Deciding what to do with old tech can be a bit of a chore if you don’t know what you can do. Just throwing it out is wasteful, and in some areas of the world unlawful. Computers, phones, and other similar devices contain trace elements of toxic materials. No landfill can truly be claimed as an ecological joy, but significant toxins need to be controlled and kept out of the environment whenever possible. Materials like beryllium, lead, mercury, and cadmium. Additionally, old devices still have memory that holds onto personal information. If you used it while this was the new device, then the data is still viable and dangerous. Disposing of these devices needs to be done in a safe and environmentally-friendly manner.
A quick search of your area either in the phone book or online should find retailers or sites that e-cycle your electronics. A good site will not pick and choose, as either the devices have value for their components, refurbished as cheaper items to sell, or outright destroy ethically. Don’t choose a place that only accepts certain items. Other points to be aware of are a no-landfill and a no-overseas policy. This keeps the materials from being shipped off somewhere to be disposed of using ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality. Companies should be more than ready to accept the responsibility of handling the e-waste without passing such off to a more convenient option.
Once you have found a location, be ready to either ask for or employ your own DoD scale overwrite program. This uses a process to overwrite random bits of information with junk code and ensure the data is unrecoverable. Typically these require a minimum of three passes over your entire hard drive just to be sure your information is safe. Once that is done, several options exist to keep the electronics from being simply added to a landfill. With a rewrite or reformatting of the safe drive, it is possible to make it able to resell as a cheap alternative for those that need a new system. Some of the components can be reused in other systems to put a better system together, or the materials might even be reclaimed for other uses. A robust company can have multiple options for your old tech, breathing new life into both their industry. In e-cycling, one man’s trash can easily be another’s treasure. A far better fate than being in a landfill.