Want to Recycle an Old Computer Safely? Here’s How.

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If you’re out there trying to do your best to support a healthy environment and are worried about the e-waste you’re generating as you go through phones and laptops over the years, you may be in need of some recycling tips. Obviously, phones are pretty easy, with all the trade-in and refurbishing options available, but computers can be a bit trickier, especially if you use them for work. Keep reading to discover the steps you need to take to safely and securely dispose of an old but still functional computer.

Wipe It Clean

The main concern with computers is how much personal information they can have stored on the hard drive. You may have worked hard to keep things secure while you used the device, but doing so after you give it away or sell it to someone else is a bit trickier. Here’s the basic rundown of what you need to do:

  1. Deauthorize programs that you can only use on one device at a time, so that you can reauthorize them on other programs later. Uninstall programs that require paid subscriptions or may include your personal information.
  2. Delete your browsing history – including cache, passwords, cookies, etc.
  3. Delete all sensitive files. For extra security, on PCs with hard-drives, download a program like File Shredder to find any sneaky files and destroy them. For Apples and PCs with SSDs, encrypt the drive instead. This create a password that only you have access to, so that no future owners of your device can read any leftover files.
  4. Now you’re ready to wipe. Macs, Chromebooks, and PCs all have slightly different procedures for this, but basically it involves erasing and reinstalling the operating system. For PCs, you may need to download a tool like Eraser to complete the process.

Actually Recycling Your Device

Once you’ve gotten your computer wiped, you have several options. You can make a tax-deductible donation of your still-working computer to local non-profit organizations, like schools and libraries.

You can also trade in your device at certain stores for either a discount on a new computer or store credit for the future. A wide-array of online businesses may also offer cash for old computers, but do check to make sure the recycler is an e-Steward or SERI-certified, meaning they do not ship devices to developing nations where underpaid laborers can extract the valuable components.

Sound like a Lot to Deal with?

We get it. That’s why we offer an easy Donate or Regift Refresh package to clients looking to recycle or donate their old computers. You can request this when you submit your ticket for just $90. We’ll save you the time and research needed to make sure you’re wiping your computer correctly, and give you the peace of mind that your data has been securely removed (especially important if your computer was used for business purposes!). Start a service ticket with us today to request this easy solution.