Electronic Waste Disposal Best Practices

How to Safely Get Rid of Electronic Waste

The more electronics we buy, the more electronics we throw out. 

When disposing of electronic waste, are you protecting your digital safety and the environment? 

Electronic Waste Disposal: Things to Consider 

The more electronics we buy, the more electronics we throw out. 

When disposing of electronic waste, are you protecting your digital safety and the environment? 

Today, we are going to cover some key best practices for disposing of electronic waste in your area. This will help protect your personal privacy and allow you to rid your property of old devices in a more sustainable way. 

Why Electronic Waste is a Serious Issue 

According to statistics, here are some facts that might surprise you: 

As these few statistics illustrate above, there is an immense potential for recycling electronic waste instead of disposing of it. If you are cleaning out old electronic devices from your home, consider donating or recycling them instead. 

Proper Disposal of Electronic Waste 

As the American Southwest’s leading dumpster rental provider, we strive to advise you on what to throw away as well as what not to dispose of in bins like ours. We do not recommend throwing away electronic devices when considering the impact on the environment and the loss of resources it generates. 

To find an authorized electronics recycling center, we recommend that you search online for locations near you. The states that we serve, California, Arizona, and New Mexico all have resources for safely disposing of electronics so that they can be properly recycled. 

Electronic Waste Disposal: Things to Consider 

Electronic waste, or e-waste, includes any unwanted electronic device, such as:

  • Computers
  • Laptops 
  • Cellphones 
  • Televisions
  • Printers

Nearly every home and workplace create some electronic waste. Unfortunately, there’s a major lack of awareness when it comes to best practices for e-waste disposal. 

Simply throwing your old laptop or phone in the garbage can is not a good choice. It’s unsafe, environmentally harmful, and often illegal. Furthermore, there are some key security steps to take before getting rid of an electronic item that holds sensitive information. 

Before stuffing your used electronics in the trash, consider these issues:

Data Privacy

Recycling electronic waste is complicated. It’s also expensive and highly regulated. So, some recycling plants in the US prefer to ship e-waste overseas rather than process it on-site. 

If a hard drive or other electronic storage device is discarded while still intact, your personal data goes with it. This data can travel around the world and end up in the hands of strangers who recovered your old device. Then, sensitive information such as financial data or medical documents can be sold or otherwise misused. 

Environmental Damage 

Electronics commonly contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment. For example, many batteries that charge our everyday devices contain toxic chemicals like cadmium, mercury, lithium, and lead. 

When electronics aren’t properly disposed of, chemicals can leak into local ecosystems and contaminate soil and water. Or, if e-waste is burned, the plastic and chemicals pollute the air. 

In addition to being the right thing to do, proper disposal is often mandated by law. In California, for example, all batteries must be properly recycled or taken to a hazardous waste disposal facility. 

Reuse Value of Donated Electronics

If you’re getting rid of a device that could still be used, consider donating it. Someone who can’t afford to purchase a smartphone or laptop could benefit immensely from your generous gift. To get started, find a local reputable charity in your area and inquire about used electronics donations. 

As we mentioned above, recycling your device also allows precious materials to be recovered. These can be salvaged or reused by manufacturers in creating new devices or refurbishing existing ones. 

How to Safely Dispose of Electronic Waste

When it’s time to discard your old internet-connected electronics, don’t rush the process. Follow these steps to ensure your privacy and data security. 

Move All Sensitive Files 

Move all sensitive files off of a device before you dispose of it. Load them onto a thumb drive, external hard drive, or cloud storage. Then delete the original copies so that there’s no trace of sensitive data on the device that you’re discarding. 

De-Authorize the Device From all of Your Subscriptions

Certain software applications require you to authorize devices. Open your account on the application’s website and deauthorize the device that you’re getting rid of. This can be confusing. If you’re unsure, contact the company’s customer support to confirm that you successfully deauthorized your advice. 

Factory Reset the Device

As a key final step, perform a factory reset on your device. Look up the manufacturer’s instructions on how to do this.

A factory reset removes your user data from the device and restores it to day-one settings. This helps to wipe clean any remaining trace of your personal history with the device. 

Locate a Reliable Disposal Solution 

Many states allow for electronics to be disposed of in a self-service fashion. For example, a public space might have a digital kiosk where a person can securely discard their phone or laptop. If you prefer to hand off your items to another person, other full-service facilities exist and are readily available across the United States. 

Finding Reliable Waste Disposal Solutions 

If you’re not comfortable or interested in completing the steps described above, that’s okay. Instead, find a local facility in your area that specializes in the electronic waste disposal and have them take care of your disposal process for you. 

If you take your e-waste to a facility without completely clearing the data from your devices, just be sure that you understand and trust the disposal process practiced by the facility. 

Whether you’re discarding a single electronic device or cleaning out an entire house, a reliable waste disposal service makes a big difference. If your cleanup project requires a dumpster, contact Dumpsters Express.

We’re a dumpster and bin rental service for California, Arizona, and New Mexico. We’ve got the equipment and the expertise to help you manage your next waste management solution. Get a quote today or contact us with any questions.