What to do with redundant IT hardware

13.01.2020 |

disposalhardwarerecyclingWEEE regulations

What to do with redundant IT hardwareThere’s nothing like getting a fancy new gadget on Christmas day. Often there’s a wow-factor that comes with a brand new laptop, smartphone, or tablet. You can see it’s much better than your old device straight away.

Ah, yes, your old tech…what should you do with that old thing, which is probably destined for a dusty drawer upstairs? Today we’ll look at the best way of getting rid of your redundant technology safely and securely. We’ll start with your personal devices, given so many people will upgrade at this time of year. And then we’ll look at professional solutions for your business hardware.

Your two main concerns

When people upgrade their personal or business devices, knowing what’s best for the old hardware can seem a little overwhelming.

You’ll have two main concerns. Data security will perhaps come top. It’s that thought of a stranger accessing your personal information and it’s not a nice thought. It seems easier to put the thing away in a drawer and deal with it later (and you never do).

There’s also the environment to consider. You don’t want to chuck your tech in a way that will harm the planet. You may have heard about recycling and wondered how that works. You may have thought about selling your old equipment. You’ve heard you might get some cash on eBay but again there are fears about data.

Ultimately, you want to be in a position where you’ve ticked all the boxes.

Wiping your device

Here, we’ll specifically look at wiping smartphones, tablets, and computers.

First of all, backup all your files on another hard drive. These days you’ll find external drives containing huge amounts of storage for a low cost. You might also think about copying your files to the cloud, so they’re accessible wherever there’s an Internet connection.

Next you’ll need to restore your device to its factory settings. This is the simplest way of clearing everything.

To securely wipe your Android device, it’s Settings > System > Advanced > Reset options > Erase all data (factory reset).

To securely wipe iOS, it’s Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.

For a Windows computer, you’ll need to follow Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Reset this PC > Get started.

For a Mac, you’ll need to restart your computer and as soon as it boots up, hold Option+Command+R until a spinning globe appears. Choose Reinstall macOS > Continue.

That should be enough for most people. But it’s important to point out that a tech expert with the right setup and some persistence could still recover parts of your data.

So you need to consider whether you want to take that risk or go one step further. It’s unlikely anyone would go to such trouble, but if you want to make sure no data can be extracted, your best bet is to destroy the drive with a hammer or drill. Make sure you wear eye protection if you choose this option!

Protect the environment

If you’re throwing your tech away instead of passing it on to someone else, there’s a way of doing it that’s also kind to the environment.

Apple, Samsung, and Google all run recycling schemes, as do the major phone companies. There are also standalone phone recycling companies. These will often pay cash if your handset is in good condition.

What about old business tech?

Old laptops or phones that have been used in business will naturally contain far more sensitive data. And data which is regulated. So the process for their disposal is a bit more involved. It’ll need to be done professionally.

At Clearwater IT, we use a specialist firm to carry out technology recycling for both our client’s equipment and our own. We often adopt old kit and either repurpose it for charity or make sure its recycled lawfully under WEEE legislation (Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment). We receive a certificate that states the recycling has been handled correctly.

We can destroy any hard drive on site for only £5 per drive. Otherwise, all drives are wiped securely and sent back to the supplier. We receive a Certificate of Data Destruction in return.

If you would like to find out more about the ways in which we help our clients dispose of their old technology, give us a call.

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