Data Destruction And Data Theft Prevention

The devastation that can potentially occur if sensitive data reaches malicious hands affects so much more than bank accounts and credit reports. Not all data thefts are easy to recover from, leaving honest people and businesses to repair reputations, financial loss, and even personal assault. The primary mission of Earth Friendly Recycling has been and always will be the protection of our customers' data.

    • In 2010, a single password protected, unencrypted computer containing the personal information, including medical record numbers, was jeopardized exposing over 4.2 million patients of the Sutter Medical Foundation.
    • In 2009, the Veterans Affairs Department agreed to pay a $20 million settlement due to the compromised identification and medical data of 26.5 million veterans and active duty military on a single laptop.
    • In 2007, Gap Inc. had the records of 800,000 applicants stolen, including social security numbers, potentially exposed from the loss of two unsecured laptops.

The cases go on and on. Though these cases refer to the physical theft of the these laptops and the harm caused, any of these data exposures can occur with the improper recycling of data containing devices.

Earth Friendly Recycling is a leading professional in the handling, protection, and destruction of ALL potential sources of our customers' data.


Computers and Laptops 

At times, our customers would like the extra peace of mind knowing that their data is erased prior to transporting and recycling their equipment. There are options that can be done prior to the dropoff or pickup of your desktop computers and laptops.

    • Preferred - The easiest, and complete erasure of data while still enabling the equipment to be reused is to download and use a free program that has been around for a very long time: Darik's Boot And Nuke or DBAN. You can visit them here. The free program can be downloaded to a bootable disk or thumb drive. Once the program has ran and completed, your data is forensically nonrecoverable.  This method will take approximately 8 hours per terabyte of hard drive space to complete.
    • Most Satisfying - Long term data is stored on the hard drive within the desktop or laptop. You can remove the hard drive from the equipment. You will want to consult your owners manual or simply refer to examples on YouTube to remove the hard drive. Please keep the screws and caddies for potential reuse in a ziplock bag. Next, use any creative way to take out your frustrations on the hard drive. Remember to focus on the circular platters which contain the data. Laptop drive platters will shatter. Desktop drives will require more substantial damage. When you're done, you can still recycle the drives with us!

The easiest and most thorough way of protecting your valuable data is by simply leaving your equipment with Earth Friendly Recycling. Every hard drive is treated identically once received with professional handling precautions. All hard drives are assessed, tested, and wiped, or physically destroyed. Certificates of destruction are available at no cost. Want your drive tested, wiped, and returned? Ask for a low cost quote.


Cell Phones and Tablets 

Older cell phones may have once only contained some old text messages and your contacts phone numbers. While even that getting into the wrong hands could make some people cringe, smartphones today contain much more sensitive data and should be cleared before it could possibly be put into the wrong hands. Before recycling your cell phone or tablet, there are some things you should do to protect your personal information. 

    • Access your system settings and find the system reset function. When resetting your phone, be sure to check that the reset you are doing will erase all of your personal information. Some settings will retain your information if not properly selected. 
    • Make sure that any SD card that is inside the phone or tablet is either removed and kept or erased using the cell phone system functions.
    • Remove the SIM card if you have one. This card retains a large portion of personal data and should be removed and destroyed.
    • Last, turn the device back on and access where photos, texts, apps, and files would be stored. Ensure they are gone.

If you want to ensure your data is protected without going through all this, simply leave your equipment with Earth Friendly Recycling. Every cell phone and tablet is factory reset with all data being verified as completely erased prior to reuse. Cell phones and tablets that are beyond reuse are destroyed by a certified downstream third party shredder.



This equipment is not normally associated with data theft. However low the chances, Earth Friendly Recycling does not risk your information. While the majority of printers do not have storage capabilities, many have scanning and copying functions. Believe it or not, these items are recycled very often with pages left on the scanning glass. Proprietary business secrets, customer information, tax return documents, bank statements, ID cards and more have been found left on these machines. As part of our pre-check, we verify the items are free from potential sensitive documents left prior to transport to shredding or reuse. Please follow these steps to protect yourself when reselling or recycling your printer:

    • Remove all paper from the printer, including the feed trays. Include looking into the various printer access panels for any paper that may be jammed in the machine.
    • Check the scanner glass for left items if your printer has this function.

For a worry free recycling experience, Earth Friendly Recycling checks all this for you if you forget!



This equipment also is not normally associated with data theft. What many people don't know is that many commercial copiers contain a hard drive that stores every image that was ever scanned, copied or faxed. This sensitive information can be easily retrieved and be disastrous in the wrong hands. As part of our pre-check on commercial copiers, we verify the equipment is free from potential sensitive documents left on the copier or potentially jammed in the mechanisms prior to transport to shredding or reuse. If the equipment contains a hard drive, the hard drive is removed and wiped or destroyed. Please follow these steps to protect yourself when reselling or recycling your copier:

    • Remove all paper from the copier, including the feed trays. Include looking into the various copier access panels for any paper that may be jammed in the machine.
    • Check the copier glass for left items.
    • Check the documentation of your copier to determine if the copier has a storage drive and how to safely remove it. You may give the drive to us for wiping or shredding, or destroy the drive yourself.

For the safest copier recycling experience, let Earth Friendly Recycling check all the details for you!


VHS and DVD Players

This equipment will almost never result in a data theft situation. This isn't to say that personal information can't be lost and compromised.

    • You may never get back the only recording of a passed away relative. Or the first birthday of your child? Check inside the machine and remove any media prior to reselling or recycling. 

While we can't promise to get any personal media back to you, Earth Friendly Recycling ensures no one else gets it. We make sure personal and private recordings stay personal and private.