What Happens To Old Or Used Laptops In The End? Check Out Our List

Like everything else in life, sometimes technology needs to be replaced. Whether your laptop has become outdated, or your PC has stopped working, there can be plenty of reasons to get an upgrade. Once you’ve decided to get an upgrade, you don’t really think about your old laptop once you’ve thrown it out, given it away, or sold it. But have you ever wondered, what became of your old laptop after you threw it out?

Depending on where you live, what state your laptop was in, or where you last left it, a lot could have happened to it. Your laptop could have been picked up just the way it was and could have found a new owner. It could have been bought, refurbished, and sold as a new and improved model. Finally, and inevitably, it could have made its way to a garbage dump to be either recycled or left out in the sun. Your laptop’s life doesn’t end after it’s left you. If you want to learn more about the fate of your old or used laptops, check out our list!

Your laptop gets an upgrade and finds a new home

Instead of simply taking and throwing it in the closest trash bin, you can actually sell your old laptop. There are numerous businesses that can take your laptop, give you some money, and your laptop parts a new life! Keep in mind that if your laptop is not in the best shape, you might not get a crazy amount of money. But, whatever the amount might be, it is better than if you were to throw it in the trash. Not only will you get some cash, but you will also avoid creating unnecessary waste in nature. 

In the case of your laptop going to a refurbishing business, your laptop is going to get the makeover of a lifetime. Whether it’s the graphics card, memory, or keyboard that needs a fix-up, these businesses have got you covered. One of such businesses is Peach Stores, and as they explain, if you opt for saving your old electronics from the trash – businesses like these can refurbish them. These kinds of companies are a great way to both give your electronics a second chance at life, or to get yourself a new one. The next person to own your laptop or electronic device is not the last stop. All things must come to an end, so what happens to your laptop once it’s reached the end of the road?

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Recycling electronics: a gruesome tale

At the end of the day, most electronics have to end up in a landfill. When they are no longer able to be used, electronics make their way to landfills where one of two things could happen to them. If something can be salvaged from the laptop, that part will be removed and dealt with accordingly. The components of the laptop that cannot be salvaged need to be disposed of. Recycling and disposing of electronic waste can be a very complicated and dangerous process. It is typically done in developing countries and is not a pretty sight. Laptops, like any electronic device, contain many different types of chemicals and elements that are toxic to the environment. Because of this, their disposal needs to be done very carefully.

Laptop components are complex and there are many different materials that need to be disposed of. Different materials require different treatments, and you’ve guessed it – these treatments aren’t’ all that cheap. This is the main reason why all that many places opt to not bother with trying to recycle such equipment. 

If you’re up for a good deed – donate!

We’ve already talked about selling your old laptop, but let’s talk about another, more generous thing that you can do. Donating your computer is always a great option, as it helps those that just can’t afford to buy a new laptop. Even if it might be too slow or outdated for you, to someone, it might be the only access to a working computer.

The new owner can be a goodwill donation center, another person or family, or a laptop refurbishing business. If you give away your electronics as a gift to someone you know who needs it, you can be sure that it’s at least going to be put to good use. Donating your old or used laptops is an excellent way to give someone you don’t know a chance to get something they really need. A good deed for someone else is a good deed for the environment too in this case.

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The last resort – throwing it in the dumpster

Lastly, let’s see what happens to laptops that end up being thrown into a regular dumpster. We’ve already talked about recycling and how complicated it can be to recycle laptops. Since a lot of people still don’t think enough about recycling electronics, a lot of laptops end up being thrown away as regular garbage. So, naturally, after the dumpster, the next destination for your old laptop is a landfill. Here, your laptop is going to be processed as any other piece of garbage. 

Depending on where you live, it might be cut into little pieces, pressed, dug into the soil, or another, similar measure. In any case, you can probably imagine how long it would take for a laptop to disintegrate and become a part of the soil around it. Of course, even when it does break down to some extent, there still comes the problem of the toxic chemical in its components. We’ve already talked about these chemicals, and the problem persists. If your laptop isn’t being processed properly in the recycling plant, the toxic chemicals go straight to the soil. Of course, you don’t need a lot of digging to understand how harmful this can be for the environment.


At the end of this article, we want to finally stress that your old laptop doesn’t need to end up in a dumpster after all. One mans’ junk is another mans’ treasure might be a cheesy old saying, but it definitely has its value. That being said, sustainability and upcycling should always be on our minds when dealing with things that we don’t need anymore. Especially when it comes to laptops, that can very easily be refurbished into a piece of tech that can serve its purpose for a few more years. If not, make sure that you recycle, as it is the best way to dispose of electronic equipment for the environment!

So, now that you know about all the things you can do with your old laptop after you have bought a new one, make sure to utilize these options!

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