I have a stack of old computers and some office equipment that I don’t need anymore. I’d like to get rid of them, but what’s a safe way to go about it?
Anonymous, Via the Internet
These days, with everyone from major corporations to local communities emphasizing “green” living, it’s become a lot easier to eliminate techno-clutter and do something good for the environment—and your pockets.
But before you throw out your old PCs and phones, you should first ensure that there is no sensitive data on hard drives or in your phone’s memory.
For the most part, the only effective way to make sure that old data does not come back to haunt you is to physically destroy the drive—yes, I mean take a hammer to it. You can also use disk sanitizing or degaussing (demagnetization) programs.
For recycling hardware such as CPUs, monitors, and cell phones, check out
a company called MyBoneYard.com (www.myboneyard.com). The best part? Paid postage for qualified devices, and a “reward” that is posted on a prepaid MyBoneYard Visa card. At press time, a recycled BlackBerry Pearl with no
screen or water damage was good for a $60 reward.
Larger companies such as Best Buy and Office Depot also have recycling programs for everything from toner cartridges to equipment. Further, PC makers such as Dell and HP also offer recycling programs.