Recycle your old laptop

How to recycle your old laptop

  • How to recycle or dispose of your laptop responsibly
  • Find a laptop recycling scheme in your area, or a company that will recycle your old laptop free
  • What you should do to secure your personal information before you recycle your laptop
  • Help choosing the best laptop computer in the Which? buyers' guide video

The Weee directive

The Weee logo

The Weee logo

In 2007, the Waste electrical and electronic equipment (or Weee) directive came into force.

Under these new regulations, stores selling electrical goods are obliged to take back customers’ old goods on a like-for-like basis, or help to fund the expansion of a network of Weee collection points.

Recycling schemes

Some retailers offer a service where you can return your old laptop for nothing – ask before you buy. If not, your council may run a scheme (but might charge for collection). For more details, search for Weee on the Environment Agency website or contact your council.

You can also enter your postcode at the Recycle Now website to see whether there’s a recycling scheme near you. Alternatively, the Freecycle Network will help you give away your old laptop. And Computer Aid International sends computers to developing countries.

Security

If you recycle your old laptop, don’t forget to delete your personal data. 

Simply deleting your personal files from your laptop isn't effective – files that have been placed in your recycle bin or permanently deleted can still be relatively easily retrieved.

To be sure your data can’t be accessed, it’s wise to use a specialist program to erase it for good. Software such as VCOM SecurErase (£24.99) or Active@Killdisk (basic version free from Killdisk.com) will do the job.