Eventually, all electronics will need to be replaced due to obsolescence. However, simply throwing them in the garbage is not the ideal way to dispose of your electronics, as most will end up in a landfill where they will rot for countless centuries.
Instead, secure electronic recycling is the best way to recycle your electronics. As such, we will be discussing what’s the best way to secure electronic recycling. We’ll do this while considering the impact your old gadgets will have on the environment as well as your personal and financial security.
Whether or not you are thinking of disposing of your electronics via online auction sites or by recycling them, you will need to ensure that all your personal files, passwords, photos, and the like are completely removed from your old electronics.
To do so, you will need to perform a full reset of the operating system of each electronic device that you wish to get rid of. However, if you have some important photos, passwords, and files that you need to access in the future, you should back them up on the cloud or a hard drive before you wipe your device clean.
Also, while the vast majority of the electronics sold today contain either SSD storage or flash, some older devices may use a mechanical hard drive to store information. Hence, if you want to get rid of a very old desktop or laptop, then resetting network settings and erasing all content may not suffice to completely get rid of everything on your device.
In other words, there may still be a few bits of data or intel that may be able to be recovered by knowledgeable cybercriminals who have the right tools at their disposal.
Whether or not you want to take the risk is up to you. We should note, however, that the vast majority of buyers or even recycling facilities will not go through the trouble of setting up a hard disk recovery to extract, say, some of your income tax spreadsheets or home movies.
Still, for those who prefer to err on the side of caution when disposing of their old electronics, the only surefire way to ensure that none of the data can be recovered is to completely destroy the hard drive.
For instance, you can use a drill or hammer to destroy the platter. Just remember to wear safety goggles before doing so. Or, you can ask a data destruction specialist to destroy all of your gadget drives for you if you don’t want to risk injury or don’t have the time to destroy them yourself.
Also, please do not forget to disconnect every device that you wish to recycle, sell, or donate from your online accounts. Fortunately, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Twitter, and Facebook allow users to easily remove a device from their platform and sign out of a session.
How to Securely Dispose of Electronics
If you don’t want to donate your old electronics, or don’t plan on selling them to the highest bidder on eBay, then the third option is to dispose of them. The good news is there are steps you can take to ensure that your old laptop, PC, tablet, console, or phone can be disposed of in a way that has a minimal impact on the environment.
To do so, you should first get in contact with the enterprise that fabricated your device. For example, Apple currently has a recycling program that will also offer some money that can be put towards a new Apple product if the item is in good working condition.
Simply take your old electronics to a local Apple Store, or fill out a form online and then ship the item in order to get some cashback. Moreover, Samsung and Google also have comparable recycling programs in place, so you can do the same if your electronics were made by them.
In addition, if you don’t want to deal with the manufacturer of your devices, then you can try local electronic recycling initiatives in your city. And, while they do vary from state to state and province to province, you can check to see what is available in your area by entering your coordinates into, say, E-Cycling’s central website.
Yet another option is to go back to the store where you bought your electronics. For instance, Best Buy currently offers a recycling program that will take care of all of the recycling of your old gadgets for you. Or, you can obtain some trade-in value for your electronics if they are in good condition. It should also be noted that all of the big phone carriers offer recycling and trade-in programs for their customers as well.
Give your Old Gadgets New Life
Another way to practice secure electronic recycling is to donate them to Good Will. By doing so, you will prevent the need for another gadget being built or sold, as you will allow someone less fortunate to enjoy your electronics. As an added plus, donating your electronics will eliminate the hassle of trying to find a way to safely and legally dispose of them.
Another option is to try and sell them on eBay, or on a local classified site like Craigslist. You may be surprised at how much money you can get for your old gadgets, as many repair shops and collectors will purchase antiquated electronics for scrap or because of their rare components.
Finally, you may not need to donate or sell your old gadgets at all, as you can transform them into new gadgets with a little tinkering and creativity. For instance, an old tablet or smartphone can be configured or modified so that it becomes a security camera or Spotify controller. Or, it can be used as a dedicated e-reader device.
Perhaps you can take your old laptop and configure it so that it serves up musical tracks and HD videos to the other electronic gadgets in your home as well.