Upcycling represents numerous processes by which you expand the life of your used electronics that are already outdated, old or, slightly broken.

You may also say that upcycling is turning your old used devices into something more useful. By upcycling your used electronic devices, finished products are made more practical, functional, and upgraded.

Upcycling is like giving a new life to your outdated or damaged electronics. It is like turning an old electronic device into a new product. Others may still benefit from these old devices instead of throwing them into the trash that may only end up in a landfill. Improper disposal of e-waste is not healthy for the environment or your company’s benefit.

Comparison between upcycling and recycling


UpcyclIT® is a registered trademark of Surplus Service representing the alternative solution of reusing used electronics rather than recycling or landfill destruction.

With UpcyclIT®, we aim to remove the problem of e-waste by having used electronics go through the upcycling process rather than simply landfilling or recycling them.

At Surplus Service, our goal is to provide eco-friendly solutions that encourage small and big organizations to reuse electronics. Improper electronic devices’ disposal could lead to chemical and environmental damage to humans, animals/birds, the environment and huge regulatory fines. You don’t want to risk your organization’s inappropriate e-waste disposal or worse, ending up in landfills! Organizations need to be keenly aware of the very significant fines associated with inappropriate disposition of e-waste. Recently AT&T, Safeway and a few other companies in northern California paid $63,000,000 in fines.

UpcyclIT® solution has earned Surplus Service multiple awards and recognition like California’s highest sustainability award from their Governor. The Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA) – California’s highest environmental honor. With UpcyclIT®, about 85% of electronics that range from medical equipment, network, fiber optics, and IT equipment are reused.

There are many advantages to going with Upcycling vs. Recycling. Let us share with you this valuable information.


Comparison between upcycling and recycling

Upcycling is NOT the same as recycling.

Recycling breaks down a product to take away components like plastic, paper, metal, and glass from its base to be remade into a new consumer product, often in lesser quality. Likely those raw material components are shipping overseas to third world countries for processing with often highly toxic procedures and unregulated standards.

As technology accelerates, many companies have proliferated their technology introductions of versions and new products. Often major or minor product upgrades and changes can incentive consumers to upgrade and purchase new devices and equipment. This high level of technology introduction leads to accelerated obsolescence. Accelerated obsolescence means more technology, more devices, more equipment and more e-waste. This is largely why Upcycling is so important for long term sustainability and zero waste.

Upcycling a product usually does not break down a product’s components from its base. You upgrade or reuse the old device to something more useful by repairing, refurbishing, or reprocessing it.

Let’s say, for example, a laptop.
Take your laptop to a recycling center. They will separate the plastic parts from the other components like metal, copper, iron, etc. Depending on the recycling center, some of these components may still end up going to a landfill.

Upcycling process is not like recycling. Upcycling means more to the environment than recycling. If you take your laptop to Surplus Service, your electronic devices will undergo the upcycling process. Many consumers don’t need or want the latest and greatest technology. They are very satisfied with technology that simply works.

We run functional power up and diagnostic testing as a check-up on your device to see which of the device’s external parts or internal systems needs repair, replacing, or upgrade. Surplus Service’s technical experts will do the necessary upgrades and replacements for your old devices and give them a newly upgraded life. Other people can still benefit from these upcycled electronics.

Although our focus is reuse, as a certified recycler, we can and do recycle. We also do certified destruction. Many clients want and demand items be recycled, shredded, destroyed or never reused. Often clients with secure data or proprietary technologies require shredding or destruction procedures to microns, pulverizing or meltdown. We do recycling, shredding and destruction for clients who require high security and proprietary oversight. Generally, when given a choice, many people, clients and organizations prefer reuse or upcycling over recycling or landfilling but not always.


Remanufacturing is a method of extending a product’s life through reusing and refabricating the product using the same line of components for replacement. It will still end up as the same product line, just with a replaced part.

On the other hand, upcycling is like refashioning a used product and integrating a new range of components to better and have a longer life.


Book E Waste Pickup

Electronic devices and electronic equipment have become a significant part of any business today, whether in the medical, office, or tech field. Big and small companies now use laptops, computers, iPads, and other electronic devices for their daily operations. We’ve also evolved to a more technologically advanced world in the medical field using x-ray machines, CT Scans, MRI devices, and more.

But just like any other product, the useful life of electronic devices has a limit. It will end at some point. It is vital to dispose of these old electronics in an environmentally responsible manner. 

It is also necessary to dispose of electronic devices following different local, state, or international laws and regulations. We have to dispose of our e-waste and old technologies as we upgrade. Not just because we don’t want to be fined and get a bad reputation for our businesses, but also to save the environment. 

As the number of these surplus electronics increases dramatically every year, especially in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, California and the United States by comparison to all other countries, proper disposal of electronic devices through upcycling becomes even more critical.

Here are just a few reasons why the proper disposal of surplus electronics is essential:

  • Electronic devices release toxic waste when not disposed of properly.
    • E-waste accounts for only about 2% of what ends up in America’s landfills. But it equals 70% of the overall toxins in a landfill.
  • E-waste is becoming a growing problem
    • In California alone, we produce, on average, 200 million pounds of electronic waste a year, according to CalRecycle.
  • Obsolete Equipment
    • Since 2005, California’s e-waste collection has reached 2 billion pounds, including many cathode ray tubes (CRTs) that no one uses anymore.

Since many waste disposal sites are closing their facilities to businesses with surplus electronics, Surplus Service, an award-winning e-waste management company headquartered in the San Francisco Silicon Valley Bay Area offers e-waste recycling solutions through upcycling nationally.


Book E Waste Pickup
  • Less a chance of e-waste going overseas. 60% to 80% of the used electronics produced in the U.S. are shipped overseas to places like Guiyu, China, the world’s e-waste dumping ground, where children—who were found sorting through the old electronic parts—are exposed to toxic e-waste
  • No energy, resources, pollution, raw material, or transportation needed to recycle assets or manufacture replacements products
  • Significant opportunity to recycle electronics for money, which means taxes and fees saved by consumers and the state
  • Secondary use contributes to small and mid-size businesses that benefit from these assets.
  • Reusing computers is up to 20 times more energy-efficient than recycling.
  • Upcycling contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions. 
    • By extending the life of a used electronic device, we are spending less energy extracting, transforming, or creating new ones than we usually do with recycling.

Services We Offer

Surplus Service offers five core services to our clients: IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) / Asset Management, Medical Recycling, Reverse Logistics, Zero Waste Reporting and Data Destruction. For more information, click on a service below to learn more.

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Upcycle Your Electronics with Surplus Service

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