We’ve all seen at sometime or another a computer, a monitor and / or a printer sitting at the side of the road for the taking or sitting next to the trash for the refuse collector to pickup. Well believe it or not this is not a good practice, in fact doing so may violate NYS Conservation Laws. Computers are one of the “biggest sources of hazardous waste in the country”. They contain “traces of mercury, cadmium, fire retardant and up to five pounds of lead” Last year alone, more than 63 million computers in the United States were replaced by faster, better and most likely cheaper systems. So where does it all go?
In addition the NYSDEC has a list of Dismantlers and Recyclers of Used Electronics in New York State; but I’m not sure how up to date it is. Go to: http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dshm/hzwstman/dismantl.htm
Lastly, you may want to contact your local municipal solid waste company to see if they have a Household Computer and TV Recycling program.
You may want to contact your local school district to verify if they accept computer donations for needy students. However, understand that the intended donated computer must be in working order and meet other certain requirements. To insure this they may first refer you to a local computer services company that specializes in this.
Also, always remove your “personal information” from the computer that you are recycling or donating. Some individuals believe that simply deleting the files (even bypassing the Recycle Bin) is sufficient. IT IS NOT! Until overwritten, they can be retrieved by any unscrupulous party. Reformatting does absolutely nothing for removing data from a drive; it simply wipes the File Allocation Table clean so there is no mapping to the stored data. The data is still there in all its glory for anyone to see.
There are programs out there that will wipe hard drives clean such as Norton Utilities or Webroot’s Window Washer. You may also find free programs on the internet that can achieve the same result. However, be very careful when using these programs because once you use them the information on the drive is gone and if you forgot to backup a file you wanted it’s basically unrecoverable.
Henning Computer Services does offer secure recycling for most electronic equipment free of charge! Please call in advance to set up a time to have your electronics recycled through us or to check what items we accept.