Are you expecting to receive a new tablet or other piece of high-tech equipment for Christmas? Be careful how you dispose of your old kit
Many households have an old desktop PC lurking somewhere in their property. It probably hasn’t seen the light of day since it was replaced by an iPad or other brand of tablet.
But if you are expecting to find the latest tablet or other piece of high-tech equipment under the Christmas tree on 25 December, take care how you dispose of your old kit.
London-based waste disposal expert ProSkips warns that the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive covers 10 broad categories of equipment that must be disposed of according to specific regulations.
This includes computers, as well as kitchen appliances, electrical tools, vacuum cleaners, irons and even pocket calculators. Essentially, it’s anything powered by an electric plug or battery.
However, personal computers aren’t just harmful to the environment. They also contain personal data you don’t want to fall into the wrong hands.
When it comes to disposing of old computer equipment, owners have three options.
- Sell If the computer’s in good working order, you could sell it online or via the local press. Alternatively, donate it to charity.
- Refurbish There are companies who will take old computers of certain specifications and refurbish them for people or communities in need, both within the UK and overseas.
- Recycle Your local council may collect your computer for recycling, or you could drop it off at your local recycling centre.
But not only is it your responsibility to dispose of your computer through the right channels, you also need to ensure any personal data is destroyed.
Plaza Estates, a London-based property company that takes electronic payments, warns the computer and software will be licensed in your name, and probably contains addresses and contact information.
To destroy this data, start by uninstalling and deregistering all software on the computer, then delete all personal data and restore your computer to its factory settings.
Although your data may look as though it’s been erased, at this stage it will still be on the hard drive. Therefore, the next step is to download a disk eraser program and run it through your computer. Beware, however, because this step is irreversible so make sure you’ve backed up all your data before starting the process.
One alternative, of course, is to hire a commercial firm to take on this work, but remember to request
If you don’t feel confident doing this yourself, you can hire a commercial firm, but always make sure you receive a Certificate of Data Destruction.
When your trusty old computer no longer serves a function for you, ensure that you dispose of it in a manner that will cause no harm to the environment or yourself, by following these guidelines.