Why Recycle Your Laptop
Recycling your laptop is important because if it ends up in a landfill, the problem isnt solved it only begins. Electronics that end up in the trash can become a serious environmental and health hazard.Electronic devices contain toxic materials like chromium, flame retardants, and lead. These materials have been related to damage to kidneys, blood, and the central nervous system.
Findings from most studies showed increases in spontaneous abortions, stillbirths, and premature births, and reduced birthweights and birth lengths associated with exposure to e-waste.
Kirsten Grant, Researcher, Health Consequences of Exposure to E-Waste, The Lancet
When you throw your electronic notebook with the household trash, those toxic materials can leak into landfills and even reach groundwater or vaporize into the air in landfill fires. Yet, apart from recycling responsibly, there is another way people can help reduce the amount of electronic waste. After recycling your old computer, instead of ordering a brand new machine, get a refurbished one. Not only will you pay much less, but youll help reduce demand for raw materials. Also, it feels great to salvage a perfectly working computer from being dismantled for scrap.eBay is a great place to look for refurbished laptops. In fact, GreenCitizen has our own eBay store, where you can find the latest line up of refurbished laptops that work like new.
Destroying A Hard Drive With A Hammer
This is the fastest and most effective method of physically destroy a hard drive. A user just needs to take a hammer in his hand and start hitting a hard drive with it. Moreover, one should be alone in a room while performing this task to avoid any accident with flying pieces of metal and glasses. Once it is break in pieces completely, collect and dispose them carefully.
How To Dispose Of Computers Spoil The Hard Disk
Imagine you need to dispose of some important paper files that you no longer need. What are your options? You can burn it . A better option is to shred it so that the contents are not comprehensible anymore. You can do the same thing with your files on the hard disk. You should not burn it, and I wont recommend you do that but sure, many prefer to physically dent the hard disk drive with a hammer! You also dont need to wipe SSDs because of TRIM.
You sure can shred the files using some software. Anti Tracks, CCleaner and Comodo System Cleaner are some programs that shred files one at a time. You can use them to shred particular files. KillDisk and DP Wiper are disk wipers in the sense that they shred all the files on a hard disk in one or more passes. The major difference is that you need not to select each file separately.
You May Like: Can You Connect Airpods To Hp Laptop
Sanitizing To Prevent Data Discovery
No matter how much you try to protect your mobile devices there are tools readily available to extract the viable information from them if the attacker has the time and resources to do so. With this as the case, how do you really know if your PII will even be safe if it falls into the wrong hands? There are currently only three approved methods for device sanitation, wiping, degaussing and destruction. NIST Publication 800-88 outlines these three methods for sanitation that will effectively eliminate the recovery of data from a device even through a laboratory attack.
While a full wipe truly changes the layer of data it is only as effective as the number of times the hard drive has been wiped clean, re-written and then wiped again. It is typically done a minimum of three times but realistically it will need to run through at least 15 cycles of wiping and rewriting before it is truly unrecoverable. Three popular and free software available for data destruction include:
Before trading in or disposing of your device, test to make sure that the wipe was successful by trying to access your media through your device. Also note that if the wipe has not gone through enough cycles then it can still leave your device open to criminals utilizing carving methods for data extraction.
DISCLAIMER:this method is also extremely fun!
When Pii Becomes A Problem
People store their PII onto their devices in order to make it more accessible. However, the premise of making such private data easy for the individual to find also makes it easy for the criminal to find, even if it is deleted. People often forget what they dont see, which is why when data is seemingly deleted from a device and becomes invisible to an untrained eye the person thinks it truly is gone. In reality though, deleting data doesnt mean its really gone it just means its hidden from the average Joe.
Tech savvy criminals understand this common train of human thought and they know how to uncover the unseen value in abandoned devices. Just as criminals breach organizations such as TJ Maxx and Citibank, put skimming devices on ATMs or steal your wallet when you turn a blind eye, picking up a discarded device can hold mounds of financial gain to the properly trained individual. All the information listed above can paint a detailed picture of a persons life from their physical health to their banking preferences, making the possibilities for executing a complete takeover of a persons identity endless.
You May Like: Connecting A Laptop To A Printer
Yes You Should Recycle Your Old Camera
If you’re still holding onto camera relics from the early 2000s, we’ve got a few places that will take them off your hands.
Best Buy and Home Depot accept cameras and camcorders. Lowe’s also takes cameras. And, of course, Earth911 and Call2Recycle are options for the breadth of your used electronics.
Large TVs may seem like a pain to donate. But Best Buy, for example, lets you drop off your TVs at retail locations to be recycled for just $30.
Things You Should Do To Securely Dispose Of Computers
The need for good security practices doesn’t go away just because a system has outlived its usefulness. These tips will help ensure that decommissioned equipment doesn’t pose a threat.
Even in the best of times, computers are rotated out of use and we have to figure out how we should dispose of them. In a recession economy, people get laid off, systems running software with high licensing costs are decommissioned, and system breakdowns lead to consolidation of functionality rather than repairs. This may increase the rate at which we dispose of computer equipment — and it can increase the expose us to security threats if we aren’t careful about how we do it. Take the following list of tips for secure equipment disposal to heart.
Note: This article originally appeared as an entry in our IT Security blog. It is also available as a .
Don’t Miss: How To Setup My Hp Printer To My Laptop
How To Safely Dispose Of Your Pc
The hard drive is a record of all the data on your computer. Over a lifetime of use, you will have input a lots of confidential information credit card numbers, bank accounts, and website log-ins and passwords. This date must be destroyed before you sell or give away the PC in order to prevent criminals making use of it.
This personal and private information can remain on the hard drive even if it has been “erased” or reformatted. To ensure its complete removal you need to destroy the magnetic platter inside the hard drive.
Notice Regarding Personal Data
Your identity and other personal information can be stolen from a computer, cell phone, or other data storage devices. Before recycling your electronics, protect yourself from identity theft by removing personal data and your files. For information on how to remove data, check with the manufacturer, a computer retailer or search the web.
Hennepin County is not responsible for any data that is left on electronic devices.
Also Check: How To Clean Hp Laptop
How Are Computers Recycled
Recycling old computers, laptops, and other personal electronic devices involves breaking the items down and reusing their recyclable materials, such as metals, plastics, and electrical components, to create new, valuable products.
Computers are made from a variety of valuable sources, such as:
Many of these materials can be melted down and reused over and over again without altering their properties. To ensure these items get properly recycled and dont end up in the landfill, youll need to take these items directly to the recycling facility.
S To Preparing For Disposal And Securely Wiping Your Computer
Disclaimer: the procedure described here is meant for an ordinary home user whose data doesn’t really interest anyoneother than small-time crooks. If your hard disk has really valuable data, whether commercial or governmental, please consult yourorganisation’s security policies for proper disposal of your hard disks and computer. Also, this guide does not deal with solid statedisks which seems to be coming into vogue. I have no idea how to securely dispose those.
You May Like: How To Setup My Hp Printer To My Laptop
How To Wipe Your Devices Before Disposing Of Or Selling Them
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times—and that’s just here at How-To Geek. Read more…
Justin Duino is the Managing Editor at How-To Geek. He has spent the last decade writing about Android, smartphones, and other mobile technology. In addition to his written work, he has also been a regular guest commentator on CBS News and BBC World News and Radio to discuss current events in the technology industry. Read more…
Be sure to wipe your storage drives, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and anything that potentially contained sensitive files before getting rid of it. Whether youre disposing of it, selling it, or giving it away, you should securely erase your data first.
This is necessary because its possible to recover deleted files from many types of drives. Data isnt always immediately removed from an underlying drive if you delete it in the normal way.
Deauthorize Software And Programs
Computer applications such as iTunes, Adobe Creative, and Office365 limit the number of registered users and devices associated with a valid subscription. Therefore, ensure to deauthorize your accounts and other services from your old laptop before uninstalling them. Although some apps such as Adobe allow the installation on two registered devices, theres no point in retaining your account in an old laptop that youll eventually recycle.
To deactivate the Adobe app from your old laptop, follow these steps:
Read Also: Msi Change Keyboard Lights
Congratulations You Have Disposed Of Your Laptop Securely
Give yourself a pat on the back. Not only you did not just carelessly throw your computer in the bin, but you also managed to either recoup some of the money you spent by remarketing it or reselling it, or you helped a person in need through a generous donation.
Getting rid of a laptop is not a challenging or time-consuming task, but it has to be taken seriously in order to rule out environmental, safety or financial concerns. This advice is valid whether youre getting rid of a desktop, laptop, tablet or electronic device in general.
Providing secure, straightforward asset recycling solutions to organisations such as
Clean And Reset Your Hard Drive
Cleaning/wiping all your data isnt just dragging them to the Recycle Bin or Trash. Before recycling your old laptop, make sure you have completely erased or wiped off all its hard drive permanently. To make sure that no sensitive data can be compromised by thieves, here are some of the recommendations:
- Erase All Files
As mentioned, deleting them from the Trash or Recycle Bin isnt enough. Your files are deleted from the structure. However, they can still be retrieved from the hard drive until they are entirely wiped off.
- Uninstall and Unlink All Apps
Most apps automatically sync with cloud storage platforms. It is a great advantage in theres something unexpected happens to your laptop. However, you cant retain these apps from your computer, especially if it connects to your account.
Clear Browser Cache/History
Its not just about your browser history. Most of us automatically save passwords, data, and other credentials on our web browsers to access our online accounts quicker and more conveniently.
Restore To Factory Settings
Once youve completed the processes, restore your old laptop to its default factory settings. You can also wipe all data using a hard drive disk cleaner, overwriting the deleted files. Some apps will overwrite your old data once, but some programs overwrite multiple times for a more secure cleanup. Alternatively, you can erase the hard disk and current OS and reinstall using the installation disk, if available.
Don’t Miss: Spectrum U On Laptop
How Can I Learn More
Each week on the Intego Mac Podcast, Integos Mac security experts discuss the latest Apple news, security and privacy stories, and offer practical advice on getting the most out of your Apple devices. Be sure to follow the podcast to make sure you dont miss any episodes.
We discussed securely disposing of hard drives and more in episode 71 of the Intego Mac Podcast.
You can also subscribe to our e-mail newsletter and keep an eye here on Mac Security Blog for the latest Apple security and privacy news. And dont forget to follow Intego on your favorite social media channels: , , , and .
All Those Dead Batteries
There are a couple ways you can properly dispose of the single-use and rechargeable batteries that are common in flashlights, toys and other household electronics.
You could also check out Earth911, a website that helps you find the nearest recycling location based on the battery type you need to dispose of . can also help you find places to recycle your batteries.
E-waste can have a second life after professional recyclers extract copper and other valuable materials.
Recommended Reading: How To Change Keyboard Color On Msi Laptop
How To Wipe A Computer Before Recycling It
Before you wipe anything, you should make sure to save any important data on a backup drive. External hard drives, USB jump drives, or even cloud storage will work, but you can always port it over to your new computer too. Thankfully, most modern computers make this fairly easy its a lot of cutting and pasting, or sliding files into folders.
To wipe the computer, you need to delete all the data that remains on the hard drive. This is not as simple as dragging all files to the recycle bin and deleting cookies, however, as several data recovery programs exist that can retrieve deleted data. Many can be found here.
The first step in this process is to manually delete files from the system. Shredding programs like File Shredder can overwrite the files and clean up the drive. It is recommended that files are shredded and overwritten several times to make them harder to retrieve. Data can be found on several drives within the machine, so each drive must be prepared in a different way.
Once you have completed the sometimes lengthy process of moving, deleting, and shredding your files, the next step is to format the computer. This means you restore the computer to factory settings. The process for doing this is different for a Windows PC, a Mac, and a Chromebook, of course, but all have fairly easy steps, even if you’re a novice.
Securely Dispose Of Your Laptop And Its Parts
Even when you rule out any possible harm related to your data, there are still some aspects for you to take care of before you can part ways with your laptop. The machines contain toxic and dangerous substances such as arsenic, mercury, and lead therefore, it is not environmentally safe to dispose of your computer by just throwing it in a bin.
Among the most valid alternatives, to dispose of your laptop securely, you should:
Recommended Reading: How To Turn On Wifi On Dell Laptop