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Not the Trash Heap: 3 Ways to Dispose of Your Old Computer Responsibly

It’s common for a household to own at least a desktop computer. This bulky machine of computing power and wire continues to be the top choice for gamers and people who prefer it over a laptop computer.

But what to do when this piece of equipment becomes old and slow? Typical options include covering it with a cloth, packing it in a box, and storing it in the attic for good or, worse, dropping it to a garbage disposal site.

There are definitely better and more responsible ways of discarding this appliance.

Before Anything Else, Remove Sensitive Data

Before you make any move to discard your PC, back up the files in the computer, and wipe your hard drive of all sensitive data. Emphasis on the removal of personal data because a group of researchers from MIT found mountains of those on discarded computers. What’s alarming is that some supposedly erased hard disks were found to retain personal information, including credit card numbers, medical records, and financial records.

Clear, Purge, Destroy

The study, which unearthed data from 158 used disk drives bought from eBay and other used-computer sources, was made public in 2003. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has created the guidelines for media sanitization, summarized as follows:

Resell Your Computer or Its Parts

Hold off the physical destruction of the HDD. You may be able to sell your computer to companies that specialize in buying old hardware. While such companies generally target enterprises and organizations, they may cater to individual sellers, so ask around.

Also, check marketplaces and forums for PC enthusiasts that engaged in buying or selling computer parts. You can also run an ad on classified websites, where you can sell or swap items.

Before you sell your computer, make sure it is in good working condition.


Your PC may not be that old or obsolete to be rendered utterly useless.

Other than putting it up on sale, here are more ways to breathe new life into your old computer:


E-waste is growing into a global issue amid the proliferation of consumer electronics like computers, television sets, cellphones, and printers that are at or near the end of their useful life. You will see these products left on streets for pickup or end up populating landfills.  Materials used in computer parts can be toxic or harmful to health if not disposed of or recycled correctly.

E-cycling aims to address the matter of electronic waste with these examples:

What’s Your Next Move?

With your old computer disposed of responsibly, you can start looking for its replacement. Why not buy a used desktop computer/laptop?

Lastly, it pays to be mindful of your choices for the sake of your pockets and the environment.

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