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Securely Dispose of Your Old PC: Protecting Yourself and the Environment

Disposing of your data on your computer

When one talks about getting rid of an old computer, there are two aspects that should be addressed. The first being how to safely dispose of the components themselves, and the second, less thought of aspect, how to safely dispose of any components that once housed your livelihood and everything about you. I’m referring to your data, stored on hard drives and flash drives from which data could easily be retrieved once disposed of. I will be addressing both aspects today and what is the correct way to dispose of an old machine that is safe for not only the environment but also for yourself.

Safely Removing Your Data

Let’s first talk about the most important topic here, safely removing all your data from a device. There is a lot of belief that all that needs to be done is a simple format and you are good to go, this is not true at all. Software such as Recuva or EaseUS Data Recovery will be able to retrieve your information from a formatted drive quite easily, and there is even software that can recover the whole partition that ran your OS and programs, restoring everything back to the way it was, as though the format never took place. To safely remove your data there are several programs that can make it more permanent. I would recommend using Eraser. It has several layers of deletion, is easy to use and it is open source which means that it is completely free to use.

Making the Environment Safer

Sure, it is easy to just throw the pc into the bin, but at what cost? Unknown to most people, a lot of pc components contain toxic materials, such as cadmium, found in resistors, or even lead. So, what do you do with the old devices that you no longer need?

That is easy, find an e-waste company that will recycle the components and make sure they are disposed of correctly. In some cases, the e-waste companies will come and collect the old pc’s which is great for big companies looking to get rid of a pile of old equipment once they have bought new equipment. These e-waste companies, however, don’t always accommodate picking up a small amount of equipment, and sometimes you must search around to find one that will, but luckily enough there are also places that have an e-waste bin set up that is easily accessible, such as Makro.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your old computer is disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner while protecting your data from falling into the wrong hands. Safeguarding both the environment and your privacy should be a priority when parting ways with your old machine.

Bradley Smilie

Bradley Smilie

Technical Engineer