Preparing Your Device for Electronics Recycling

Every spring and summer, many communities and businesses sponsor electronics recycling events. It’s time to look around and gather up those devices that have been replaced, become broken, or have just overstayed their welcome. Just throwing electronics into the trash is not only dangerous for the environment, but, depending on the device’s contents, could endanger your privacy as well.

Before taking your device to an electronics recycling event, consider:

  • Data preservation – Have you copied any files that you want to save (documents, pictures, music, etc.) to a new device or to some other storage medium?
  • Data destruction –  Just deleting files from the computer or device, while a good first step, does not fully protect you. Someone with a data recovery program could still recover those deleted files. For better data security, it is necessary to “wipe” the disk. This involves using special software, or physically destroying the disk.  You can also request that the company in charge of the electronics recycling event perform the data destruction for you. Ask the company about their data destruction services, which may involve a small additional fee. In the case of a cell phone, smartphone, or tablet, you may want to perform a restore or factory reset before recycling.
  • Old software – Did your computer or device have any software or applications (apps) that you might miss? Don’t give up hope; there may be updated versions of them available for you to use on your new device.