It can be tempting to just throw it away, but that can actually pose a serious risk. When technology passes over into obsolescence, or simply stops working, it tends to just accumulate.
When technology passes over into obsolescence, or simply stops working, it tends to just accumulate. We all have seen (or maybe even contributed to) closets full of outdated printers, chunky laptops, and desktops built like compact cars.
This tech may seem like all plastic and glass, but deeper inside it actually houses toxic materials. Arsenic, lead, cadmium, mercury, and chromium are all carcinogenic (potentially cancer-causing), and don’t break down easily. Suddenly it becomes clearer why they can’t just be dumped in a landfill, leaching into our ecosystem.
On the other side of the equation, there are also precious metals interwoven with electronic components. These should be recovered, recycled, and reused, lowering catastrophic levels of e-waste.
Server rooms can easily become massive junk drawers, housing excessive clutter that has accumulated over the years as you add to or update your network.
Clearing out the old offers a few key, practical benefits:
It’s a danger to the environment, but it also can be a real danger to your own privacy and data.
Based in Maryland and Washington, D.C., we deal extensively with data protection, security, and disaster recovery. We also help our clients with technology recycling and determining what to keep, what to dispose of, and how to properly dispose of it.
We know firsthand that there are people who are all too willing to mine information from old technology, accessing critical data that you might not even realize was still available. It’s much like throwing away paper bills or bank statements: people go through the trash to access account numbers all the time, making shredding a safer alternative.
Here’s a quick snapshot of the process.
But first, before any of this occurs, be sure to wipe your data and remove any memory or SIM cards. Or, if there’s no external memory card, you can plug it into your computer to wipe anything stored internally.
Just to reiterate, it’s not enough to delete your files. The system must be “wiped,” meaning erased completely (or have the storage drive removed and destroyed).
Restoring the device to original factory settings will also wipe the slate clean, removing personal information and saved files. You should be able to find specific steps for how to do this in your user manual, or by a simple search online.
While there are techie ways to wipe your data, data destruction gets a little more physical.
This is literal destruction. In fact, you can pay to have your hard drive shredded, ensuring that nothing can ever be recovered. This is ideal for businesses or organizations that require a higher level of security and protection.
As we mentioned above, one option is to recycle. There are a number of places to safely do this here in Maryland and the DC area.
Check out these resources as a good starting point. Each take different types of electronics and different quantities at a time (depending on how much you have to get rid of).
Another alternative is to donate your old electronics, especially if you know it still has life left in it but just doesn’t suit your needs anymore. Here are a few resources.
No matter which you choose, it’s nice to know that your electronics are going to good use and being managed responsibly.
Feel free to contact us at Teltek.
We’ve served businesses and organizations in the MD and DC area since 1996, and would be happy to lend a hand. We’ll walk through your server room and office with you, helping you decide what should go, what can stay, and how to make the most of your old equipment.