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Earth Day is an excellent time to recycle old technology.  We have become accustomed to electronic obsolescence and we look forward to the latest and greatest innovations in hardware and software.  However, with today’s innovations come tomorrow’s old technology.  What do you do with that old laptop or desktop computer that no longer cuts it?  Follow our 4 step process and responsibly dispose of your aging computers.

Step 1 – Backup Your Important Files

If you have any information that you need to keep, be sure to run a backup.  This could be copying files to an external hard drive or subscribing to any of the data sync services available in the cloud.   Ask your IT support if you have questions on exactly what folders and files should be backed up and what backup solution makes the most sense.

Step 2 – Clean Off All Personal Information

This may seem obvious, but simply deleting files is not good enough.  Experienced technicians can retrieve this information relatively easily so we recommend completely overwriting the hard drive several times using software created for this purpose.   NorthStar has been using DBAN (Darick’s Boot and Nuke) for several years and it works very well.   If you plan to donate the equipment re-installing the operating system is a must, so work with your IT support team on the best option for your computer.

Step 3 – Try Donation

There are several non profit organizations that would gladly take your 3 or 4 year old machines.  We work with local healthcare providers by cleaning up machines and deploying them.   Check out the National Cristina Foundation to search for non profits in your local community looking for equipment.

Step 4 – Recycle

There are many respected recycling organizations in most local metropolitan areas that can handle this for you.   Best Buy, Dell and Apple all provide similiar environmentally responsible recycling services.   For remote users outside of ND and MN, Dell partners with FedEx to offer a Mail-Back Recycling program where all Dell computers are free to recycle and even other brands are free with the purchase of a new Dell.


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