Recycling Computers: How to Safely Dispose Of Your Electronic Graveyard

Recycling Computers

We love Miami! You can find just about anything here, including places for recycling computers. As a provider of managed IT services and cyber security, Internos Group often advises Miami area businesses on safe computer disposal.  Here are some tips!

You walk into your office where people are working diligently surrounded by old computers, phones, fax machines, copiers etc. Or maybe you found an extra room in the back of your office to stack all those items.

No need. You happen to work in a very electronically savvy city, Miami, where there are a plethora of places to dump — correction — recycle  those things and make room in your office for other uses.

What you need to do is recycle, but before you do,  MAKE SURE YOU ARE RECYCLING JUST THE HARDWARE  and not all those bits and bytes of data which have to do with your company!

Whatever you do, do NOT just throw them into the trash or donate them to an organization. They need to be sanitized first.  A study was done by MIT students on how cyber criminals get hold of those discarded unsanitized machines and then use the data they garner for nefarious purposes. 

What Is Computer or Device Sanitization?

When a computer is sanitized, all the data is purged. This is not a simple delete function, but a scrubbing of all places data is stored to ensure complete destruction. The sanitization is usually best done by a professional managed service provider (MSP), such as Internos, because what you don’t see, a pro will.

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If you don’t have an MSP to sanitize your devices, you can use recycling vendors or other specialized vendors. Just make sure they will provide certificates of sanitization. That puts the liability for damages on the vendor, if or when you discover the data  from those discarded devices fallen into the wrong hands. Recycling vendors that offer this service are sometimes called “e-cyclers.”

Recycling Old Computers and Other Electronics 

Once your computers or other electronic devices are sanitized, you could get rid of them — but not into the trash where they will end up in a landfill. That would be a waste of valuable resources. Consider these  stats from the EPA:

  • Recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 US homes in a year.
  • For every million cell phones recycled, the following can be recovered:
    • 35 thousand pounds of copper
    • 772 pounds of silver
    • 75 pounds of gold
    • 33 pounds of palladium

Donating Old Computers and Other Electronics 

Once the sanitization is done, you can give the computers, phones, faxes – whatever – to charities (local school, library, religious organization)  or just bring them over to one of the retailers who accept these devices: Staples, Office Depot, Home Depot, Best Buy, etc. That way the valuable resources can be put to other uses and the landfill will not be the location of their leaching.  

Miami Computer Sanitization and Recycling

The Miami-Dade Recycling Center in West Perrine takes most sanitized electronic devices. You can check out their regulations at Earth911.  There are also private e-recycling vendors in Miami such as Miami Recycle Center and Miami Computer Recycling.

Disposing of computers is really not difficult but it is essential to protect your data first. And not just computers. Smartphones, tablets, internet of things (IoT) devices, advanced phone systems, drives or multi-function printers… anything that stores information and can be connected to a network should also be purged.

Even some printers which store data from prints, faxes and more, can contain rich information for any cyber criminal to cull. They too need to be wiped clean by a professional.  

If you are an Internos client, contact your account manager about sanitizing old computers, smartphones, printers, and more before you visit a recycling location. Not a client? Contact us or book a meeting, virtual or in person.

The Internos Noodler

The Internos Noodler shares our team's thoughts on Internos happenings, industry news and more. As your Miami IT Support team, our job is to keep you up to date on technology developments that impact your business.

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