Are Laptops Bad for the Environment?

Are laptops bad for the environment? This is a question that has been asked repeatedly in recent years. The answer, however, is not so simple. While there are certainly ways in which laptops can have a negative impact on the planet, there are also ways in which they can be green and sustainable. In this blog post, we will explore the various environmental effects of laptops and offer some tips for greener computing.

Are Laptops Bad for the Environment?

Are laptops bad for the environment?

A large number of laptops are made of plastic. Because of this, they tend to be hard to recycle. Plastic can make up a significant percentage of the weight in most laptops and is often difficult to separate from other materials to recycle it separately. Laptop batteries also contain heavy metals like mercury, lead, cadmium, nickel, and lithium that cannot be recycled by standard means. These metals can leach into soil or water supplies if proper disposal procedures are not followed.

Laptops, like most electronics, are often discarded when they break or become obsolete rather than being repaired. This can lead to an increase in electronic waste (e-waste) that is difficult to recycle and harmful to the environment when disposed of improperly. While newer laptops tend to use less toxic materials for their batteries, it is essential to be cautious about the disposal of old batteries. Many companies offer free recycling so long as the laptop itself is sent back to them simultaneously. It’s also possible to dispose of old batteries by dropping them off at a recycling facility if you do not have access to a recycling program yourself.

If you’re looking for a greener option, consider purchasing a refurbished model. Refurbished laptops are often available from the manufacturer directly and may include a warranty, as well as it is possible to upgrade certain parts.

When is an old laptop genuinely obsolete?

In general, you should try to upgrade your laptop every few years if you can afford it. Laptops have become increasingly powerful over time, and older models quickly lose their ability to function as more applications become resource-intensive. In addition, many companies tend to update their operating systems yearly, which means that they will not be able to run on devices with very low specifications.

While it is possible to keep an old laptop running for a little longer by upgrading the operating system or installing more RAM, it’s important to remember that these measures are only Band-Aids. Eventually, the laptop will need other parts replaced, and you’ll be faced with the same decision of whether or not to upgrade again.

How can I make my laptop greener?

You can do a few things to make your laptop use less energy and have a smaller environmental impact. One is to adjust your settings so that your computer goes into sleep mode after a certain amount of time. You can also adjust the screen brightness and install power management software to help regulate how much energy your laptop uses.

If you don’t need Wi-Fi, disconnect your wireless card, minimizing the amount of electricity used by your laptop. This can be especially handy if you find yourself in a situation where Wi-Fi is not available. If you do need to keep your Wi-Fi on, make sure to change your settings so that it automatically turns off when there are no networks available instead of using up battery power searching for one.

In short, the following steps can be taken to protect the environment:

1. Keep old batteries out of landfills

2. Refurbished laptops are greener than new ones

3. Turn off your wireless network when not in use

4. If you don’t need it, uninstall programs that run while the computer is on standby

5. Wipe down your screen with a microfiber cloth instead of using a cleaner

6. Use a laptop cooler or under-the-lap mat to keep your computer from getting too hot

7. Dim the screen brightness or use an e ink display

8. Purchase an ENERGY STAR certified laptop

9. Download power management software

10. Replace the battery every three years

How are laptops bad for the environment?

1. Laptops contain heavy metals in their batteries, which can harm the environment if not disposed of properly.

2. Laptops often contain plastics that make up a large percentage of their weight, and these plastics are difficult to recycle.

3. Laptops contain several parts that can be difficult to recycle and may need special disposal.

4. Older laptops have a high amount of electrical waste when they are thrown away.

5. Many people choose to use a laptop over other types of computers, but this convenience increases their environmental impact considerably. For example, many people do not switch off their wireless adapters when they are not in use, resulting in significant unnecessary energy use.

6. Laptop cooling systems often utilize fans made with unsafe lubricants and cause the computer to generate a large amount of heat while running. This additional heat makes battery life shorter and requires more electricity to power the unit, resulting in increased air pollution from the production process alone! 

7. Laptops use a significant amount of energy when in sleep mode.

8. Laptops certified as “energy-star” still consume more power than other devices like tablets and phones.

9. The manufacturing process of laptops also creates harmful byproducts such as carcinogens, ozone-depleting substances, and heavy metals that can contaminate water supplies.

10. Upgrading your laptop every three years instead of using the same one for six reduces the number of obsolete laptops filling up our landfills and saves energy in the long run!


Are laptops bad for the environment? In short, no; however, they can have a negative impact on the planet if not used in an environmentally conscious way.

We hope this article helped clear your queries.

Thank you for reading.

Muhammad Rafay
Muhammad Rafay is the co-founder of Tech Chatter, a website that publishes buying guides related to laptops and technology. He's passionate about helping people make informed decisions about the products they buy.