Where Can I Recycle Computers?

Technology is constantly changing, which may leave you wondering, “Where can I recycle computers?” Electronics recycling is vital when we are constantly upgrading our phones, TVs, computers, and laptops for the newest model to hit the market. 

Finding somewhere to recycle your computer should be easy, but there’s more to it than that. It’s important to consider several factors when recycling computers. The most important factors to consider are:

  • When you throw away a computer, and it goes to the landfill, you are not only throwing away your personal information but very valuable resources. Plastic and metals take hundreds of years to decompose. However, what is even more vital to keep out of landfills are the chemicals that can leach into our soil and enter our water systems. 
  • While donating your computer to somewhere like Goodwill* may seem like a viable option, they may not ensure that your data is destroyed. If the computer works, the person who purchases it may be able to retrieve your tax information, credit card payments, and other personal information. 
  • Before recycling, ensure that the place you choose will destroy your data and ensure that each piece of your computer will be properly disposed of. This not only protects you but your carbon footprint as well. 

Here are some places you can check out to see if there is a recycling program near you:

  • The R-2 Certified Database
    • R-2 certified companies follow a rigorous set of standards to reuse and recycle responsibly. These are formally evaluated to protect the health of the environment, employees, and communities. It’s important to note that all downstream vendors of your IT recycling company are also R-2 certified. 
  • Earth 911
    • Earth 911 has the recycling answer to all of your unwanted goods, including e-waste. Simply type in your zip code and what you’re looking to recycle, and you will be provided with what you’re looking for within a radius of your choosing!
  • E-Stewards Database
    • Much like the R-2 certified database, E-Stewards is a similar database that is based on their qualifications for certification. Companies that hold this certification ensure data security and brand protection. Additionally, these companies care about human rights and environmental justice. 
  • Securis.com
    • See if there is a Securis location that may be able to help you or your business. With four locations, Securis provides electronics and computer recycling across the east coast. From ensuring that our natural resources are responsibly recycled to helping businesses keep electronic waste out of landfills, we’re here for all of your e-waste needs! Not only are we R-2 certified, but we ensure that all of our downstream vendors are as well. We want to make sure our environment, customers, and employees are protected from steps a to z. 

Not only does recycling electronics help provide environmental protection, but using a trusted e-waste recycling company can help keep your personal information safe. Before recycling, a company like Securis will ensure that all personal data is removed from your devices.

Data breaches occur not only to big corporations but to individuals as well. Our computers contain tax returns, credit card payments, savings account information, and so much more personal information. Be sure to properly dispose of your equipment to protect yourself from this information ending up in the wrong hands. 

*Some Goodwills do have a partnership with Dell to appropriately get rid of data and/or recycle broken computers properly. However, this partnership is not nationwide. 

How Can I Recycle Batteries?

While the easiest thing to do is to toss old batteries into a garbage can, following proper battery disposal methods is vital. Batteries can be recycled safely, but it’s important to do it correctly for safety reasons. Recycling batteries isn’t easy, especially since each type needs to be disposed of differently. 

LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES

Lithium-ion batteries (Li-ion batteries) are common in laptops, cell phones, and electric cars. They come in two forms: soft and dry. The increased usage of these batteries in our everyday lives has led to an increase in fires due to the improper disposal of them.

Because they contain hazardous waste, it’s important to find a company that can recycle them properly. 

There are two main recycling options for these batteries: pyrometallurgy and hydrometallurgy

  • Pyrometallurgy separates the mixed metal alloy of cobalt, copper, iron, and nickel. 
  • Hydrometallurgy recovers metals and ores from lithium-ion batteries. 

LEAD ACID BATTERIES

Lead acid batteries can be recycled and can contain value. Some materials, like impure lead, can be returned to battery manufacturers and recycled into new batteries. Sulfuric acid can be turned into water. Eighty percent of the materials are turned into new batteries.

Putting these into the garbage would allow the lead and sulfuric acid in them to leach into our soil, water, and other valuable natural resources.

SINGLE-USE ALKALINE BATTERIES (AA, AAA, C, and D)

Christmas morning can be disappointing if you don’t have single-use batteries on hand for your kid’s newest toys. However, these batteries have corrosive chemicals that shouldn’t be dumped into landfills leaking into our soil. AA, AAA, C, and D alkaline batteries are household hazardous waste. 

To properly recycle them, they should be placed into a rotary kiln to recover any zinc oxide in them. This can be reused in various plastics and ceramics. 

 

BUTTON CELL BATTERIES

Button cell batteries contain mercury and therefore need to be disposed of properly. From hearing aids to watches, and various other small electronics, button batteries are fairly common in our households. 

 

Ingredients like mercury can be found in batteries, which is why it is important to recycle them. When we recycle, we prevent more mercury from being mined. 

 

Securis Can Help!

If your business is unsure how to dispose of batteries inside your laptops and other devices properly, we can help

 

If you live in the DC metro area, we host monthly recycling events at our Chantilly, VA warehouse, where you can drop off your old electronics*. 

 

*There may be a fee for proper battery disposal

Securis Attends DC’s High Tech Prayer Breakfast

On Thursday, November 10, 2022, Securis attended the 21st annual High Tech Prayer Breakfast. It’s a unique event that provides inspiration, connection, and great food to the Northern Virginia technology community. While food feeds our bodies, inspiration and global connection fill our souls in the data center, electronics recycling, hard drive destruction, and business communities.

Securis encourages all interested employees to attend the High Tech Prayer Breakfast, regardless of religion, transportation needs, and work schedules. Securis offers solutions to each challenge. Regarding transportation, don’t worry about parking in the crazy grid of Tyson’s Corner. Securis brings a bus to the headquarters in Chantilly, VA.

Securis hosted eight tables for the event, filled with our employees, vendors, and other industry partners. We enjoyed hearing the testimonies of Shira Lotzar and Carl Grant over breakfast.

How to Avoid a Data Breach

When disposing of your equipment, tossing hard drives without properly removing the information they contain can cost you money. Your business needs to ensure that all of your data is appropriately disposed of and that you aren’t putting you or your customer’s information at risk. By degaussing and then shredding your hard drives with an IT asset disposition (ITAD) company, you can protect your data and save your organization money. 

These steps use a variety of destruction methods to help keep your data safe from an expensive and embarrassing data breach. 

Step One: An Audited Equipment Collection

The first step to avoiding a data breach in your end-of-life equipment is to ensure that the company you hire to collect said equipment can provide you with an auditable and trackable IT inventory list. 

For example, at Securis, we tag every item we collect with an internal bar code and strip off all identifying information on the outside of your equipment. This also helps protect the chain of custody. By having a record of what’s been collected, it’s clear what has been handed over to your ITAD company. 

Step Two: Degaussing Hard Drives

After taking inventory of everything, it’s time to destroy the data. Before jumping to the shredder, you may want to consider degaussing your hard drives first. The degaussing process destroys information by changing the magnetic domain of the hard drive. 

While solid state drives (SSDs) aren’t able to be degaussed, we have microshredding data destruction and recycling services available for them. 

Step Three: Shred Hard Drives

After degaussing your larger magnetic hard drives, it’s time to throw them into our traditional shredder. While a degausser renders all data unusable, the degaussed hard drives still look the same as a perfectly functioning hard drive. 

 

Why is that a problem? If you put the two hard drives side by side, you may get them confused and accidentally recycle one that still has your information on it. By shredding, you ensure that you’re disposing of the proper equipment. Hard drive shredding will render all data unusable. 

Shredding services destroy SSDs and other smaller pieces of equipment. However, these cannot go into a regular shredder as they can slip through the cracks. For SSDs and other small data-containing devices, we use our microshredder. 

Step Four: Use a Certified ITAD Company to Recycle

By trusting environmentally responsible ITAD companies to recycle your unwanted and destroyed electronic equipment, you keep metals, plastics, and other perfectly usable materials out of our landfills! By choosing an R-2 certified company to dispose of your end-of-life equipment properly, you may protect yourself from lawsuits and data breaches. 

Securis can provide you with a certificate of destruction. This is beneficial for auditing purposes and peace of mind. With our services, you know that your hard drives and other equipment are being properly recycled with the circular economy at the forefront of our minds. 

Why?

Morgan Stanley is paying a $35 million fine to settle claims because they failed to protect the personal information of 15 million people. From 2015 to 2020, they improperly disposed of their hard drives. By selling these online without properly removing customer information, anyone who bought them had access to this information. 

Rather than using a company like Securis that has decades of experience disposing of information, Morgan Stanley used a moving and storage company that had no ITAD experience. The company they entrusted to protect their customer’s information sold thousands of the devices that they collected. 

Data security is vital to your customers in this day and age. Finding an ITAD company that you can trust with data destruction is vital. When you fail to protect your customers’ personal information, you can cost your company millions of dollars. 

Can You Make Money from End-Of-Life Electronics?

End-of-life electronics contain precious metals and elements, such as gold, silicon, platinum, and more. Your end-of-life computers and IT assets must be worth a fortune, right? Not exactly, but there are ways that IT departments can maximize the value of old IT equipment. The greatest value is when computers can be repurposed and upcycled, but some equipment is too damaged and must be dismantled and sold for scrap. 

Can You Make Money from End-Of-Life Electronics?

How IT Departments Can Maximize IT Asset Value

It may be tempting for an organization to keep employees on old technology. New electronic equipment is expensive, there’s downtime for installations and training, and any upgrade is disrupting. However, a survey recently found that $1.8 trillion (not a typo – TRILLION!) is lost each year due to technology that should have been retired. Old computers and other electronic devices are slower and often unable to be upgraded to the latest version. 

Make Money from End-Of-Life Electronics

Storage of End-Of-Life Electronics to Gain the Highest Recovery Value (Make Money from End-Of-Life Electronics)

Once a computer or server “dies,” it’s easy to dismiss and throw it in a trash bin for collection. Taking care of how you store these items may greatly increase the value you receive. However, you can make money from end-of-life electronics. 

Make Money from End-Of-Life Electronics

Here’s How to Make Money from End-of-Life Electronics

  • Store it safely without damage in dry, cool environments
  • Laptops should be placed on their sides if put in boxes. Be careful not to stack too many on top of each other on a pallet, which can damage the screens of bottom units. This is especially common in MacBooks.  
  • Don’t write or add labels to items that are still in the original boxes & packaging 

Data & Parts Removal

  • Hard drive data erasure can increase the value of retired equipment by 5-10%. Shredding or degaussing is costly and returns no additional revenue.
  • Keep the covers or panels with the unit (laptop).  Serial-numbered plastic pieces may not be recycled properly. A complete unit will return a higher value than if this part is missing or damaged.  
  • WiFi Cards, Optical Drives, and Memory (RAM) contain NO DATA. Mistakenly removing these parts can significantly limit an item’s resale value. Review the below examples to ensure only the hard drive is removed, or let Securis handle it for you.

Laptop Hard Drives and WiFi Cards

Hard Drives usually have a size capacity such as 256GB, 500GB, 1TB printed on the label.

hard drives and wifi cards that hold data and don't hold data

IT asset value recovery isn’t top of mind for most organizations. That concern only comes after obtaining peace of mind regarding keeping sensitive data safe. 4,145 publicly disclosed breaches exposed over 22 billion records in 2021. 

4,145 publicly disclosed breaches exposed over 22 billion records in 2021

Make Money from End-Of-Life Electronics

If you’re not sure what value your retired IT equipment holds, we’ll help you. Schedule an onsite visit with us with no obligation. We’ll come to you, evaluate your end-of-life equipment and let you know what we predict you’ll regain from your retired assets. 

Learn from Morgan Stanley’s Data Breach: Use a Certified and Experienced ITAD Company

Have you tried to reduce costs when it’s time to get rid of old IT equipment? Morgan Stanley learned the hard way that if you don’t properly dispose of electronic devices,  it will be costly for your company. 

The global financial services firm Morgan Stanley trusted a standard moving company to dispose of end-of-life IT equipment. It has been reported that this company had no experience in IT asset disposition (ITAD). The unnamed moving company sold hard drives and other equipment online, exposing Morgan Stanley’s client’s data. 

Most of us assume that when purchasing a second-hand hard drive, it’s been fully wiped of all previous data. However, if this equipment gets to the wrong people, it can be detrimental to your organization. By selling these non-degaussed or shredded hard drives, Morgan Stanley left their clients vulnerable to data leaks. 

Morgan Stanley failed to destroy their customer data correctly, and that oversight has cost them millions of dollars. 

How does a hard drive that’s been wiped still have data? 

Morgan Stanley was exposed by an IT consultant who purchased some of the hard drives. He wrote to Morgan Stanley stating they could get “some kind of verification of data destruction.” As a financial institution, Morgan Stanley has stringent guidelines that they need to follow regarding data destruction. 

Although the information isn’t easily accessible on wiped drives, someone with experience can recover critical data. 

Finding “Hidden” Information

A Comparitech study found that 3 in 5 second-hand hard drives still contained data from the previous owner. 26% of the hard drives had been formatted, but it didn’t take much effort for the data to be recovered. 

An organization that does not use professional data destruction services may miss out on opportunities to fully destroy sensitive data. By degaussing and hard drive shredding, you can ensure that all data is physically destroyed. 

Preventing Data Leaks

When it comes time for your company to get rid of old hard drives, computers, and various IT equipment, you need to find an agency that complies with all laws and regulations that your business needs to follow regarding personal data. 

Physical destruction is often vital regarding compliance in terms of financial, health, and other strictly regulated organizations. 

Securis complies with the following rules and regulations:

  • NIST 800-88 standards
  • DoD 5200.22-M data sanitization
  • HIPAA/HITECH
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act
  • Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act
  • FACTA Disposal Rule
  • Bank Secrecy Act
  • Patriot Act of 2002
  • Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act
  • US Safe Harbor Provisions
  • FDA Security Regulations
  • PCI Data Security Standard 
  • Various local, state, and federal regulations.

Failure to comply with regulations can lead to an embarrassing news story and cost your organization millions in settlement fees alone. Contact us to learn how we can help you stay compliant. 

What Happens to Recycled Computer Parts?

At Securis, we process, disassemble, and recycle as much e-waste as we can in-house. Recycling your computer with us ensures that nothing ends up in a landfill. Some recycled computer materials are processed by our downstream vendors. Each has been vetted and chosen for their certified expertise in handling specific hazardous materials. As a zero-landfill company, our e-waste recycling partners must be R2-certified. 

End-of-Life Computer Materials That Can Be Reused

Most of the materials we send out can be reused or repurposed. There are obvious valuable materials like gold, copper, and silver that can be reused in new computer parts and turned into jewelry. The less obvious materials, like old CRT glass, can be reused as ceramic tiles and tile glaze. 

CRT Glass

CRT glass does contain lead, making the glass highly fusible. Because it is so fusible, it reduces the energy needed to create new products like ceramic tiles and tile glaze.

 

Copper

8.7 tonnes of copper is recycled from end-of-life electronic products every year. It’s one material that can be reused repeatedly without losing its ability to perform. Additionally, reusing copper lessens CO2 admissions. Copper can be recycled into jewelry, wires, or even used for the same material it was used for previously. 

Shredded Software and Toner Cartridges

One of our vendors, Covanta, uses materials like shredded software and toner cartridges to provide power to more than one million homes. This helps keep methane out of landfills which reduces emissions from fossil fuel electrical production. Your recycled toner cartridges might be powering your house!

Sulfuric Acid

Sulfuric acid found in batteries can be turned into water by adding baking soda. Once it has been cleaned and meets clean water standards, it’s released into the sewer system. It can also be turned into sodium sulfate used in laundry detergent, glass, and textiles. 

Mercury

Mercury is often found in tubes in TVs and computer monitors. Ninety-nine percent of mercury can be recycled. Once extracted from items like mercury tubes, it can be reused in new products. This not only helps limit the amount of mercury in our environment but reduces the need for new mercury to be mined and used. 

The other one percent must be disposed of properly to protect our ecosystem. The EPA has established RCRA Subtitle C landfills. This is the best way to keep mercury out of our water systems. These landfills have been specifically created to ensure that substances like mercury aren’t entering our environment. 

Securis Can Help!

At Securis, we ensure our downstream vendors are R-2 certified and keep all materials out of landfills. We want to ensure that our environment is free of harmful elements. Contact us if you are interested in learning more about how we can help you! 

Securis’ Statistics

securis statistics

  • In one month, we sell about 6,000 desktops If stacked on top of one another, they’d reach the top of the Empire State Building. In one quarter, we sell the equivalent of two Washington Monuments in height of laptops! That’s about 13,320 laptops.
  • Last year, we sold enough monitors to stretch three miles!
  • In one week, our processing team went through and disassembled 174,000 pounds of equipment. That is the maximum weight of a full Boeing 747!
  • Recently, we recycled 80,000 pounds of plastic. Keeping materials out of landfills is our priority! This happens to be the equivalent of a fully loaded 18-wheeler!

How to Protect the Chain of Custody During Data Destruction

Some businesses, governments, and other entities have a chain of custody requirement regarding data destruction. Securis has developed a meticulous and secure end-to-end process that brings technology, people, processes, and infrastructure together. This ensures the highest levels of quality throughout the entire chain of custody of end-of-life IT assets.

Our clients are always in the loop for each retired IT asset during certified data destruction and e-waste logistics. 

Securis’ on-site shredding services allow you to witness the physical destruction of hard drives, cell phones, solid state drives (SSDs), and more. We know that the physical destruction of electronics is vital, so we provide a variety of ways to perform those services. 

Types of Data Destruction

At Securis, we offer several on-site hard drive and data destruction services to best suit your needs. We’ll help you avoid an embarrassing news story due to a data breach. 

data breach

With our microshredder, your devices will be pulverized to a shred size of less than 2mm,  the NSA-prescribed particle size. This is one of the most effective ways to ensure complete data security for small items, such as SSD cards, chips, and other data-containing devices that would fall through the cracks of traditional shredders.

If you aren’t concerned with shred size and are looking to destroy larger items, such as standard disk drives, our traditional shredder will do the job well. 

Prior to shredding, or in lieu of it, you can opt for degaussing. This erases data from devices with a magnetic strip by scrambling information,  rendering it unreadable. Aside from the hard drives in most of the devices used today, it also works on VHS tapes, cassettes, LTO and DLT tapes, and other magnetic storage devices. Degaussing does not work on solid state drives or optical storage devices like CDs. 

Protecting the Chain of Custody

Our on-site destruction services assist in protecting any chain of custody issues you may face. We understand that often, you may need to witness the destruction of your SSDs and other storage devices. 

Securis has a mobile shredding truck. We will come to your office and let you watch as we shred your equipment. We can also provide you and your company with a certificate of destruction and an audit-ready IT inventory list to document that all equipment has been disposed of properly.

certificate of data destruction

Data that Securis Can Destroy

At Securis, we can destroy the data on a vast amount of end-of-life equipment. We accept hard drives, SSDs, floppy discs, CDs, tapes, and more to shred. Depending on size, we may opt to use our proprietary microshredder.

Anything that can store data needs to be properly disposed of. When we destroy SSDs, hard drives, and other devices on-site, we can help keep your data secure and save you time. 

Secure and Environmentally Safe Data Center Liquidation

The environment doesn’t usually come first in a data center operator’s priorities. While Securis recognizes the importance of data security, we’re ready to change the perspective regarding the impact of equipment on the environment. Our company strives to improve the global environment and secure our client’s data through the data center liquidation process.  

The environmental impact of data centers is larger than you may be aware of. Finding a company that can help reduce the environmental impact of end-of-life equipment is important. This will help reduce the amount of energy used and the amount of water needed to keep data center equipment cool.  

examining data centers

Keeping E-Waste Out of Landfills

There are an estimated three million data centers in the United States. They range in size from a single 19-inch rack to 1.1 million square feet. The average size of a data center is 100,000 square feet. That’s a lot of equipment that eventually needs to be disposed of. 

We must ensure this end-of-life equipment doesn’t end up in a landfill.

Like all electronic devices, data centers become outdated and eventually fail. Most data centers are large, making the amount of e-waste they produce more impactful. By finding an IT asset disposition (ITAD) service, you can easily utilize their e-waste recycling efforts. 

47 percent of data centers are refreshed every one to three years. If the retired IT assets aren’t properly recycled, many landfills receive perfectly usable or reusable equipment. If data center operators don’t make changes, it is estimated that e-waste will grow by 8% each year globally. 

Many large tech corporations have joined the Circular Electronics Partnership. In this partnership, companies like Microsoft, Dell, Google, and Amazon, are committed to helping the circular economy and reducing e-waste. Tech tycoons can reduce their e-waste by disposing of their data center equipment with a company that securely recycles and upcycles IT assets. 

IT asset recovery is an impactful way to keep the circular economy going. We hear “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” from elementary school to adulthood. The circular economy focuses on reusing items that have already been introduced into the product lifecycle. 

Keeping End-of-Life Data Center Assets Secure 

As data center equipment is replaced, companies need to continue to keep the information they once held secure. 

It’s vital to ensure total data erasure in your organization’s ITAD process. In recent years with an increase in data breaches and hacks, data security is vital. 

How Securis Can Help Securely Decommission Data Centers

Securis’  data center decommissioning process ensures that your e-waste will not end up in a landfill. We recycle, reuse, and refurbish every piece of e-waste that we collect.

Located in the center of Data Center Alley, we are able to collect and destroy retired IT assets on-site. If you’re curious about our process, we’d be pleased to show you around our facilities and explain our processes further.

It can be difficult to destroy data storing equipment properly. Securis has more than 20 years of experience keeping servers, wires, and other end-of-life equipment out of landfills while ensuring complete data security. Contact us today to help you keep your data center end-of-life equipment out of landfills.