With the very best intentions, warm-hearted citizens donate their computer to different organizations that promise to refurbish computers and send them to the less fortunate. Unfortunately, there is an alarming mishandling when it comes to electronics donation. In most cases, the charity doesn’t want or need them. I know this for a fact, because, we pick up tons of electronics from charitable organizations. What we don’t pick up, I’m afraid to tell you that more than 90% ends up in a foreign country. Children along with adults strip and burn in order to get the scrap metals in dangerous environments. What happens to the rest of the computer? The plastics and glass and other materials that have little value end up in the rivers and soils.
BAN, Basel Action Network, has been using GPS trackers to follow used electronics. According to the BAN, several companies are involved in shipping scrap printers and LCD monitors to Asia.* This is nothing new. Every year or so, I read about another refurbish and dumping scam.
If you don’t care about what it’s doing to foreign countries, and to the earth as a whole, care about yourself. If you have someone that tells you your hard drive has been wiped, that should give you very little comfort. On average, it takes seven hours for a hard drive to be properly wiped. I know because our company used to wipe hard drives. Wiping hard drives is time-consuming and cost prohibitive; therefore, complete erasing is often bypassed by companies with limited integrity.
In January of 2016, we read that over 40% of the used hard drives sold online still have data on them. In fact, a business associate told me about her experience with a local computer repair shop. Her hard drive could not be saved, so the shop put a used hard drive in her computer. When she powered up the computer, all the pictures, web history and passwords were still held on the hard drive. Is that a reason to make sure your computers are properly recycled and data destroyed?
Since January 2016, when we read about the hard drives sold online, Urban E Recycling stopped wiping and started shredding. All hard drives we pick up from our customers are shredded. The only exception is when a customer requested degaussing of their hard drives for warranty reasons. Yes, we get far less money for the scrap metal in hard drives than we would if we wiped and sold them, but we have a promise to our customers. Nothing will leave our warehouse that can be recognized and related to them.
We love what we do.
Dell Rabinowitz, Co-founder & Owner
Urban E Recycling