We all know that electronic waste is becoming a more pressing issue as technology advances and our dependence on gadgets increases. So, what should you do with all that old computer hardware that’s been piling up in your storage room? As a caregiver for the environment and our future generations, I firmly believe that it’s our responsibility to dispose of old hardware properly.
We live in an age where technology is advancing at lightning speed. In a matter of weeks, our once state-of-the-art computers can quickly become outdated and obsolete, and we find ourselves with closets full of old electronics with seemingly no use. Old computers, cellphones, and devices pile up, often ending up in landfills or storage, taking up space and contributing to environmental waste. It is essential to dispose of old technology properly. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the importance of recycling old computers and hardware, and what you should do before getting rid of them.
The first thing you should know is that old technology materials are not bio-degradable, and it is not safe to dispose of them in the regular trash. Computer components like keyboards, mice, and monitors come with toxic chemicals like lead, mercury, and other hazardous substances that can damage the environment when improperly discarded. Therefore, it’s essential to recycle these electronic devices properly.
Many companies offer environmentally-friendly disposal and recycling of your old electronics. Companies like Dell, Best Buy, and Staples engage in recycling programs where they will accept your old electronics, wipe sensitive information, and dispose of them properly. Some companies may even charge you for the recycling service, but it’s worth the cost to avoid contributing to environmental harm and any possible security risks. There are also local companies in your area that will also recycle your old hardware as well. One such in Eastern Ontario is Electronic Recycling Association. They are great to use and will come and pick up your old hardware.
Before recycling, it’s essential to remove all data from your computer hard disk. Computer hard drives store sensitive data like passwords, bank details, and personal documents, which could lead to identity theft or other malicious activities if not disposed of properly. We recommend wiping the hard disk and physically destroying it before recycling or donating it. There are third-party applications that can wipe the hard drive, ensuring that the data is unrecoverable. You can remove the drive altogether and destroy it physically, either by crushing it or drilling through it. When physically damaging it, you want to make sure that the damage makes the drive unrepairable. To make it fun, we like to try and turn the drives into taco shells.
Even if you’re planning on selling or donating your electronics, it’s crucial to remove the hard drive, as even wiping the hard drive may not erase all of the data. In 2015, a study by Blancco Technology Group found that over 40% of second-hand hard drives sold on eBay held sensitive data, including payroll information, bank details, and even passports!
Recycling old computers and hardware responsibly is essential for protecting the environment and our sensitive information. Before disposing of your electronic devices, be sure to wipe your hard drive clean and irreparably damage them, then proceed with donating or recycling your equipment. Remember, there are companies available that will help ensure your electronics are disposed of properly. Let’s all work together to ensure the long-term sustainability of our planet by engaging in responsible recycling practices.