3 Best Practices for Technology Recycling

The outdated technology collecting dust in your office needs a new home, but it can be hard to navigate the best practices for technology recycling.

Data backup, Recycle, Recycle devices, Security

Technology recycling helps the environment and can help companies keep their business in compliance with state and local recycling laws. But before you get started with technology recycling, keep in mind that your devices may contain sensitive company and customer information. Follow the below tips to make sure all that data doesn't fall into the wrong hands.

1. Backing up Data

Old computers, mobile phones and other technology with memory storage could contain data with sensitive company, client or even personal information that you don't want to lose. To save everything important, make sure your data is backed up. This is something that should be done routinely — but even some large companies still fail to back up their data regularly. Portable hard drives offer anywhere from 0.5 TB to 10 TB of storage at an inexpensive price. Several companies also provide online data backups, though the speeds and amount of storage space vary greatly.

2. Complete Data Removal

A simple "delete" is not enough to remove the data. It's important to remember that deletion is not destruction. Data removal software will ensure that all sensitive data is wiped from your hard drive, while a simple reset could be enough to wipe data from your smartphone or tablet. Finally, removing and destroying internal hard drives is another option. Driving a nail through the hard drive with a hammer is a common method of destruction, but it should still be sent through recycling after it has been destroyed, rather than thrown in the trash. 

3. Environmentally Safe Disposal

Recycling technology is more complex than just putting old laptops out for the weekly recycling pickup. There are specific restrictions on technology recycling because many contain potentially hazardous materials, such as lead, cadmium, copper and chromium, so recycling or repurposing old technology must be done with care. Here are just three options for disposal:

  • Some K?12 schools will accept old hardware for the classroom to teach the basics of technology repair.
  • Many communities have specific e-cycling events or drop offs for old equipment.
  • Staples offers free technology recycling in all of their stores.

By backing up data, ensuring complete data destruction and following environmentally safe disposal practices, your company can rid itself of outdated technology in the most responsible manner.