Ready to buy a brand-new shining laptop? Like most users, you probably change your devices every 3 to 5 years. Several factors can influence your decision including the need for the latest technology and apps, and the amount of wear and tear the gadget has seen. Further, if your usage involves gaming and streaming movies and videos, you will want to have the latest gadgets available in the market. Now that you’re all set to upgrade to a new device, you should be thinking about selling or recycling your laptop.
Recycling Electronics is a Responsible Move that Every Person Should Make
As a responsible citizen who is concerned about the impact of used electronics on the environment, it may interest you to read this report on BBC News. The agency reveals that each year hundreds of thousands of used devices and gadgets from all the corners of the world make their way to third world countries like Ghana. Here, they go through the simplest of recycling methods which is burning. Scrap dealers burn off the plastic content in the gadgets to extract metals like copper and other elements that they can sell to make a living.
The trouble with these methods is that they release a significant amount of toxins into the air, water, and soil. Atiemo Sampson is a researcher at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission who has conducted several studies on the environment of the Agbogbloshie electronic dump site in Accra. He says, “Mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic – these are the four most toxic substances [in the world], and these are found in e-waste residues in very large quantities.”
Atiemo goes on to add, “The consequences are already quite apparent. We are not waiting for 10 years or 20 years, the effects are already happening within the Ghanaian community.”
If you don’t want that your device should end up somewhere in a toxic dump, the most sensible move is donating, selling as used, or recycling your laptop.
Protect Important Data Before Recycling Your Laptop
As you will read in the Laptop Mag, it is important that you secure all data saved on the device. Follow these steps carefully before recycling your laptop or entrusting it to a complete stranger.
- Save all the data saved in the hard drive. This you can do by backing up the files to cloud storage. Though, experts advise that you have a physical device that can store all the important information. A good move is to buy an economical plug-in pen drive and save all your data on it. Run it to make sure you have the information copied properly, remove the device, and then, delete the files on the laptop.
- Cancel the authorization for the apps you have installed. When you have a bunch of apps downloaded and saved on the laptop, you probably save the authentication to avoid the bother of signing in again and again. Canceling the authorization will ensure that the person who next uses the laptop will not be able to use your license.
- Clean up the hard drive on your device. Keep in mind that this is the most crucial part of readying your device for sale. And, no! Hitting the delete button will not make the data disappear. If you have a standard HDD drive, you will need to use sophisticated methods for wiping it thoroughly so that the data cannot be recovered. Most new laptops have built-in programs that you can run to wipe the disk. But, if you want to be extra sure, use apps like Disk Wiper from Paragon, Active KillDisk, Darik’s Boot and Nuke, and Softpedia DP Wipe. You can download these tools for free from the internet and run them to secure your data. To be extra sure, take your drive to a professional company and get them to wipe the disk for you using government-certified protocols.
- Depending on the sensitivity of the data you have, you may want to choose extreme measures like destroying the hard drive. Of course, this move will render the gadget useless unless the buyer is willing to get a new hard drive. If you do have sensitive data stored, the only way to ensure its protection is to opt for secure hard drive shredding. Contact a professional, certified hard drive disposal company. They will collect the drive from your location and reduce it to one-centimeter shards. You will receive a certificate with the hard drive serial number that proves the drive has been destroyed.
Later, the shards are sent to a recycling company that melts them down to their original alloy state for reuse. If it is responsible and safe gadget disposal you’re looking for, this could be the best method out there for recycling your laptop.
The Final Step – Choose from Different Recycling Options
Now that you have dealt with the security of the saved data, you’re ready to look around for the best places for recycling your laptop. Let’s take a closer look at your options.
- Sell the laptop on eBay, Best Buys, CraigsList, or any other similar sites
- Donate it via free classified sites like Freecycle, Freegle, Gumtree, ReUseTek, and ReUseIt Network (RIN). If the device is in good working condition, you could wipe the drive and donate it to a school or community center.
- Check out the e-Steward website for information about their programs for recycling and use the option that works best for you.
- Check the original manufacturer’s website for options. Many of them accept their gadgets for repair and resale. If the device is not reusable, they’ll dispose of it safely for you.
In the coming years, electronics are going to be a bigger than ever part of our world. But, it is also important that we don’t let it become a bigger e-waste problem. Opt for recycling your laptop, cell phone, PC, and all other gadgets. We’ll contribute to a cleaner, greener tomorrow.