Technology is constantly changing and the rules on how to recycle computers have as well. Computers used in business are becoming cheaper and more efficient. It is often cheaper and easier to replace older equipment. There are many benefits on why a law firm should recycle computers, especially when needing to keep up with business growth and to manage a large amount of data.
This means that a company will have to dispose of old devices on a regular schedule. It can be difficult to manage electronic waste in large firms, where every attorney has a desktop or laptop computer (or both), as well as a cell phone.
Why Responsible Recycling Electronics Is Important
What should a company do when they need to replace their old, slow-running computers? Two reasons electronic waste should not be thrown in the landfill are very important. The first is that electronics cannot be dumped in landfills for health reasons and environmental concerns. E-waste can be toxic to the environment as well as to people. Electronics do not need to be thrown away. You can recycle computers, even precious metals contained inside. It is much more beneficial for the environment and often cheaper to extract and reuse materials than to mine or make them new.
Protecting confidential client records in any device that is used by the firm is the second reason to not just throw away used electronics. This is a very important point for attorneys. According to the Federal Trade Commission’s Disposal Rule (16 CFR Part 682), companies that dispose of computer equipment must take steps to delete personal or financial data.
To maintain client confidentiality, attorneys will shred paper records and then discard them. They must also address how they will dispose of digital data. It is not as simple as pressing the delete key. It is not possible to completely erase confidential data from devices by wiping, writing over, or erasing their drives or other storage media. Professionals can still access data on intact drives, but this puts confidential information at risk.
How to Manage an Electronic Recycling Program
Reliable ways to recycle computers are essential for law firms. A reputable vendor will verify that all data has been destroyed. Shredding the data storage device is the only way to ensure that no data can ever be recovered.
Ecycle Florida will use a process to destroy hard drives. This includes logging serial numbers of all items received, tracking them through shredding, and giving a certificate of destruction to customers, and then safely recycle computers that have been stripped. Another device that could contain client-sensitive information is the cell phone. Some firms have attorneys responsible for purchasing their cell phones. If the phones are used for work purposes, however, the policy of some firms is to require that the phones be encrypted and be remotely wipeable if lost or stolen.
While it is common for lawyers to use one phone for professional and personal purposes, there is a growing trend for the old practice of using two phones. Clients, especially large banks, are starting to ask whether lawyers should have a separate cell phone for business purposes and not mingle social activities with work on the other. If the attorney moves to another employer, the law office can keep the cellphone and make sure the data is secure.
Recycle old cell phones to recover metals and other materials. Discarded memory devices can also be recycled.
A Digital Asset Management Plan is recommended for those who are responsible for buying and disposing of digital assets in law firms. It includes procedures and policies to safeguard data and dispose of devices that are not functional. This will ensure compliance and peace of mind. Contact Ecycle Florida today to recycle computers that you need to go safely and to set your mind at ease!