Did you know that commercial businesses produce nearly 70% of all waste in Wake County, NC, and surrounding counties? Much of this is commercial e-waste—computers, servers, monitors, keyboards, mice, mobile phones, and other types of hardware.

In effort to encourage businesses to properly recycle e-waste, the State of North Carolina and counties are considering it to be hazardous waste material—All e-waste is hazardous.

How to Prepare Your Computer Equipment for Recycling

Mobile Phones  

Back up everything first. Under “Settings” put these devices back to “factory default.” Then consider donating your mobile phone to a local homeless shelter.  Most wireless phone companies can do this for you. In fact, many have recycling bins when you walk in the door. Be sure to first remove the battery and put it in the battery bin. Then put your phone in the cell phone bin.  Or you can go online and donate your phone to a needy soldier at https://www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com  Just follow the instructions on the website.

Computers and Tablets

When recycling your computer or tablet, the biggest concern is the hard drive.  This is the part of the computer that houses all of your data.  To properly dispose of a hard drive, back up your data, and erase the hard drive with a computer software program that will not only remove the data, but write over it.  (Or, bring your hard drive to RCOR. We’ll do all of this for you. Plus, we’ll smash the hard drive with a sledge hammer to ensure it’s completely destroyed, and the data’s not recoverable.)  We’ll then take it to a responsible recycling company. *  Remember to do the same with scanners, mice, and everything electronic.

Remove any part of the computer that has data stored in it prior to disposal.  Again, always back up your data first. Then, take it to a responsible recycling center. You can find one online in a location close to your business.  If you can’t find one in your area, try going to Best Buy or Staples.  Most of these chains will provide recycling for your e-waste.

What is a responsible recycler?

They will take the equipment and break it down into its primary components like: plastic, steel, aluminum, mercury and other elements. Then they will sell off each element to make back the cost of doing this.

Not everyone does this, however.  Irresponsible companies will put the equipment on a slow-moving cargo container where they will send it to a country like Ethiopia.  Here they will put it in a large pile of electronic waste in the middle of the desert, or even in a city.  The materials degrade and go into the underlying aquafers, polluting drinking water.  Or children in the cities may even play among these hazardous materials. This causes a great deal of harm.

What If This Happened to You?

No matter how small your company, it’s important to follow proper recycling rules. Here’s another reason why. This is a true story:

One of our clients (a healthcare provider) thought they had done their due diligence in finding a responsible recycler.  They took their old computer there to dispose of it.  But, instead of doing so, this “responsible recycler” decided to give the computer to a company across the street that needed a computer.  This company sent it home with one of their employees to tinker with to see if he could get it to work.  That employee turned it on and found that it contained patient data. He called our client and told them that unless they paid a ransom of several thousand dollars, that he would release the information for sale, and also tell the local newspapers and television stations that they had disposed of the computer without removing the patient data.

Our client contacted us for help. We called our attorneys to ensure we knew what should be done, and we called up the “criminal.” He did nothing. So, we called his supervisor that told him what his employee had done.  They ended up giving us the computer and we properly disposed of it, and the hard drive.

The moral of the story—Properly remove your private data from any device you’re disposing.

What Is Green IT?

Simple—a zero-impact on the environment. Plus, there are other things that you can do to offset harmful effects of disposing your hardware.  Contact terrapass. They will contribute to the environment for everything you do to ensure a zero-impact on the environment when disposing of your technology.  They do this with solar panels, wind turbines, and by planting trees and more—equal to the amount that you give to offset the environmental impact of what you do (your technology).  When you do, terrapass, will allow you to place their logo on your company website, or other marketing materials to show your clients how much you care about the environment.

Something RCOR does is donate money to companies like this, equivalent to the IT energy expenditure of all of our clients.  It’s a legacy we want to leave. 

Remember:

There is no such thing as “away.” When we throw anything away, it must go somewhere.

*Go online and check out the hardware recycling centers in your area.  If you live in the Raleigh-Durham area, the following are responsible recycling centers you can use:

Wake County Household Hazardous Waste Collection
9037 Deponie Drive
Raleigh, NC 27614
Phone: 919-856-7400

Solid Waste Convenience Center—Eubanks Road
1514 Eubanks Road
Chapel Hill, NC 27516
Phone: 919-968-2788

Durham County Household Hazardous Waste Facility
2115 E. Club Blvd.
Durham, NC  27704
Phone: 919-560-4186

Guilford County Household Hazardous Waste Center
2750 Patterson Street
Greensboro, NC  27407
Phone: 336-373-2489

We Can Help.

If you ever need assistance disposing your computer hardware, contact RCOR Technologies.  (919) 313-9355 or email us at: tim@rcor.com