What to Do Before Recycling Old Electronics


In 2019, the world produced nearly 54 million metric tons of e-waste. Of that e-waste, only about 17% was recycled. This e-waste sits in landfills and can release harmful chemicals that pollute the environment.

So, if you want to get rid of the pile of old electronics in your home in an eco-friendly way, recycling is the way to go. But, since these old electronic devices often store personal information, it’s essential to take care of that data before recycling them.

How can you protect your information from being stolen from your recycled electronics? Read on to discover what you need to do before recycling electronics.

Backup Your Information

Of course, your old devices may have important information or files you want to keep. So take the time to sort through the files on your old devices to determine which ones to save. Then save your information to a cloud storage system or on an external hard drive or USB.

Once you have all your data backed up, it’s now safe to delete files and do a factory reset on your device.

Delete Data off Your Device

Old computers and phones can store sensitive information like your address, bank information, and social security number. It’s important to delete your data before you get rid of electronics to prevent your data from being accessed by others.

The website www.e-wasteonline.com recommends a couple of ways to wipe data from your devices.

First, you can simply delete all your files, but even deleting them leaves information traces behind. So, you’ll want to do a data wipe to remove all traces. A data wipe overwrites the data at its source to destroy it.

If you want to ensure your data is destroyed, you can do multiple data wipes. You can also use a high-powered magnet on computers to make the hard drive inoperable.

Determine Where to Take Your Device

Not all waste or recycling locations are equipped to deal with e-waste properly. You can do a Google search to find recyclers near you. Some communities also have programs to help you recycle your old electronics.

Many manufacturers or tech businesses have buyback and recycling programs. You can also donate your old electronics to charities or nonprofits for others to use.

Each of these options makes it easy to recycle your old devices and helps keep e-waste out of landfills.

When in Doubt, Delete Data the Old Fashion Way

Smashing your old electronics is the shredding of the electronics world. Destroying the components of your old electronics will prevent anyone from using the device. But, to be sure your information is gone, you must completely physically destroy them.

You can’t donate or refurbish destroyed devices, which makes them harder to recycle. But, you can still find places to recycle destroyed devices safely.

Recycle Your Old Electronics Responsibly

Recycling old electronics helps you do your part to keep harmful chemicals out of the environment. But, you have to be mindful of the information stored on those devices before you turn them over to a recycler. So, be sure to delete, and data wipe your devices to protect your personal information.

Are you looking for more tech tips and guides? Check out the technology section of our website for more articles like this one.