What to Know About Throwing Away PCs at Your Business

Elena Hudgens
By Elena Hudgens 10 Min Read

Your business will benefit from staying on top of the latest technology, which means having obsolete PCs, and you may be thinking about how to discard them. You cannot just throw your PCs in the trash; you must dispose of them properly. So, here’s what you need to know before throwing away your PC.

How Should Your Business Deal with Its Old PCs?

Inevitably, any business has to dispose of obsolete PCs at some point, which can pose a significant problem, and they may be at a loss about how to deal with them.  So, some businesses will either throw them away or store them somewhere. But both solutions have their limitations.

To begin with, an increasing number of states, such as North Carolina, New York, and California, have laws that ban the disposal of electronics in landfills, and you may find yourself on the wrong side of the law if you decide to throw away the PCs. Secondly, both solutions pose a security risk because sensitive business data may end up in the wrong hands, causing security issues. Therefore, your business requires an action plan for disposing of PCs.

The Steps Your Businesses Should Take Before Disposing of PCs

Your business needs to dispose of PCs correctly, mainly because of data security. As soon as you determine that your business PC is nearing the end of its life, follow the following steps:

(i) Choose what to throw away and what to keep

Although you might have a relatively old PC, some people still find it useful. On the other hand, a decade-old PC that has accumulated dust over the years must be disposed of. Despite the size of your business, ensure that you inventory your PCs by making a list of what needs to be kept and discarded.

(ii) Back Up Your Data

Ensure that you back up any critical data on the old PC before disposing of it. This process involves manually reviewing each computer with a priority list and backing up all personal information, such as contact lists, messages, documents, videos, and audio files.

It’s essential to back up your data before recycling your PC because you cannot recover it once it is deleted. To ensure your data is safe, you can also back up your data on physical hard drives. But storing your data in a cloud backup for easier migration is better.

(iii) Delete all sensitive information

Before disposing of your PC, the first step is to delete all sensitive business and personal information. Your business should hire a professional IT service provider to wipe all personal and confidential information off the PC before getting rid of it. 

(iv) Destroy the hard drive

Alternatively, you can physically destroy the hard drive after removing it from the computer. You can simply smash it with a hammer, but if your business deals with sensitive information or is subject to HIPAA, it’s advisable to take it to an E-shredding company.

The best thing about using an E-shredding company is that when disposing of many PCs, it will collect them at your location. Most of these companies will recycle your entire computer, and sometimes they won’t charge you because their profits come from the scrap value of your PC.

(v) Remove batteries for recycling

Apart from wiping all sensitive data from the PC, the next step is to take out any batteries to recycle them separately. Some batteries contain toxic materials that you shouldn’t dispose of in landfills. For instance, you cannot dispose of lithium-ion batteries in regular trash or recycling bins.

The Best Ways to Dispose of Your Business’s PCs

After deleting sensitive data and removing the batteries for recycling, you can dispose of your business PCs through the following methods:  

1. Sell the PCs

Selling the PCs is an excellent way of getting rid of them and using the proceeds to offset the cost of upgrading new technology.  There are different ways you can sell your PCs. For starters, some manufacturers such as Apple and Amazon take back their PC, recycle them and resell them as refurbished at a lower price.

Additionally, you may sell the PCs through online platforms such as Craigslist and eBay. Some companies will take the PCs and resell them for you. Though it’s a great idea, you might not make as much money as you would if you sold them yourself. Nonetheless, it is worth it since it is less stressful.

2. Recycle

If the PCs are too old or broken to sell, recycling is an eco-friendly option that you can consider. Luckily, several organizations collect and safely dispose of most old electronics, and you only have to drop them off at an e-waste recycling facility. 

Recycling your PCs offers plenty of benefits, such as lowering waste costs. Interestingly, you can receive grants from some non-profit organizations to establish recycling programs. Then, by recycling your PCs, you can reduce the harm we cause to the environment. 

Additionally, recycling shows that your company cares about the environment, which can, in turn, improve your brand image.

3. Donate

Donating your PCs will be a better option if you are not interested in making money. Though PCs may be obsolete, many organizations can still benefit from them. Different shelters, schools, religious organizations, and youth programs may use PCs to provide basic programs to help the community. Not to mention that some donations are tax-deductible, which means you can still benefit financially from being generous.

4. Make use of toxic trash removal services

It’s best to work with a professional who knows how to dispose of the PCs safely and without harming the environment. Even simple things like dumping batteries in the trash negatively impact the environment, particularly lithium or rechargeable batteries.

Confirm if your area offers special programs for recycling batteries during regular trash pickup or designated drop-off days for household hazardous waste, such as batteries for proper disposal.

5. Cancel software subscriptions

Remember to cancel any software subscription before selling or donating your PCs. Nowadays, it’s more common to subscribe to programs like Adobe Suite or Microsoft Office 365 that require you to log in rather than buy licenses for individual machines. Deactivate any subscriptions on your old PCs before giving them away to enable you to reactivate them on your new PC and keep all your programs.

Mistakes to Avoid When Disposing of Your PC

Despite the proper software and hardware upgrades, your PC will eventually become obsolete, and you will have to discard it. Avoid these mistakes when disposing of old business PCs

Do Not Throw away the PCs 

Remember that your business PCs contain both precious metals and toxic materials. First of all, you are wasting resources when throwing them away. Some PCs have built-in metals such as gold, platinum, and silver.  The best way to dispose of them is by working with an E-shredding company to ensure they save the precious metals when disposing of the PCs.

Furthermore, your PC also contains a toxic lithium-ion battery. These batteries are highly flammable and dangerous if exposed to high temperatures causing them to explode, resulting in a fire and damage to property. Throwing away old PCs may also result in fines and penalties since some states have laws forbidding such practices.

Choose a Reputable E-Shredding Company

Various e-shredding companies offer different service levels, so research the company you plan to work with before contracting them. Take time to read customer testimonials and reviews, and watch out for complaints or negative feedback.

Don’t do business with a company with a bad reputation since you will be entrusting them with sensitive data. There is a risk of business information being compromised or sold to third parties if they have unethical business practices.

Bottom Line

Inevitably, you will eventually have to dispose of your business PC. The goal of proper PC disposal is to save resources and reduce pollution on the planet. So, don’t throw away your PC. Instead, use the different ways mentioned above to get rid of it.  Remember, each PC that isn’t disposed of in a landfill saves tons of space and money.

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Posted by Elena Hudgens
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Elena Hudgens is an entrepreneur with 10+ years of experience. She started her journey by building her own e-commerce website on Shopify and turned her $1000 savings to millions in just 2 years. Soon she started different ventures in which she failed and succeeded. And now, she's on a mission to help other entrepreneurs with her life and business lessons.
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