Featured Guest Blog from Mike Munafo at Electronic Asset Recycling, LLC in Greenville, South Carolina.
In our line of work, we've run into more than a few shady "recycling" companies who swear up and down that they can do everything for free. If you see an ad for "free ewaste recycling," what you're really seeing is likely an advertisement for a scam. Even if they claim to have special certifications, 'free' electronic waste recycling is truly anything but.
Even if it doesn't cost you, it definitely costs the planet. The best-case scenario is that these "free computer recyclers" are sending ewaste overseas, where it will find its way into what are often called "electronic graveyards" in less-developed nations. These landfills full of ewaste become incredibly hazardous to the local population and pollute globally as well, as local residents often burn plastics and other toxic components in order to get to the valuable metals inside. When it comes to electronic waste, "out of sight" is definitely not "out of mind".
Recycling electronics isn't cheap. We've spoken before about how shockingly fast electronics depreciate in value — this continues even into the recycling process. Often, we pay more to recycle an item than we could ever get back in return through resale or refurbishment. This is true of every single ethical ewaste recycling company. If you see a company advertising the ability to recycle your ewaste totally for free, they still have to be finding a method of turning a profit somewhere.
They may recoup their costs through stealing your information. Computers, copiers, printers, and other electronics all contain a plethora of information about you and your company or household by the time you dispose of them. Most newer-model copiers and printers maintain a record of every job they've ever been tasked with. Anyone who takes them in could easily simply reprint old jobs until they find the kind of information they can sell or misuse. Computers will contain entire hard drives' worth of data that you or your company may want or need to keep secure. That "free ewaste recycler" may simply sell your data to a third-party company for marketing purposes, or they may do something much worse.
Identity theft is on the rise. One easy way to steal someone's confidential information for identity theft purposes is simply through accessing their confidential information off of office electronics or computers. Most hard drives store all sorts of information that proves to be of immense value to someone looking for something to steal. Discarded computers, which even in corporate settings may have only had mild hard drive wipes, are an identity thief's dream. Don't take the risk — make sure you dispose of your old electronics with a reputable company like EARecycling.
We don't advertise that our recycling services are "free" because we have a serious commitment to ethical ewaste recycling. Your data security is our most important concern. Not only do we provide a Data Destruction Guarantee, but we are also just about the only ewaste recycling company in the state of South Carolina to have our very own transportable hard drive shredder. We can either wipe your hard drives clean or provide our hard drive shredding services for total security. We're even able to shred on-site, so you never lose track of exactly where your confidential information is at any moment.
The next time you see a company pushing "free computer recycling," keep this in mind — the company providing those services has to recoup their costs, and you don't want to find out they did so by stealing your information. Give us a call here at EARecycling and we'll walk you through everything we do step by step so that you know your information is secure. You can reach us by phone at (800) 746-1823 or contact us online to request a pickup.