Data Doctors: How to recycle your tech properly – WTOP News

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Q: What do I need to do to my smart TV before I get rid of it and where can I take it?

A: It’s that time of year when many households are replacing older technology with the latest and greatest, leading to important questions of data privacy and proper disposal.

Resetting your smart TV

Smart TVs connect to streaming services without the need for an external device, which means you need to remove your account credentials before you get rid of them.

If you don’t, whoever ends up with it could use your accounts to rent or buy an almost endless number of movies and TV shows.

If you’ve saved any photos or videos to the device, you’ll want to make sure you back them up before deleting them.

You should also go through each of your streaming services and manually sign out of your accounts for good measure before performing a factory reset of the TV.

The reset option will be in the ‘Settings’ menu of your TV. If you can’t locate it, go to the support website for your TV to get the exact instructions.

Once you reset the TV, whether you donate, sell, or recycle it, you can rest assured that no one will be able to take advantage of your accounts.

The electronic waste problem

Every tech device in your household is filled with toxic waste. Unfortunately, most people dispose of it improperly.

Commonly referred to as ‘e-waste,’ when it ends up in our landfills, it can lead to a variety of harmful environmental impacts.

Current estimates are that only 15% of the electronic waste in the U.S. is properly recycled, so if you’re looking for a meaningful New Year resolution, responsibly disposing of e-waste is a good one.

Toxic and hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and beryllium are just the beginning of the harmful agents that can end up in our soil, air, and groundwater.

Even the plastic coating on cables that connect components inside your devices can release harmful dioxins if they’re incinerated.

Repurpose or recycle

Unless your tech is really old, it’s quite possible that someone else can make use of it. Check with your friends and family to see if anyone can use it or look for charitable organizations that accept usable technology.

If you can’t find a way to repurpose it, make sure you find a responsible recycling option in your area.

Those who live in the Phoenix metro area can drop off their old technology at any Data Doctors location year-round for both the potential for repurposing and recycling.

We work with AZ StRUT, a nonprofit focused on providing students with technical education and responsible recycling.

Computer hard drives are securely deleted for you, but smartphones should be factory reset by the owner before dropping them off.

If you have a large amount of technology to dispose of or have an old CRT or rear projection TV, you’ll need to contact AZ StRUT directly for pickup.

National resources for responsible recycling include Earth911 for most tech devices and Call2Recycle for cellphones and batteries.

Ken Colburn is founder and CEO of Data Doctors Computer Services. Ask any tech question on Facebook or Twitter.

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Data Doctors: How to recycle your tech properly – WTOP News

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