What Happens to Old Computers When They’re Recycled?

Feb 13, 2021

Businesses that are serious about going green know how important it is to have a plan in place for computer recycling. This process involves taking old computers and stripping them of useful components so that they can be used again in the future, rather than getting put in the trash.

What does computer recycling look like, though? Let’s break down the process so that you know exactly what to expect when you recycle your old computers using a professional disposal service.

Scheduling an Appointment

The first step to recycling a computer is to make an appointment with an asset recycling company. The professionals will walk you through their specific process and outline which goods they can recycle.

Some items can be picked up and recycled at a recycling company’s facilities. However, hard drives often contain private information, even after they have been “wiped” by non-professionals. The information needs to be erased from the hard drive first, and then the device should be separately destroyed.

Erasing Hard Drives and Storage

Erasing the information from a hard drive is not as simple as it seems. While formatting a hard drive appears to get rid of all of the information, the fact is that talented people can recover the data.

That is why a professional recycling company should offer some means of erasing hard drives thoroughly before the rest of the computer is recycled.

A recycling company’s skilled staff members can permanently erase data on hard drives so that there is no way for it to be recovered. Afterward, they will prepare the hard drive for the final part of its lifecycle:  Shredding.

Shredding the Memory Storage Devices

Much like trying to reconstruct a piece of paper that has been properly shredded, restoring information on a shredded hard drive is impossible. While other computer components can be sorted and recycled, it is necessary to shred memory storage devices to prevent any data from being recovered.

A business can make an appointment with their recycling service to come and collect and shred electronic media that should not fall into the wrong hands, including things like:

  • DVDs
  • Hard drives
  • CDs
  • Thumb drives
  • Cell phones

Each of these devices can be safely transported to the recycling company, where they will ultimately be destroyed.

Sorting and Recycling in an Environmentally Conscious Way

Once the devices that carry data are destroyed, the rest of the computer parts are primed for recycling. The process starts by disassembling the computers into parts, such as:

  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • Circuit boards/computer chips

Once these components are separated, they will be recycled according to best practices. A single computer can end up in many different places!

Recycling a computer is a great way to prevent data theft and to help the environment. Any business that is trying to go green can make a positive impact by safely getting rid of their old computer components.

Businesses in South Dakota can start the process by contacting SEAM to evaluate their needs with a preliminary appointment. Getting rid of old computers is fast and simple when you have professionals to help!

SEAM provides IT recycling and data destruction services including onsite shredding and hard drive wiping to South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

Schedule a pickup or contact us for more information.