Protecting your privacy also applies when you recycle your electronics. Here are some tips below on how to dispose of old electronics. 
 

Before You Donate or eCycle Your Cell Phone 

Before disposing of your cell phone, you want to make sure you have backed up all valuable information and erased all sensitive data from the phone and the SIM card. 
 
Clear the phone’s memory of contacts and stored data. Manually delete the data that is stored on your phone following your product manual's instructions. Otherwise, use a data erasing tool. 
 
If you’re not going to reuse your SIM card, destroy it by shredding it or cutting it in half. 
 
If applicable, remember to terminate your service.
 
 

Before You Donate or eCycle Your Computer 

Unbeknownst to many users, anyone can recover your deleted files off of an old hard drive unless additional steps are taken to completely erase the information. Likewise, simply formatting a hard drive does not destroy the data contained on it. A truly clean hard drive requires special erasing software to delete all personal information. 
 
Personal information includes your Internet browser's cache, cookies, history; your email contacts and messages; your documents; your recycle or trash folder; and all nontransferable software. There are two ways to prepare your hard drive before recycling. 
 
Clean the hard drive yourself. You can purchase erasing software from commercial sites or get it for free from shareware sites. 
 
Contact a professional that will clean the hard drive for you. Many companies use reputable disk cleaning software that overwrites all data and verifies that the information is erased. 
 

Where to eCycle Your Cell Phone and Computer 

eCycling is the term used for how we reuse and recycle electronics responsibly. There are likely to be several eCycling resources available to you. 
 
  • Check with the manufacturer of your cell phone or computer. Many manufacturers sponsor recycling programs.
  • Check with your local electronics retailer. Many big box stores offer some kind of take back program.
  • Contact your local Goodwill store. Selected locations will recycle cell phones while others accept a variety of electronics from cell phones to televisions and computers.
  • Consider a local charity organization. Some will recycle computers and make them available to people with disabilities. 


Learn more about eCycling your electronics

Refer to these helpful Web sites for more information.
 


Donate to Goodwill

Connect with your local Goodwill to find out which electronic items they'll accept. 
 
In Southeastern Wisconsin Goodwill, you can donate your personal computers—hard drive/tower, monitor, mouse, keyboard and printer. Visit the following link for information on how to erase data before donating your computer. These local Goodwill stores are now a part of RECONNECT, a computer recycling program managed by both Goodwill & Dell. RECONNECT offers you an easy, convenient and responsible way to recycle your used computer equipment. 
 
In North-Central Wisconsin visit www.goodwillncw.org and www.increaseyourgoodwill.org

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