The better we buy, look after and (eventually) dispose of our mobiles, laptops and other devices, the better it is for the environment.

From choosing the most environmentally-friendly devices to recycling end-of-life tech, we’ve put together advice on maximising the lifespan of your devices.

Eco guide to buying using and recycling your tech

Buying a device

The lifecycle of your device begins before you’ve even taken it out of the box – but which electronics companies are greenest in the production of tech?

Greenpeace have put together a Guide to Greener Electronics, which provides information on which tech companies are the most environmentally friendly.

The guide rates electronics companies in three areas: Energy use, resource consumption and chemical elimination, to help you choose the greenest option for your next device.

Alternatively, buying second hand can not only reduce your environmental impact, but it can save you money, too.

Mobile providers including EE, O2 and Vodafone offer ‘nearly new’ or refurbished phones, as do Carphone Warehouse and Apple (who also offer refurbished Macs and iPads).

There are lots of other places where you can buy second-hand devices, but make sure you know what to look out for (no one wants to discover they’ve bought a stolen mobile!). Take a look at this article for advice on buying second-hand.

Using your device: Maximising your tech’s lifespan

Protect your device
Protecting your device against viruses and malware will help keep your device bug free, and keep your device’s operating system functioning well. It’s important to install anti-virus software – even if you’re a Mac user. LSE students and staff can download Sophos anti-virus for free. If you’ve not already done so, download your copy here.

Making your laptop more energy efficient
We recently shared ideas on how to make your laptop more energy efficient. Our top tips include removing your device from its case whilst charging, avoiding depleting the battery life to 0% and turning off your laptop when it’s not in use. You can read more of our energy efficiency tips here.

Laptop surgery
LSE runs a laptop surgery for hands-on help with your laptop or device. The Laptop Surgery can help identify hardware problems, help with virus and malware protection, and provide assistance with general device issues. Find the opening hours here.

Fix broken tech with Restart
The Restart Project aims to help people learn to fix their tech. If you’ve got a broken laptop, phone or table, find your local Restart party and learn how to fix it yourself!

Disposing of your technology

Even if you no longer need the device, might someone else want it? If it’s in working order why not give it away or sell it on to be reused? Even if your device is broken, you might find someone looking for a project who’ll gladly take it off your hands. Websites like Freecycle or Gumtree are a good places to start.

If your device is broken beyond repair, you’ll need to recycle it. If you’ve bought a new device, the retailer must offer a service to dispose of the original device that you’re replacing.

If you’re disposing of your device yourself, make sure you do so responsibly. IT waste should never be put into a normal household (or campus) bin. Many recycling centres offer electrical equipment disposal – you can find your nearest one here.

When it’s time to give away or r of your device, make sure you delete your data before handing your device over. Remember to back up your files before you wipe your device.