Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Reader Says...

After reading the article about what can happen to your e-waste, a reader wonders how to properly dispose of it.

Some suggestions are:

1. If you are recycling your own computer, remove the hard drive and take a hammer to it. Think of a cause, invite friends over, offer them a "whack" at your hard drive for $1.00 or so; and, donate the proceeds to charity.

2. If the equipment you are trying to dispose of is still truly useful, consider donation. Electronics labs at schools are often happy to accept old equipment; but, make sure it is wanted first. Inquire about their procedure for dealing with your hard drive.

3. Computers and cell phones that are still in good working order can sometimes be donated to programs which refurbish them and pass them on to people in need. There are programs for victims of domestic violence; women in danger; people in third world countries; and, so many others. Before donating to such a program, make sure that they are actually passing on working electronics, not just dumping e-waste. Again, do your due diligence and investigate.

4. Check with the store and/or company you bought your computer from. Many them will take your old computer back for either refurbishment for a social program or disposal. Again, check their veracity.

5. Do your homework. Check the Internet to find responsible recyclers who don’t sell their "scrap" e-waste. The International Association of Electronics Recyclers has a useful link for this.

6. Check with environmental groups for their "insider" views on this.

7. A number of communities have recycling programs, some of which deal specifically with e-waste. Check to see if your community has such a program.

8. Check with the governmental agency in your area that deals with the environment. They may have information and/or resources that will help you.

Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done to safeguard your information in other people's computers. Ask the companies you have to give personal information to how they dispose of the hard drives on their computers when the computers are replaced. If the answer is not satisfactory, check out similar companies.

Identity theft is becoming so rampant nowaday that are two methods of protecting that I highly recommend.

1. Subscribe to a service like "Life Lock" in the USA. It's a service that guarantees no one can steal your identity; or, they will cover your costs to $1m US.

2. Take out Identity Theft protection on your home owner's insurance.

1 comment:

kathi said...

Good stuff - thanks!! Love #1!

Have you seen this?