Electronic waste or e-waste is pretty much every thing that runs on batteries or has a power cord. Do your part, don't throw electronic waste of any kind in the trash.
E-waste facilities are available at just about any landfill or dump site located in California. There are usually seasonal periods where even more types of harmful waste can be recycled properly free of charge. Do your part and take electronic waste to a proper e-waste disposal facility.
However, not all e-waste facilities are free. The fees for most of these services are paid for with the purchase of new televisions and other electronics. Contact your local electronic waste facility for more information.
If your electronic item still has resale value, or is still fully functional, consider donating it, or giving it away to a friend. Before you decide to donate or give your PC away to someone take a moment and consider why it is being replaced. If it was unstable or it did not seem to run right then it may be better to dispose of it at an electronic waste facility.
At pcmd we feel if it is going to cost money to fix, or if it is really old, then it should be disposed of properly at an e-waste facility. Computers become unreliable and have limited use life spans regardless if they still work. However, you are free to do as your choose, we just ask that you help keep e-waste out of land fills.
When disposing of a personal computer it is important to deal with your data. Computers are kind of like crayons they are fun to use and allow us to make interesting, and colorful things but it is hard to erase ones work. To securely erase a computers data one must write 1s and 0s over and over again to ensure the data is erased from the hard drive. There are many different techniques used to do this. The Gutmann method performs 35 passes using different patterns of 1s and 0s. The DOD 5220.22-M uses 7 passes. We at pcmd feels that 3 passes is sufficent for most users, since it is a good balance of time and effectiveness.
Using a hammer to simply destroy the drive is effective way to damage the drive so that no one could recover the data. This method requires you make sure that the cover is bent or cracked allowing air, and dirt inside. It is not necesary to take the drive apart. It is important it takes some really good hits on the metal cover, and that the circuit board called the controller takes a few good hits as well. To ensure data is detroyed on a solid state disk be sure to smash each chip. Don't just throw the drive in the trash after smashing it, be sure to take it to an e-waste facility.
Software tools are available that can be used to thouroghly erase data from drives. Using software is best when the computer is still good and working properly. It is important to note that all data must be erased to ensure that the drive is wiped clean.
A really thorough drive wipe with many passes can take a very long time, think hours if not days on older hardware. There are many options when it comes to software, there are even free versions that can help the computer savvy. PCMD makes no recommendations on software due to the complexity and risk in using software.
EPA estimates state that in 2007 over 112,000 computers were recycled daily in the U.S.A.
In 2009, discarded TVs, computers, peripherals (including printers, scanners, fax machines) mice, keyboards, and cell phones totaled about 2.37 million short ons or 4,740,000,000 Lbs.