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Recycling Your Computer - What About Your Data?

I think we all understand that electronic equipment contains toxic components. But do you know what’s in there and what the dangers are about your data?

Wow… it’s awful: lead, cadmium, chromium, brominated flame retardants and more - and you could be exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), from inhalation of toxic fumes, as well as fumes from accumulation of chemicals in soil, water and food.

Yep, you know the reasons why electronics recycling is important. You want to do the right thing and dispose of your equipment properly. What are your options? The City has a recycling program, but hours can be limited and events are scheduled sporadically. When you finally get around to clearing out the garage, you just want to get rid of the junk, right? It's frustrating to have to figure out where and when to go.

Computer Corner accepts electronics for recycling during business hours, Monday - Friday, 8am - 5pm.

We accept desktops, laptops, flat screen monitors (no CRT or tube style monitors), laptop batteries, rechargeable batteries, cell phones, computer parts, printers, scanners, and servers (oh my!). We can't accept appliances or TVs of any kind (Baillio's accepts TVs).

So, you're ready to recycle - but you wonder about the security of your data. A skilled technician can recover data from a formatted hard drive because the data is not erased until the hard drive has been re-written with new data. However, many consider this to be a low risk because of the effort involved.

There are three options available to you:

  1. Just drop off the equipment and we will make sure it's recycled properly. Many of our customers aren't worried about their old data or have already formatted their hard drive.

  2. Ask us to remove the hard drive and return it to you. We are happy to do this with a system that provides easy access to the hard drive. Most laptop hard drives are not easily accessible. See next option.

  3. Ask us to remove the hard drive and destroy it. We charge $10 for this service because of the effort involved. We remove the drive and drill two holes through it with a carbide bit and then zap it with a taser.

  4. Total destruction and shredding. Some require more thorough destruction. For example, a dentist office will have Protected Health Information ("PHI") on their hard drives. In this situation, we partner with New Mexico Computer Recyclers. They have an industrial shredder that turns hard drives into little bits (see video here). This process allows us to issue a Certificate of Destruction that is proof that you properly disposed of a hard drive that contains PHI. We charge $45 for this service, with volume discounts available.

We are here to help! If you've got a bunch of equipment to recycle, one of our friendly staff members will be happy to help you unload your car.

We are committed to helping the community with electronics recycling because it is part of our efforts to "Reduce, Re-use, Recycle." This post covers our efforts to Recycle electronics. In future posts, we will cover our efforts to Reduce and Re-use computers. Stay tuned!


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