How to Safely Recycle Your Old Technology

 Photo credit: By George Hotelling from Canton, MI, United States (E-waste recycling in Ann Arbor) [CC BY-SA 2.0 ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0) ], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: By George Hotelling from Canton, MI, United States (E-waste recycling in Ann Arbor) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Some cities require special handling of e-waste, including New York City where it’s illegal to just throw it out in the trash. In New York City, you can be fined $100 for placing electronics, such as computers and TVs, at the curb for disposal. But, for the most part, there is still little regulation around the 9.4 million tons of electronics thrown out annually in the United States, with only about a quarter of these recycled.  

Whether your city regulates e-waste recycling or not, there are several reasons your organization should recycle your technology: 1) protect sensitive data; 2) get fair market value for used technology; and 3) protect and preserve natural resources.

Sensitive data, whether on a laptop, server or smartphone, needs to be completely erased before you resell or recycle your technology. Professionals can destroy your data and give you a Certificate of Data Destruction for added assurance.

If your organization allows employees to use personal devices for work, it’s important that your employees understand that resetting their devices to factory settings does not guarantee that the information has been completely erased from the device. It is essential to have someone knowledgeable and trusted manage the data erasing process. At Sinu, we partner with 4th Bin in New York City, a company providing sustainable technology management solutions, including recycling hardware and data destruction. 

  • You can find the closest e-waste recycling center by zip code (anywhere in the U.S.) using an interactive map developed by DirecTVDeals.com. There are also several free e-recycling services listed below.
  • Staples Recycling will securely recycle your unwanted technology at no cost— any brand, any condition, even if you purchased it somewhere else. 
  • Lower East Side Ecology Center's Gowanus E-Waste Warehouse is available for any New York resident, small business, or non-profit organization to drop off unwanted electronics at their permanent e-waste collection center. If your equipment works, they will try to reuse it; if not, it will be recycled. They guarantee data security.
  •  NYC Department of Sanitation (DoS) has several options for properly disposing of electronics. Residential buildings with 10 or more units can enroll in ecycleNYC for free electronics collection. You can make an appointment to request curbside collection of electronics in Staten Island or Northern Brooklyn. There are also several e-waste recycling drop-off locations as well as donation options listed on their website. NYC DoS does not erase data, so make sure your electronics have been wiped clean before recycling or donating them.

Having a plan for recycling your technology that includes properly disposing of electronics is not only better for the environment, but it can also mitigate the risk of having sensitive data fall into the wrong hands. The key is to plan ahead and budget according to hardware replacement cycles. A good guideline is to replace 20-30% of your company’s devices yearly to ensure no device is more than 4 years old. Sinu provides a free Business Intelligence report for our customers called My Computer Replacement Plan to help gauge where technology is in its lifecycle and you can use the Sinu Store as a guideline of what today’s devices cost to replace. (To access the Sinu Store, go to Sinu Support and click the STORE tab on the far right.)