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Guard personal info if recycling electronics

November 29, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
You may be looking forward to finding a new computer, cellphone or gaming system under the tree this year, but what to do with all the old stuff you're replacing?

C&G Technology in Anaheim Hills is a computer consulting firm that recycles 500 to 1,000 computers for their clients every three months. They typically use a certified recycler like All Green Electronics Recycling in Tustin.

"If it plugs in or it takes a battery, whether it's a computer, a cellphone, a television, or just about anything else, even a toaster oven, we can recycle it," said Arman Sadeghi, CEO of All Green Recycling. "We can make sure the commodities end up going back into making new products that you can get for Christmas next year."

All certified recyclers will break down every electronic item that comes to them and each part is then either smashed or melted down to be made into new products. That means less garbage for our landfills and less hazardous waste in our environment.

"TVs, for example, the glass too has a lot of lead in it, the new flat screens have mercury in the screens and a lot of computers and just about any kind of electronic you can imagine has hazardous waste," Sadeghi said.

One concern consumers may have is what happens to the personal information on your smartphone or computer. What method do they use to wipe out data completely?

Information on hard drives are erased by a machine. It will erase it seven times, which takes several hours. If for any reason it gets an error, then the hard drive is put into a machine where it is cracked into two to destroy it.

"Anything that comes into our warehouse goes through those same processes, whether it's a large corporation or it's just grandma with her old computer or cellphone," Sadeghi said.

In the state of California, recycling electronics is free.

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