How to Properly Donate or Dispose of Computer Hardware
When you’re upgrading or updating your company’s technology, one thing to consider is what you’ll do with your old computers, servers, printers, and other hardware. Your old technology contains highly secure data as well as materials that can be toxic to the environment, so it isn’t as simple as giving it away or tossing it in a dumpster. To help you donate or dispose of computers and other hardware in a way that’s safe for your company and the environment, we’re walking you through the steps you need to take.
How to Prepare a Computer for Donation or Disposal
If your computers are still functional but your company is ready for an update, consider donating them to a local nonprofit organization, school, or library. Before you do, make sure you follow these steps to ensure you don’t compromise your data.
- Back up all your data so it is easily accessible. We recommend using cloud-based storage so you can always access your data, no matter where you are or the device you’re using.
- Wipe the hard drive to eliminate your files. This goes beyond simply moving files to the recycle bin, where the file name is removed but the data is accessible. Instead, we recommend using a software program that will permanently erase your files, such as DBAN or Eraser.
- Reset the computer to factory settings. While this process differs depending on the operating system, if you’re using Windows 10 go to the Start menu > Settings > Update & Security. From there go to the Recovery menu and select Reset this PC. Follow the instructions and take your computer back to day one settings. Also, make sure you choose to erase data “thoroughly” rather than quickly to ensure it’s more secure.
After these steps, it should be ready for its new owner. To dispose of the computer, you’ll still want to follow the above steps to make sure no one can access any information. Then, you need to find a recycling center that accepts electronics so you know it will be properly disposed of and recycled, rather than end up in a landfill.
Donating and Recycling Peripherals
Monitors, cables, and other peripherals can also be recycled or donated, though these don’t need to be wiped of data with the exception of your servers. Servers hold private and confidential information just like a hard drive does, so you’ll want to follow similar steps to wipe the information and take it back to factory settings before you recycle it.
How to Get Rid of a Multifunction Printer
If you are replacing your current multifunction printer, the options are fairly similar – you can donate it to a nonprofit organization if it’s still in good working condition, or you can recycle it. Before you take the whole device to a recycling center, check to see if the manufacturer offers a take-back recycling program. For example, Konica Minolta’s recycling program accepts toner cartridges, imaging units, toner bottles, developer, and drums, so you can feel confident that these items won’t end up in a landfill, and some manufacturers offer buy back programs.
Contact Us to Buy or Lease Multifunction Printers and More
Before you get rid of your old computers and printers, make sure you have the right replacements lined up. At CEI – The Digital Office, our team will work with you to help you determine the right laptops, desktops, peripherals, and printers that will align with your business needs and with your budget. To learn more about how to safely dispose of your technology equipment or to buy or lease printers and other devices, reach out to us today at 919-781-8885 or fill out our online form below.