Datasafe Non-Profit recycling Program
||It’s estimated that only 10
percent of all discarded computers are recycled in the U.S.
Due to increased environmental awareness about the toxicity of
electronic devices, laws have passed in many jurisdictions prohibiting the
disposal of electronics in local landfills. Here are some tips for
recycling electronic devices and protecting critical business and personal
data when you dispose of old equipment.
- Clear your computer of personal information and critical
business data. Delete does not mean delete. Deleting
everything from your computer’s drives and folders and emptying the
trash can on your computer does not guarantee your data is gone.
Personal information or critical business data including the Internet
browser's cache, cookies, history; email contacts and messages;
documents; recycle or trash folders; and all nontransferable software
may still reside on your machine’s hard drive. The first step in a
safe disposal is to run a disk-cleaning utility that overwrites all
the sectors of your hard drives, making your personal and business
- Determine if your old computer can be reused. Computers
less then five years old can be put to good use by someone else.
Nonprofit groups, schools and many other organizations often depend on
technology that is donated because it is too expensive to keep up with
the latest products on their own. Options to donate/recycle include
sending your device back to the original manufacturer, dropping off
your device at a local recycler or refurbisher, or providing it
directly to an organization in need. The advantage to going through
the manufacturer, a refurbisher or a recycler is that they will
“wipe” the hard drive of your data and ensure that the equipment
they send to nonprofits is in good working condition and runs legal
copies of software.
Whether you donate your computer directly to an organization or via a
recycler, refurbisher or manufacturer, be sure you clarify which party is
going to wipe your hard drive of your personal information.
- Contact your local recycler or hardware manufacturer prior
to donating. Call the organization or check its Web site to
ensure that it accepts the type of computer you plan to give away.
Some organizations, for example, will refuse anything older than a
- Recycle old and broken hardware. Any equipment that
is not working or is more than five years old should be tagged for
recycling. A computer recycler will salvage useful computer parts and
safely removing hazardous materials in the process before breaking
down what's left.
- Remember the accessories. If you can, be sure to
include the keyboard, mouse, printer, modem, packaged software, or any
other accessories you use with the computer when you donate it.
Schools and nonprofits can almost always put them to good use, and
most organizations only accept complete systems.