If it's time for a new computer, don't just toss your old one in the trash. First, computers contain toxic compounds that can destroy the environment and expose people to serious risks. Second, rather than just throwing it away, you could recycle your computer for some extra spending cash. The best way to dispose of an old computer is through your local recycling centers. Before you visit the recycling center, however, here are three steps you should take in advance:
Retrieve Your Important Files
If you have important files on your computer, you'll want to back them up before you get rid of it. Backing up your files onto a thumb drive or portable hard drive will ensure that you still have access to your important documents once you switch computers. Be sure to check every file carefully before you move on, since there will be no way to retrieve those lost files once you destroy your computer and send it to the recycling center,.
Erase Your Trail
Virtually everywhere you go on the internet leaves a footprint, which is a traceable trail to everything you've researched and every website you've accessed. Your passwords and account information are part of that stored trail of information. Once someone else has their hands on your old computer, they can access your browser history to find out exactly where you've gone, and what your personal – and financial – information is. To protect your privacy and vital information, delete your browser history before you recycle your computer.
Destroy the Hard Drive
Once you've backed up your files and deleted your browser history, you'll want to take it one step further and destroy the entire hard drive. This process will ensure that no one can gain any information from your computer once you hand it over for recycling. The easiest way to destroy a hard drive is to remove it from the computer and break it into pieces using a hammer. You can also drill holes in the hard drive and soak it in a bucket of water. Either way will render your hard drive useless.
Now that you're ready for a new computer, take your old one to a recycling center, such as Ranch Town Recycling Center Inc. You'll make a few bucks off it, and you'll do your part for the environment by keeping your old computer out of the local landfill.