We know that rush you get when you claw apart the wrapping from your birthday or Christmas present to find the new iPhone 7 or Sony PS4 gazing at you. You spent the last month droning on about how nice the new gadget would feel at your touch, and your spouse might have had to tear you away from the displays in the store. Now, the new gadget just smiles at you in your hands. “We’ll sell the old one online.” You repeat this line to calm yourself about the new gadget’s cost. Wait. You want to sell your device to a complete stranger? Did you know that your device stores important information about yourself, many times including names, addresses, and credit card information? That’s probably something you don’t want to share with someone you don’t know. In fact, guarding information on your gadgets extends safety for your friends too since you probably connect with other people using those devices. Remember Sony’s Playstation hack a few years ago? Millions of people had stored information on those gaming consoles, and a criminal found it irresistible. Recycling last year’s gadgets safely is a must!
Many people like to sell their old device to make a little extra cash. Selling is a type of personal recycling, allowing old electronics to provide life to something new. We urge you to think about this option carefully before you sell, though. You should ensure that your information is safe. Deleting that information is not enough. Deleting merely allows the device to overwrite a file, meaning that the file is still there. Instead of just pressing that “Erase” button, Consumer Reports details several ways that you can safely wipe your device. Even with these guards in place, wiping data from your gadgets is still not as safe as you might want. Experienced hackers can easily restore deleted information or hack into encrypted files. Let’s think about some safer recycling options.
Refurbishing your Device
If you’re dedicated to recycling, maybe you should consider the ultimate recycling option. Refurbish your device! Many times, you can fix an old computer or install new software and reuse
it. Apple keeps customer support agents available for a variety of problems, and many Android fans can troubleshoot their Android issues if the phone retailer won’t help. It’s not as exciting as unwrapping that new iPhone, but if the old one still works, why not get the most out of your money? The plus: you’ll also keep your information where it belongs—in your own hands.
Donating your Gadget
We get it. Making a little money is luring. One idea is that you could find a reputable company that pays for used gadgets. Best Buy recycles most electronics and gives away gift
cards in exchange for your gently used devices. We’re not promising that your information is safe, but at least you would not be selling to a stranger you know nothing about. Even so, these companies could still be filled with dishonest people who are more tech savvy than you are. What then is the safest way of recycling an old electronic? Read on, disheartened recycler!
Bringing on the Physical Destruction!
While selling last year’s gadgets may tempt you, the surest way of keeping your data safe is to destroy it. No, really. We recommend total demolition. Be sure to physically remove hard drives and memory sticks and destroy those directly. You might still have to recycle the device itself, but you can’t ensure that your information is safe unless the memory from it is lying in smithereens on the ground. Seriously, destructaholics, this option is thrilling! The absolute best method is to start with degaussing (for magnetic hard drives), then shredding. As if that were not enough, you should
polish off your data tae kwon do by crushing the hard drive. Of course, you probably don’t have a degausser just lying under your bed. Luckily, we now offer the opportunity to rent degaussing equipment straight through Whitaker Brothers!
Using an ewaste recycling company.
After degaussing and physical destruction, it’s important to look into e-waste recycling companies. However, you need to be cautious here. According to The Basal Action Network, an environmental nonprofit, many recycling companies merely toss acquired gadgets into less developed countries and dispose them using hazardous methods like burning hard drives or soaking them in acid. These devices contain toxic chemicals that release into the air when incorrectly destroyed. To find a responsible company, do your research.
Good recycling companies are transparent about their methods. Couldn’t you just sell your gadget to someone you trust and bypass all this hassle? You could, but there is no guarantee they won’t sell it to someone else in the future. Recognize that people you trust may not have so much knowledge about protecting themselves. You are your number one fan, making you the best candidate for protecting yourself and those you love from the cyberpsychos out there. Happy recycling!
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