How to Dispose of Your Used IT Equipment with an Emphasis on the TechMikeNY Way – Renewal!
The World Economic Forum recently estimated that 50 million tons of electronic garbage, or e-waste, are produced each year. With more and more electronic devices becoming part of our daily lives with shorter product cycles, e-waste is taking up more and more of landfills. In 2015, a report stated that e-waste represents 70% of overall toxic waste in landfills. The consequence of this is the electronic components that have toxic materials such as lead, zinc, nickel, flame retardants, barium, and chromium can seep out of landfills and be released into the air, water supply, and environment. Arguably, with devices becoming smaller and smaller and more ubiquitous, this is perhaps the generational environmental issue to be reckoned with.
Despite this disturbing, sobering news, on the positive front, tech companies are starting to take the issue seriously, and TechMikeNY is on the vanguard of that effort. Reducing electronic waste through renewal is one of our founding principles. So - how do you throw away your electronics safely?
So. What do you do with your electronic trash?
First and foremost: please don’t toss it in the regular garbage. Aside from all of the aforementioned environmental issues, throwing out hard drives with your personal information is a tremendous security risk. The hard drive in your system has stored all of the passwords, software license keys, and browsing history on the device. Even someone with a modicum degree of technical expertise could access the contents of a laptop or desktop’s hard drive and your personal information. Not to mention, many localities now have laws against disposing of electronic devices (and even just electronic components) in the regular trash. Don’t do it!
Fortunately, many hardware manufacturers now have buyback or trade-in programs where you can return your used hardware in exchange for cash or store credit. Here are the links for the buyback programs of some major manufacturers, such as Dell, HP, and Apple. These manufacturers commit to reusing equipment that can be restored or responsibly recycling what cannot be reused. Many of these programs also accept devices from other manufacturers.
Another option is to give the equipment to a local Registered Electronic Waste Recycling Facility (Ombligo, the parent company of TechMikeNY, is one such facility in New York State). These facilities are licensed and equipped to take used equipment and are committed to refurbishing and recycling the devices.
Lastly, you can always check with your local authorities. Many cities, towns, and even residential co-ops have programs in place to help you remove e-waste responsibly and conveniently.
Remember: regardless of how you dispose of your used electronic devices, always make sure hard drives are erased, and smartphones are factory reset to avoid the security risk of your personal information falling into the wrong hands.
What about small business owners?
Business owners have a unique set of criteria for removing their used devices and e-waste. Your business could be severely damaged if hard drives with your company’s information fell into the wrong hands. More so, if any devices store customer data, special care needs to be taken to ensure that those devices are correctly disposed of. Several laws have recently been passed protecting customer data, and your company could be held liable if it is determined customer data was improperly handled.
For all businesses – large and small -- it is critical that they work with a certified recycler and refurbisher that can handle the volume that usually comes with an organization’s equipment refresh cycles. A reputable refurbisher and recycler will also have experience in the Asset Management component of removing e-waste and the essential documentation to ensure you can prove your organization has acted responsibly and legally.
As tempting as it is to chuck that second-generation iPhone into the trash, don’t do it! Reducing e-waste is a serious, long-term effort, and problems like these can only be solved when everybody is chipping in. For business owners, companies like TechMikeNY are dedicated to helping address the environmental concerns and managing the process so they can be compliant. Now that there are so many avenues for equipment to be renewed or recycled work with us!