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Dispose of Your Device in an Environmentally Friendly Way

It’s estimated that the worldwide shipment of devices, including PCS, tablets and phones, will reach 2.5 billion units by 2018. New devices are constantly being produced, and we live in a society where many people often strive for the latest, which is going to result in a lot of waste. Not only do you have to ensure that you’re disposing of your devices securely, but also in a way that is environmentally friendly.

First, let’s look at the security aspect. Before even beginning to dispose of your device, you need to back up everything that you’ll want to access in the future. For example, personal users will want to keep family photos while enterprises will want customer records and employee information.

If the data is mainly archival, in that it’ll rarely need to be accessed, opt for a slower and cheaper storage medium. If you think you’ll be using the data often, you could look at using a HDD or cloud storage. Remember, backing up to the cloud has its own security ramifications. If you’re a business, you might seek assistance from a storage provider who can offer you a scalable solution.

With that data backed up, now it’s time to blitz the storage device. Just because you’ve deleted a file on your computer or phone, that doesn’t mean it’s gone forever. In fact, the space the file occupied is marked as available. It’ll only be overwritten when some new data then occupies that space. Programs are available which will overwrite drives continuingly, meaning there’s no chance of recovery.

If you’re an enterprise, even that might not be enough to abide by security and legal standards. You might need to looking using a degausser, which destroys data entirely, or even physically destroy a drive by shredding it.

Secondly, let’s look at the environmental side of things. With so many devices being produced and chucked away, and the world’s environment already in a damaged state, we need to all do our part to help. Some businesses may face fines if they don’t correctly dispose of their devices.

There are several different ways in which you can depose of your drive in an environmentally safe way. There are certified electronics recyclers who will do the job for you. In the United States the Environmental Protection Agency can recommend where to go. In Europe, the European Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive was established to encourage the correct recycling of electronic waste.

Another option would be to donate the drive. For example, Japan, who are organising the 2020 Olympic Games, are reportedly asking that people donate electronics to help manufacture the medals. Just think: your old device could be around the neck of an Olympian! Well, sort of.

Finally, you could participate in a buy-back program, where a vendor will give you money in exchange for sending your device in. Some will even offer buy-backs regardless of whether it’s their own brand device.

In conclusion, when disposing of a device you need to remember not only to securely wipe the data, but also dispose of it in an environmentally safe and sound way.

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