Replacing your out-of-date laptops? Handing your unwanted devices off for professional laptop recycling guarantees that you are following best practices for data privacy, regulatory compliance, and environmental sustainability.
But while it’s tempting to simply throw your unwanted devices in the recycling bin, there is an ideal process that you should follow before handing over your old laptops to e-waste recyclers. For best results, you’ll first need to backup your data, wipe out your information, and find an electronic recycling company that you can trust.
Once this process is complete, e-waste recyclers can proceed with the decommissioning process. So if you’re ready to send your device for laptop recycling, the tips below will help you get started.
1. Create Backups of All Data
Ideally, you already backup relevant data regularly. Whether that’s actually the case or not, it is crucial to ensure that you create a final, definitive backup that encompasses all of the files and data on your laptop before proceeding with the recycling process.
If you already have access to your new laptop or computer, it’s a good idea to transfer information to your new device. If you are upgrading to a similar laptop from the same brand, your operating system manufacturer may have articles that detail this process and streamline the backup process.
There are also many other options to create and maintain data backups, such as with an external hard drive, USB device, or a cloud drive. The most popular cloud drives include options like Google Drive and DropBox. To err on the side of caution, some people choose to back up their information with both cloud storage and a physical hard drive.
When determining what data should be stored and what can be deleted, it’s usually better to backup everything, just in case. Otherwise, in a few weeks or months, you may realize you still need a file that wasn’t saved — but by that point, there will be no way to recover it.
2. Deauthorize Accounts and Delete Data
Most companies have registered programs installed on their laptops, ranging from popular basics like iTunes and Microsoft Office to industry-specific software. When it’s time to recycle your laptop, you should deactivate or deauthorize all licensed programs. Not only will this help protect login information, but programs that require registration commonly limit the number of devices you can access with one license. Deactivating the account on your laptop will clear the way to reinstall it on another device.
You should also delete your browsing history and uninstall any programs that contain personal information, such as your name, address, phone number, or banking information. The same goes for any software tools that may contain sensitive business data, whether that includes customer profiles, research and development documents, or internal communications, to name a few.
3. Wipe the Hard Drive
In addition to removing programs that store data, you should also delete individual files from your device before sending it for laptop recycling. This may include spreadsheets, images, schematics, text documents, presentations, or any number of other data files. The simplest way to clear your hard drive is by using software that eradicates all data from the disk.
Because it can be difficult to be sure that all sensitive information has been removed from your computer, it is highly recommended that you choose a recycling partner that also offers ITAD services. ITAD — which stands for IT asset disposition — entails a thorough and extensive data destruction process. So even if you’ve missed important information in your own computer clean-out, your recycling partners can ensure the complete erasure of any data on your laptop or hard drive. As a result, you won’t need to be concerned about the devastating effects of a data breach, which are now costing $4.24 million dollars on average, not to mention the damage to your reputation and public trust.
4. Detach External Accessories
Many people use external webcams, keyboards, and mice to enhance their laptop’s performance. Since you’re interested in upgrading your laptop, it may also be a good time to invest in improved electronic accessories. But if they are still functioning well, check whether they will be compatible with your new device and worth keeping for future use.
If you decide that the accessories are no longer useful, consider sending them for e-waste recycling, as well. Many electronic waste recycling companies can process much more than laptops or desktop computers. In addition to many computer accessories, recyclers may be able to process equipment such as the following:
- Networking equipment, which includes routers, switches, and servers.
- Printers like fax machines, desktop printers, scanners, and fax machines.
- Mobile devices such as tablets, music listening devices, cell phones, and e-readers.
- Audio and video equipment, including cameras, cable boxes, projectors, and stereo systems.
If you’re unsure about which items are eligible for e-waste recycling, consult your recycling partners for more information and specific guidelines on what they can accept.
5. Choose a Reliable E-Waste Recycling Partner
Once you’ve completed this process, you’re ready to choose an electronic waste recycling company that will meet your needs in an environmentally responsible way while protecting your data. The first way to determine whether an e-waste recycling company is reliable is by checking their certifications. The EPA endorses the e-Stewards certification and the R2 certification, so these are primary qualifications that you should keep an eye out for.
And while we highly recommend that you take the initiative to erase any sensitive information and wipe your hard drive, choosing electronic waste recyclers that offer ITAD services will further ensure that any information stored within your electronic devices is completely eradicated. So if data privacy is a priority, add ITAD to your list of prerequisites when selecting a recycling partner.
Safe and Secure Laptop Recycling with FAMCe
To properly protect yourself, your business, and the environment, don’t overlook e-waste recycling. If you’re ready to dispose of your electronics safely and ethically, enlist the help of First America Metal Corp. (FAMCe). Our organization has over 30 years of experience assisting businesses with recycling and repurposing outdated devices of all types, including laptops.
At FAMCe, we deliver environmentally sustainable solutions for businesses who prefer to dispose of their old devices in a better way. Our high level of expertise and exceptional customer service have built our reputation as the leading company for your recycling needs.
Want to recycle your old devices with confidence? Contact FAMCe today for e-waste disposal that’s ethical and secure.