Getting rid of old computers, copiers, printers, gaming systems, monitors and other equipment is more than just putting it out for trash. As we noted, most of it must be sent to a recycling facility. But even before you take them to a facility or arrange a pick-up, make sure you erase all data stored on them.
Unless you are using cloud-based systems exclusively, you’re storing data on your computer’s hard drive, and the data files likely contain sensitive information. Merely deleting files doesn’t erase data. We can help you with the destruction if your hard drive goes to Green Vision Inc. (see our front-page article). We are there at least once a week, and we can arrange to supervise the destruction of your drives. If we are working at your office or home, we can take your old equipment to Green Vision and supervise the destruction.
Keep in mind; computers are not the only devices that store data on hard drives or memory chips. Many personal printers have memory chips, and so do fax machines and “all-in-one” devices that print, copy scan and fax. We can make sure those storage media are removed and destroyed. If you plan to donate or sell that old equipment for somebody else to use, make sure you call us to wipe those devices clean.
Large multi-function devices used for printing, copying, scanning and faxing do have hard drives. If you have a leased machine, it’s critical to make sure all data are erased before you return the machine intact. You should call your equipment provider to find out how to erase the data or find out if you have the option of removing the hard drive. You may need to replace it, but any additional cost could be a bargain when compared to the cost of sensitive data falling into the wrong hands.
In addition to computers and office machines, you also need to recycle items such as:
- Computer accessories (mouse, keyboards, speakers, wires and cords)
- Audio visual components (VCR, DVD, CD, cassette, record and 8-track players)
- Telephones and cell phones
- Small kitchen appliances (toasters, microwaves, coffee makers, can openers, blenders, etc.)
- Vacuum cleaners (with dust bags out or cans emptied)
- LCD monitors
- CRT monitors
- Tube TVs
Green Vision has a New Jersey recycling fact sheet on its website. You should consult the laws in the state(s) where you live and/or work for disposal and recycling information. We can assist you with disposal; just call – 973-433-6676 – or email us with your questions.
This article was published in Technology Update, the monthly newsletter from Sterling Rose LLC.