How is tech recycled?

Once a gadget is starting to break down, you may be unsure what to do with it next. Many pieces are made up of several different plastics, metals and other materials, meaning they can’t be put out with the rest of our recycling.

Simply upgrading your technology? One of the best ways to recycle a working computer is to give it a new home, either by donating it to a charity shop or giving it away to someone.

How is tech recycled?

Make sure to delete any private data before you do, no matter who you may be giving it to. If the gadget is on its last legs and is seeming beyond use, however, there’s another way to recycle it to ensure it doesn’t go to landfill. From ink to computers, here is how to recycle different pieces of technology the right way.

Why it’s important to recycle technology the right way

Known as e-waste, technology has created a problem when it comes to the environment. As they are made of tough materials that are meant to last, they don’t break down naturally and will stay in landfills for years to come. According to Recycle More, over 75% of electrical goods end up in landfill when many of them could have been recycled. By recycling old pieces of technology, you’re helping prevent the need to create more products and thus saving energy.

As well as this, many gadgets contain substances that could be considered harmful if not disposed of correctly. This includes lead, mercury and chromium; it’s essential that technology is recycled properly so they don’t cause soil, air and water contamination. Not only does this have a negative effect on the environment, but the wider community surrounding the landfill.

Ink and toner cartridges

Many people simply throw their ink and toner cartridges away when they’re empty, but this comes with consequences. Typically made from hard to recycle plastic, they don’t break down and will stay in landfill for years to come. According to Toner Giant, who sell toner and ink for a range of brands from Brother to HP, over 350 million empty cartridges are thrown away each year, having a detrimental effect on the environment. Rather than putting them out with your regular recycling, make sure you send them to a specialist toner and ink recycling company so they can be reused rather than going to waste. Toner Giant recommends using a Freepost service such as those offered by the Recycling Factory, who will then remanufacture the working parts and dispose of the rest in a sustainable, eco-friendly manner.


Disposing of computers the right way is essential in protecting your data, especially if you have private documents on your drive. Make sure to delete any information off of your computer before sending it to be recycled to be careful. There are a multitude of websites that will take care of the recycling for you, such as Sims Recycling. The process is a long one, including breaking down each component of the computer to see which parts can be reused in the future. Hazardous materials, such as batteries, are removed and destroyed before the working parts are sorted into piles. They’re then sent to various manufacturers to be reused in the future.


Some local authorities will pick up a television for you, but it’s worth checking as it differs per area. If not, there are a myriad of e-cycling centres dotted around the country, which will take the television apart and collect the pieces that can be reused. You can simply arrange for the item to be dropped off at the specialist centre, either by yourself or a third party, and they’ll take each component apart to be remanufactured if possible. 

If the television still works, even at a slow pace, it’s worth donating it to a charity shop. This is by far the most sustainable way of shopping for reusing items, and you may be helping someone who can’t afford a brand new television. If you can’t bring the television to a charity shop, consider posting it on a social media selling page and request that the buyer picks it up.

By recycling your tech, you’re making a significant difference to not only your local community but the planet. As we become more aware of climate change, it’s important that everyone does their bit, which includes disposing of gadgets correctly.