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Managing unsuitable donations (E-waste)

E-waste is a growing issue in the UK. It’s vital that we all dispose of unwanted or unusable items in an environmentally friendly way as they contain toxic components. By becoming a Rebooter, you can help reduce the number of devices sent to landfill. 

Unfortunately, however strict your guidelines are, you will receive some items which aren’t fit for purpose. You therefore need to make sure these devices are disposed of in a way which is secure, safe and environmentally friendly. 

By the end of this step, you’ll be able to decide which of these three options you want to take:

  • Asking your commercial restorer to handle the process (if you have one)
  • Using a professional recycling partner
  • Managing the process yourself

Key insights

  • The growing problem

    Demand for new devices continues to increase and many old devices end up in end up in landfill. This can cause environmental issues due to their toxic components. Disposing of E-waste properly is a time-consuming and highly skilled process. By collecting and recycling unsuitable devices, you’re helping to protect the environment!

Disposing of devices safely and securely

Option 1. Working with a commercial partner

Commercial partners who perform diagnostics and carry out repairs will often recycle unsuitable devices. They may even be able to monetise them.


  • Encouraging commercial restoration partners to sell devices or parts will allow you to offset costs
  • They’ll already have suppliers in place
  • They’ll be familiar with compliance requirements


  • If you haven’t chosen to work with a commercial partner in the restoration stages of the process, then this is not a recommended option

Option 2. Working with a recycling partner

Finding a recycling partner to securely and safely manage your E-waste will ensure that unsuitable devices are disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner.


  • They are often open to partnering
  • They’ll be familiar with compliance requirements
  • It’s a cost-effective solution using existing infrastructure and skills


  • There may not be one in your area (however, if you’re using a commercial restoration partner, they may be able to do this)

Option 3. Managing the process yourself

If you have existing skills and infrastructure, you can always save money by handling the recycling yourself.


  • It’s a cost-effective option, if you have the skills and capacity


  • Requires an understanding of data security and data privacy
  • Requires compliance with legislation
  • Requires recycling skills and infrastructure

Things to think about

  • Partnering choices

    Commercial recyclers work with device recycling organisations and charities. Some councils collect E-waste for recycling as do some charities. You can find a list of these organisations in the resources section.

Ready to get started?

If you’re interested in setting up a Reboot project, why not download the full Reboot playbook? Regardless of your budget and IT skills, it will help you develop a well-structured Reboot process and maximise your donations!