How to Recycle Electronics Safely and Ethically

If you’re familiar with your company CSR or ESG goals, then you will know that businesses are being increasingly urged to focus on sustainability, social goals, and governance. For many, this means redressing their operations and changing inhouse activities to consider how their business affects people and the planet.

From a technological standpoint, there are two main things to consider. The first is the environmental impact of technology and device usage. The second is how these devices can be linked to data protection inhouse and societal goals externally.

This blog is for those business owners, companies, and even consumers who want to embrace a more sustainable way of operating. It also considers how to recycle devices so that they provide real benefits to those in need, how to protect the data of previous users, and how to reduce the environmental impact and carbon footprint.

What does safe recycling involve?

Safe recycling means avoiding landfill at all costs and instead finding an organisation or initiative which takes devices and refurbishes them for reuse, charitable donation or breaks them down to dispose of them safely. 

Why does this matter? Because when sent to landfill, a computer does not just sit dormant. Rather, it very slowly breaks down and leaks harmful and often toxic chemicals into the nearby waterways, ground, and ecosystems. These chemicals and hazardous components are ingested into the food chain by fish and other small animals and can end up in our own food chain – while damaging other natural habitats along the way.

Safe recycling is an alternative which sees electronics reused and repurposed rather than discarded. It breathes new life into those items which can be reused, and allows those which are unable to be refurbished to be stripped and used for parts.

How to ensure that recycling is ethical

This is where charity organisations like Computer Aid come in. We work with partners all over the world to identify those communities, groups, schools, and locations where technology is needed to bridge the ever-growing digital divide.

Covid-19 highlighted a need for donated technology and investment both locally and internationally. Hundreds of schools in the UK were unable to keep children connected to the school curriculum and their peers due to a lack of resources and technology. Similarly, it became clear that small local groups were in need of funding too, and international communities were increasingly feeling the impact of the digital divide.

Donating technology to Computer Aid is the ideal way of recycling with an ethical spin. Corporations and donors can provide their computers and laptops, which are wiped in accordance with GDPR requirements, to those who need them. 

If a device cannot be recycled for whatever reason, we can strip it down for functional and useful parts, before safely disposing of the other components. 

Recycling electronics is easy!

For corporate donors, recycling electronics doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, part of our mission is to make it as easy as possible while also allowing companies to fulfil their own charitable and ESG goals. Plus with Computer Aid, you’ll receive reports on where your donation has been sent and the impact it has had.

Computer Aid also has funding opportunities for those who want to expand their impact and help to fund specific computer labs and tech centres in unconnected communities around the world.

Join us in our mission to reduce the digital divide. Your unwanted laptop can help us and so many people who do not have access to technology – get in touch to find out how!