The United States Environmental Protection Agency states that the U.S. alone throws away over 9.4 million tons of electronics every year. This means that there is a multitude of resources that could be reused—for instance, energy from one million laptops which can power 3,657 households for an entire year— that are just being tossed in the trash. Within one million cell phones, lies about 35,000 lbs of copper, 800 lbs of silver, and 75 lbs of gold. These resources found in other electronics branch out among many materials, such as metals, plastic, and glass.
Electronic Recycling taps into and reuses all these different resources that can diminish our usage of natural resources and lessens the amount of water and air pollution it takes to manufacture the materials from nothing. Some cities, like New York City, have even advanced in progress by making the dumping of electronics completely illegal.
E-Recycling for Companies
If your company is ready to recycle but does not know where to do it, there are various amounts of you could just call Stream Recycling to determine your options. The most important procedure before donating your old computers and phones is to eliminate the potential of personal data being passed on.
If you think data thievery is utterly harmless, you are misled. Information from companies and identities of personnel have been extracted from old computers and phones and not only used as means of hacking, but also profit and identity theft.
According to Computerworld, In 2006, Idaho Power Company found out what happens to those who do not remove data beforehand the hard way. That year, the regulated electrical power utility had recycled about 230 SCSI drives, which constitutes an entire year of confidential information, in a hard drive electronics recycling program run by Grant Korth. Shortly after the power company and the vendor passed on their drives and did not delete the private information from them, confidential employee information and proprietary memos shortly began to show up available for auction off of eBay. Other instances have been seen anywhere from the Georgia Dept. of Human Resources all the way to the Boston Globe.
Improperly clearing off the data on your old phones and computers can put you and your company at risk. There are several ways to safely recycle your electronics, and tips and tricks that can help you through the process to ensure your company’s personal data and essential information do not wind up in the hands of others.
Though some e-waste companies claim they eliminate the data for you before they pass on the necessary materials for reuse, it might simply not be true. Make sure that you are doing business with names that you trust.
How to Wipe the Data
First and foremost, BACK UP your data. Before you permanently delete all your important information and data, use an external hard drive, a flash drive, or an online data backup to save for later use. Personal files such as pictures, videos, and music, browser data like passwords and login information, emails, program data, and fonts are all files to consider backing up before doing the big clean-up.
Computers have special software that can eliminate files completely. Dragging your files to the recycle bin on the computer is not enough nor is deleting them from the recycle bin.
You can also encrypt and write over your data so that even if your old electronics are hacked by a data recovery program, the files can be restored, but cannot be decrypted. After that is done, physically smashing up hard drives before you recycle is a 100 percent sure way to eliminate the possibility of a hacker getting to your information.
Cell phones should have their information deleted from them manually, but then users should run a factory hard reset. To be completely safe with your data, your phone’s SIM card should be taken out of the phone and cut in half before being thrown away. Normally, batteries should also be removed and recycled separately.
The electronics recycling market is an ever-growing market, but still rather new, so it is important to be informed of what to do before recycling old electronics, and how to go about the procedure in the safest way for you, your customers, your company’s privacy and the environment. Stream Recycling can help destroy old hard drives and other electronic components that may store sensitive information. Contact us today for more information.