If you’re like many families who regularly upgrade your electronic devices — from phones to tablets — you may have a drawer or old shoebox filled with obsolete devices you no longer know what to do with. Although there are electronics recycling services available at electronics stores, local trash facilities, and even mall kiosks, you may be reluctant to turn over possession of your electronic devices without knowing exactly what information is contained inside. What are your options if you’d like to get rid of old electronic devices but aren’t sure what personal data could be gleaned from them? Read on to learn more about securely recycling your old electronic devices. How can you ensure you’ve erased any personal data from your electronic devices? While you may have heard that holding your phone up to a strong magnet is an easy way to “wipe” the hard drive clean, this method isn’t foolproof for every phone. Devices that still have a working battery or power cord and are able to be powered on are best erased through an encryption process that will protect everything from browsing data to SMS messages from being retrieved through a recovery program. The specifics of encrypting your specific device can usually be gleaned through an online instructional video, while some manufacturers have detailed information on their websites. If you no longer have your phone’s power cord or it doesn’t function well enough to allow you to encrypt any data on it, your most secure option is to remove and destroy the SIM card, then destroy the phone. Since most electronics recycling centers aren’t eager to take a demolished hunk of metal and plastic in lieu of a recognizable cell phone, you may simply want to select a recycling facility that can destroy the device in front of you so you’ll be able to rest assured none of your data has fallen into the wrong hands. What are your best recycling options? In most areas, there will be several available options at your disposal — recycling through an electronics store, through a metal recycling or scrap metal processing plant, or by putting your phone into a freestanding kiosk in exchange for cash. While the latter option is often the most convenient for those who have been able to encrypt the data on the phone they’re recycling, it’s generally best for those with non-operable cell phones to take these phones to a metal recycling plant that can crush them before your very...read more
After we made a commitment to focus on the environment as a family, we decided that it might make sense to start recycling. We focused carefully on sorting our plastic, metal, and paper, and we were able to completely overhaul how much trash we threw away. Within a few days, we were able to see a reduction in our amount of normal garbage accumulation, and an increase in the amount of materials we were sending in for recycling. It was great to teach our kids what they needed to know to protect the environment. This blog is all about learning how to recycle more effectively.