Be sure to dispose of your computer properly |

Be sure to dispose of your computer properly

Pat Jacques
MCSE: Security
President, Double Diamond Technologies
Tabernash, CO Colorado

In this day and age most of us seem to be aware that all electronics contain hazardous materials that need to be properly disposed off. Televisions, computers, monitors, LCD panels, printers, fax machines, cell phones, I-pods, VCRs all contain toxic “e-waste” such as lead, mercury, chromium, silver, nickel cadmium, and lithium. The big question is how to properly recycle?

Not all electronics recycling is the same or for that matter safe. According to the United Nations Environment Program around 20-50 million tons of e-waste is generated worldwide each year. As much as 50-80 percent of all U.S. e-waste is shipped to developing and Third World countries.

So what?

There two major areas of concern. First toxic e-waste shipped to other countries is typically dumped and handled by untrained poor people and their children in a manner that ensures they will be poisoned. Ground water is polluted by seeping toxins. The air is polluted by melting toxic plastics and metals over open fires using crude open containers. The problem with e-waste’s contribution to global pollution has become so large that the Basel Action Network ( organized with the express mission of “preventing the globalization of the toxic chemical crisis.”

If you’re not particularly concerned with global pollution, how about identify theft? Computer storage devices such as hard drives, flash drives, CDs, diskettes, and even tapes contain your confidential personal and client information, financial data, and intellectual property. Even if your computer is broken, it’s relatively easy to retrieve much of this. We destroy our old credit cards and shred our personal paper.

The responsible and proper way to dispose of old electronics is to use professional electronics recyclers who collect, disassemble, sort, and distribute those materials to industrial facilities that reprocess them to their raw state. These raw materials can then be reused and remanufactured into new items.

This process is labor intensive. In the case of computer hard drives and other storage, these items are placed in an industrial steel shredder where the aluminum disks are cut into tiny jigsaw pieces. This is what destroys your confidential information and protects your identity. This process is why proper electronics recycling costs money.

If you have electronics in need of disposal, you’re in luck! Country Ace Hardware in Granby will be hosting a recycling drive Saturday, May 22, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Recycling through local vendors, Valley Recycling and Curbside Recycling will be available for all manner of items: electronics, computers, tires, cardboard, car batteries, scrap metal, paper, glass, plastic, cans, CFL bulbs, household batteries, etc. Electronics and computer recycling will be processed by METECH Recycling, designated as a qualified “e-Steward” by Basel Action Network. This ensures your electronics will be responsibly, properly, and safely recycled.

Most recycle items will be free. However, fees will apply for others such as car tires ($5 each) and electronics (25 cents per pound.)

So go ahead. Do some spring cleaning. Clean out that garage, closet, or basement and enjoy the convenience of one stop recycling at Country Ace Hardware in Granby.

– Pat Jacques is a certified computer professional with 32 years experience in information technology.

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