PC, smartphone & tablet disposal
Wipe data on your old phone / tablet before you
donate, resell or recycle it.
Your smartphone or tablet contains personal data you
want to keep private when you dispose your old phone. To protect your privacy,
completely erase data off of your phone and reset the phone to its initial
factory settings. Now having wiped your old device, you are free to donate,
resell, recycle or otherwise properly dispose of your phone / tablet.
Disposing of your phone / tablet:
You can't just throw an old cell phone / tablet in the garbage. The Toxic chemicals
contained in it's batteries, and other parts can escape from the phone while it
is in a landfill, and they can eventually leak into the groundwater, thereby
poisoning the water of the surrounding area. Also, in many cases, city disposal
workers have been burned, blinded, and poisoned while trying to crush garbage
that contained ill disposed of electronics, such as cell phones.
- There are special garbage bins for old cell phones / tablets that you can find in
your local tech shop.
- Consider donating your phone / tablet to a charity that recycles old cell phones,
like Cell Phones for Soldiers, which recycles old cell phones, and uses the
money to buy phone cards for soldiers to call their families.
- If your cell phone / tablet is still functioning, and you just don't want it
anymore, you can give it to a friend who doesn't have a phone, to save them
Computers often hold all kinds of personal and financial information. If
you're getting rid of your old computer, there are things to do before you log
off for the last time so your hard drive doesn't become a 21st century treasure
chest for identity theives.
files on an external storage device - for example, a USB drive, a CDRom, or
an external hard drive - or transfer them to a new computer.
"Wipe" your hard drive clean -
use software available both online and in stores where computers are sold.
They're generally inexpensive; some are available on the Internet for free.
If your old computer contains
sensitive information that would be valuable to an identity thief, consider
using a program that overwrites or wipes the hard drive many times. Or,
remove the hard drive, and physically destroy it.
- If you use your computer for
business purposes, check with your employer about how to manage
business-related information on your computer. The law requires businesses
to follow data security and disposal requirements for certain information
that's related to customers.
Once you have a "clean" computer, consider recycling, donating, or reselling it
- and keep the environment in mind when disposing of your computer.
If you want to get rid of your old computer, options include recycling,
reselling, and donating. But before you log off for the last time, there are
important things to do to prepare it for disposal.
Computers often hold personal and financial information, including passwords,
account numbers, license keys or registration numbers for software programs,
addresses and phone numbers, medical and prescription information, tax returns,
and other personal documents. Before getting rid of your old computer, it's a
good idea to use software to "wipe" the hard drive clean. If you don't, consider
your old hard drive a 21st century treasure chest for identity thieves and
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency,
says you can deter identity theft and information piracy by taking a few
Understanding Hard Drives
A computer's hard drive stores data, and maintains an index of files. When you
save a file, especially a large one, it is scattered around the hard drive in
bits and pieces. Files also are automatically created by browsers and operating
systems. When you open a file, the hard drive checks the index, then gathers the
bits and pieces and reconstructs them.
When you delete a file, the links between the index and the file disappear,
signaling to your system that the file isn't needed any longer and that hard
drive space can be overwritten. But the bits and pieces of the deleted file stay
on your computer until they're overwritten, and they can be retrieved with a
data recovery program. To remove data from your hard drive permanently, it needs
to be wiped clean.
Cleaning Hard Dives
Before you clean your hard drive, save the files that are important to you on an
external storage device ? for example, a USB drive, a CDRom, or an external hard
drive ? or transfer them to a new computer. Check your owner's manual, the
manufacturer's website, or its customer support line for information on how to
save data and transfer it to a new computer.
Utility programs to wipe your hard drive are available both online and in stores
where computers are sold. They're generally inexpensive; some are available on
the Internet for free. Wipe utility programs vary in their capabilities: some
erase the entire disk, while others allow you to select files or folders to
erase. They also vary in their effectiveness: programs that overwrite or wipe
the hard drive many times are very effective; those that overwrite or wipe the
drive only once may not prevent information being wiped from being recovered
later. If your old computer contains sensitive information that would be
valuable to an identity thief, consider using a program that overwrites or wipes
the hard drive many times. Or, remove the hard drive, and physically destroy
One more thing to keep in mind: If you use your home or personal computer for
business purposes, check with your employer about how to manage information on
your computer that's business-related. The law requires businesses to follow
data security and disposal requirements for certain information that's related
Once you have a 'clean' computer, here's how to dispose of it:
Recycle it. Many
computer manufacturers have programs to recycle computers and components.
Check their websites or call their toll-free numbers for more information.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has information on electronic
product recycling programs at https://www.epa.gov/recycle.
Your local community may have a recycling program. Check with your county or
local government, including the local landfill office for regulations.
Donate it. Many organizations
collect old computers and donate them to charities.
Resell it. Some people and
organizations buy old computers. Check online.
Keep the environment in mind when
disposing of your computer. Most computer equipment contains hazardous
materials that don't belong in a landfill. For example, many computers have
heavy metals that can contaminate the earth. The EPA recommends that you
check with your local health and sanitation agencies for ways to dispose of