Keeping your business current with up-to-date technology will give you a competitive edge. This involves not only acquiring new computers, servers, and other devices but disposing of the old ones properly. You can’t just dump old computers, smartphones, and other tech devices in the trash.
There are many options for what to do with your old tech. Ultimately the decision is up to you, but we’ve put together some things to consider as you clear out the technology clutter in your office.
Here are 6 things you should keep in mind as you dispose of old or outdated technology.
1. How to make money
You can actually sell your old technology, even if you think it is woefully out of date. It’s a great option because it can help to defray the cost of your new technology, or simply the cost of hauling away old junk. There are many options for how to sell it. Some retailers take back their own products. For example, Amazon and Apple both have paid recycling programs so they can sell refurbished products to people looking for a deal.
You can also sell old gear yourself online, with tools like eBay and Craigslist, but make sure you are aware of typical scams so you actually get paid for your goods. There are also companies who will take your goods and turn them around for you. This is a great idea but you might make considerably less than if you sold them yourself. However, for many business owners, this latter option is worth it because it can be much less of a hassle.
2. Helping out a good cause
If you’re not concerned about making money, then perhaps donating your equipment is more your speed. Even if your computers are somewhat old, they can still be used by several different types of organizations.
Shelters for people who have experienced domestic violence often take old phones and laptops to replace items that their clients had to leave behind, or to help with more secure and private communication. Additionally, schools, after-school & youth programs and religious organizations can often use older machines to run basic programs that help their participants.
Some donations may be tax deductible, so being generous in this way could still help you out on the financial side of things.
3. Be eco-friendly
If your tech garbage is too broken or old to donate or sell, make sure you dispose of it in an eco-friendly manner. Give it to a certified e-waste recycler. Luckily there are several organizations that take most old electronics for safe disposal.
Most local Goodwill’s not only take donated equipment, put partner with Dell to recycle equipment they can’t resell. Another option is the electronics retail store, Best Buy. They take nearly everything. Other available resources include other retailers and perhaps even your local recycling and trash pick up service.
If you’re wondering what is available in your area, go to earth911. This is a great resource for anything you need to recycle. Make sure you give your unusable electronics to an organization that knows how to dispose of it properly!
4. Be especially aware of how you recycle hazardous materials
Some people might think that throwing an old mp3 player or a few batteries in the garbage isn’t a big deal, but it can have long-lasting consequences. Electronics that sit in a landfill can poison the environment with things like lead, arsenic and other environmental toxins.
That’s why it’s best to let someone handle the devices who really know how to safely dispose of them with the least impact on the environment. Even something as simple as throwing away batteries in the trash can have a negative impact, especially rechargeable or lithium batteries.
Some cities have special programs to help you recycle batteries with regular trash pick up, while others have special drop-off days so you can bring toxic household materials like batteries and paint for proper disposal.
5. Remember to cancel or transfer software subscriptions
When you give away your old computers, remember to transfer any software subscriptions. It’s more common these days to have a subscription for programs like Microsoft Office 365 or the Adobe Suite that require users to log in, than having machine specific licenses. Remember to deactivate any subscriptions on your old machines that you are giving away so you can reactivate them on your new devices and retain all the programs you need to use.
6. Erase data
Whether you sell, donate, or dispose of your items make sure to erase any information stored on them. This will protect your data from those who would use it for nefarious purposes. Many companies who sell refurbished products say they will erase your data, but it is really best for you to do it yourself to have peace of mind.
This is especially relevant if you are selling the machines yourself or if you are dumping them with an organization for recycling. You certainly wouldn’t want your data to fall into the wrong hands!
Contact your managed IT services provider for help upgrading your machines and disposing of your old ones properly.