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Greener Pastures: How to Dispose of Hard Drives in an Eco-Friendly Way

You’re ready to chuck out your old hard drive and replace it with a new one. But before you head to the trash can, you may want to reconsider. Disposing hard drives simply through the trash isn’t a good idea.

Not only are you impacting the environment in a negative way by contributing to landfill waste, but you could also be exposing yourself to major data breaches! Fortunately, there is a simple solution: electronics recycling.

Read on to learn how to dispose of hard drives in an eco-friendly way that also preserves your privacy.

Why Does Eco-Friendly Matter?

Disposing of your hard drives in eco-friendly ways matters because of the impact on your health. E-waste contains a monumental amount of toxic components, such as:

  • mercury
  • lead
  • cadmium
  • polybrominated flame retardants
  • barium
  • lithium
  • polyvinylchloride

When computers are incinerated, buried, or melted, these persistent bioaccumulative toxins (PBTs) release cancer-producing dioxins into the air. They may also reach groundwater to possibly affect local aquifers, and even enter the food chain.

And while you may think just one hard drive shouldn’t have a big impact, think again. Although electronic waste only constitutes about 2-3% of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream, it’s responsible for 70% of toxic waste.

For example, an average computer screen has about five to eight pounds of lead. Computer screens represent 40% of all the lead in U.S. landfills.

If this hasn’t yet convinced you to recycle your hard drives properly, consider that children are especially vulnerable to health risks from e-waste exposure. This is because of their intake of air, water, and food in proportion to their weight is increased compared to adults.

Securing Your Data

It’s important that you securely erase your data or your customer’s information as thoroughly as possible. Even if you completely wipe your hard drive, it’s still possible for some data to be retrieved from waste memory cards and hard drives.

Find companies that are R2 (Responsible Recycling) certified to properly recycle your hard drives. This means that an accredited, independent auditor has checked their process and find it meets their standards.

The R2 program has strict standards that help minimize exposure to human health or the environment, safe management of materials by downstream handlers, and requires the complete destruction of data on used electronics.

You can feel confident in companies that are R2 certified because they continually meet these high environmental standards. After they’re certified, they’re still overseen by an independent, accredited person.

How to Dispose of Hard Drives: Cleanlites

Now that you know how to dispose of hard drives in an eco-friendly way, the question remains: who can you turn to?

Cleanlites is steadfast in their pledge to be a leader in the electronics recycling industry. With their state of the art recycling facilities, they’re able to meet your green initiatives and keep your data safe.

If you’re ready to educate your team or to recycle your electronics, contact Cleanlites today to schedule an assessment with a recycling expert.

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