earth with toxins that can eventually make their way into our food supply and water supply.

Always attempt to recycle your old electronics, whether through your local recycling center or through an online program such as eBay’s Trade-In Program or Gazelle.

Sure, it takes a little additional work, but it’s always better for the environment than tossing out those old gadgets into the trash.