How Does Linux Help Reduce E-Waste?

While many proprietary OS vendors have stopped supporting older hardware, Linux continues to power such low-end devices to prevent e-waste disposal.

E-waste, or electronic waste, is a big problem. With old electronic equipment including used PCs getting thrown away, hazardous chemicals are regularly being introduced into the environment.

With Linux, it’s possible to resurrect old PCs or repair them so that you can use them longer, which in turn, reduces the amount of e-waste.

1. Linux Lets You Repurpose Old Computers

If you have any older machines lying around, you can use a Linux distribution to make them run as if they were brand new. You can install a distro intended for older and slower computers that may no longer support OSes from Apple or Microsoft.

Minimalistic Linux distros such as Xubuntu are a good bet since they’re made for machines with slower processors that may only be 32-bit and have low RAM. This lets you use PCs that may have been otherwise destined for the scrap heap.

An old laptop might be a good secondary machine for simple tasks like email, word processing, or web surfing. You can also give your old machine to someone else who needs it. It’s much better than throwing it away and having dangerous chemicals end up in the environment.

2. Linux Supports Hardware for Longer

Because Linux distributions can run on less powerful computers, if you use the right distro, you won’t have to upgrade your computer as often. You might even lower your power consumption. Better yet, you could end up saving money since you won’t have to spend it on new machines as much.


Again, lightweight Linux distributions can help you get more use out of your computer for as long as possible. Fewer people buying new computers means that there will be less e-waste in the future.

3. You Can Use Linux to Repair Machines

While you can replace your Windows or macOS system with Linux, you don’t have to change the operating system to keep your PC out of the landfill. You can use a live Linux system like SystemRescue to repair your machine.

If your PC has trouble booting, you can try repairing the bootloader. Or maybe you found an old computer and don’t know the administrative password. You can reset it, even on a Windows machine, and keep using it normally with Linux.

Even if your machine is a lost cause, you can salvage the data before recycling your old PC. If the main system doesn’t boot, you can boot a live distro and extract the data from the hard drive to an external drive.

Linux Is Not Only Useful but Green

Linux’s efficiency on older hardware lets you use older machines for longer by repurposing them. It also helps reduce e-waste and your computer’s impact on the environment.

But taking care of the environment isn’t the job of an operating system. Users should also help prevent electronic waste by learning more about green computing.

What Is Green Computing and Can You Balance Performance With Sustainability?

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