Do you have an old computer laying around? Did you know you can’t just throw them in the trash? (Pst! It’s illegal in some states and bad for the environment!) You also don’t want to bring it to just any recycler. Some of them are not disposing of the items but shipping them overseas where they are dismantled improperly. In some cases, this can harm the people doing the dismantling and the environment. You also don’t want to leave any data on your computer as it could contain passwords, financial information, or other personally identifiable information. This could all be used to harm you or your family through identity theft.
“So how do I responsibly dispose of my old computer?”
First, you want to remove the data on your old computer. You can do this in several ways but the best and most responsible way is to run a program on your computer that erases the data completely using the DOD 5220.22-M method. What this means is that the software does three (3) passes over the disk and writes a zero (0) in one pass, a one (1) in the next pass, and random character in the last pass over the disk in order to ensure that no data can be retrieved from the hard drive. I use Darik’s Boot and Nuke for this. It is a boot-able disk that runs outside of windows and applies the method to the entire hard drive no matter what is on it.
Second, you want to take your old computer that has now been erased to a responsible recycler. To find one, you can go to the Find-A-Recycler tool on the e-stewards.org website. Personally, I take them to my local Goodwill store but you should contact your local one to make sure they take the items.
If you have any trouble with this, don’t hesitate to contact me. I would be glad to help!