The lifespan of a laptop can vary for each device, depending on usage and manufacturer. While some laptops like Apple’s MacBook might last users around 6 to 8 years, the average midrange laptop may need replacement after 3 to 5. When the time comes to upgrade your laptop, you may want to resell the device or just store it away for emergency use.
Before you discard the machine, it is always a good idea to recycle it. While the process may require some time and effort, recycling will only give you peace of mind and help you save your computing resources as well. By choosing to recycle your machine ethically, you will also save yourself from worrying about data protection or breaches if you sell or donate it later on.
In case you are wondering about the procedure, this is how you can recycle your used laptop ethically.
Backup Data Physically
Your data might already be backed up to cloud and secured on other systems. Despite that, you should have another physical backup for your data to make sure that all your files, documents, images and programs are within your reach at all times. By securing everything on external drives like HDD or SDD, you can peacefully clear your data from the laptop.
After multiple backups, you will not have to worry about losing important files and can start preparing your machine for recycling. Think of it this way. If you are looking to sell a used Apple MacBook A1181, creating separate physical and cloud backups of data could make it easier for you to wipe it completely clean. Once the device is cleared, you may get a price quote and send it for further assessment as well.
This is a critical step in recycling and requires a lot of attention. Basically, you might have programs or software in your old laptop like Adobe and even iTunes which usually limit their use on several devices. So to use them in your new device, you will have to remove authorization and access from the previous one.
When you are about to recycle a laptop ethically, do try and de-authorize the software before installing it again in a different laptop. With Adobe, you can find the option under Help and choose to deactivate permanently from a computer as shown below. Similarly, iTunes also makes it easy for the user to remove authorization by clicking on Account settings.
Image Source: helpx.adobe.com
Once, you have taken away the access from your previous laptop, you should sign out from your social media accounts and clear browser cache for all time. This will help you clear any saved information in your browser that might be confidential such as addresses, passwords or scripts from previously visited websites.
Wipe the Hard Disk and Reset
Now, you may think that by deleting your files and programs, and then emptying out the Recycle Bin is enough to wipe your hard disk. However, this is not entirely correct. Sometimes, the deleted data might be recovered even after being removed from the laptop. This is mainly because there are a few cache files and extensions left behind in the hard disk.
If you want to make sure that your device is wiped completely clean and all traces are removed from the memory and drive, then you will have to reset the computer. While this will restore your old laptop to its original condition, you can also look for hard disk cleaning programs such as DBAN and CCleaner before resetting.
This is just an additional step that you can take to make sure that information stored in the device has been cleared. Otherwise, you can also directly begin the Reset by following the steps for your operating system and laptop. In Windows 8.1 for instance, you can go to the Settings and look up the option to Change Settings for PC.
Find Recover and click on Remove and Reinstall Everything. Once you do that, you will have to follow the steps to resetting the computer. If you are running Windows 10, then you can find the choice of Recovery under Update and Security in settings. From there you can easily reset the laptop and remove all your files in the process as well.
Separate the Battery
It is better to take the battery out due to the presence of dangerous chemicals in it which could cause challenges in shipping anywhere. So if you plan to give it away or resell it, you can remove the battery and place it in a separate box that is safe for transportation. Otherwise, you may also try taping the terminals of the battery to reduce any risk of contact with the device.
If you face difficulty in removing the battery, find the right packaging for your device so that it can ship for assessment and resale without any damage or injury.
To Sum Up
These are steps that you can follow to recycle your laptop ethically. If you follow them, you will have a device with you that is secure, ready to be sold for cash or used for parts. At the end, recycling an old device can help cover some of the costs for a new device and also reduce technological waste.