Data Destruction and the Environment

It is a good thing that there is currently an intense focus on the preservation and protection of the environment. The data destruction industry plays an essential role in this movement because it is slowly phasing out redundant data destruction methods. 

The need to create and transfer large amounts of data keeps growing, hand-in-hand with the practice of secure data destruction techniques that are both effective and environmentally-friendly.

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Classified, personal, and sensitive data destruction solutions have increased in a bid to decrease cybercrime. Soon, cybercriminals won’t be able to harvest data from destroyed electronics and devices. 

But an environmental concern that the data destruction industry is yet to address is how to recycle these useless devices. Devices and electronics are manufactured with different forms of non-biodegradable materials and are likely to pollute the environment. 

This article will address the hurdles that the data destruction industry encounters in the destruction of different media forms. It will also touch on the industry’s continual advances towards a greener direction.

Paper

The first and most common form of media is paper; thankfully, it is a recyclable material. There are restrictions the data destruction industry needs to bear in mind for secure data destruction as far as paper is concerned. 

First, the recycling process for paper should be conducted in bulk. Paper has to be compacted in volume so that tiny pieces of paper don’t slip through the cracks and interfere with the machinery. 

Many recyclers have designated drop-off points where they pick paper meant for recycling. Traditional recycling companies usually rejected shredded paper because compacting it in this form is close to impossible. If they have to take shredded paper, they charge supplemental fees for the additional effort shredded paper requires.

More modern recycling centers have equipment that automatically compress shredded paper. This saves businesses from paying extra to have their waste paper recycled. 

Optical Media

Next up, we have optical media, which includes DVDs, CDs, and Blue-ray Discs. This form of media represents one of the greatest recycling challenges in the data destruction industry. The discs are made of plastic resins, and they don’t even have a resin identification code.

Most traditional recycling companies reject all optical media forms because it is hard to know what material you are dealing with. 

In as much as the internet is swamped with DIY solutions, many companies cannot repurpose used optical discs because they hold highly sensitive data. Besides, the rigid data destruction regulations that have been put in place do not allow organizations to repurpose media that still hold individuals’ personal data. Case in point, the NSA (National Security Agency) requires companies to completely destroy all data on optical media using proper data erasure solutions to avoid security vulnerabilities

There are well-established recycling centers that offer optical media recycling today. Many handles even previously shredded discs to ensure everything is reduced to dust. To render all discs impervious to data harvest, data destruction at SPW ensures that they’re impossible to reconstruct.

Hard Disk Drives (HDDs)

Hard disk drives have grown quite popular because of their large capacity. Individuals, as well as organizations, use them to store data. HDDs are usually manufactured with plastic and metal alloys, which, thankfully, are reusable and recyclable. They are electro-mechanical data storage devices that have many recycling options. 

Many organizations use them to store personally identifiable information (PII). For this reason, they have to first physically destroy or shred all HDDs to render the data untraceable. Completely shredding HDDs onsite and then sending them off for reuse or recycling is the best option in this case as it guarantees environmental sustainability. 

If you choose to use a third-party data destruction company, you will be liable if any original data gets retrieved somehow. This has happened many times before, and it could happen to you. To avoid risking non-compliance, work with a well-reputed data destruction company that has the right software and equipment. 

Flash Media 

Flash media come in many different forms, but the most common ones are USB flash drives, SSDs, and cellular devices with SIM cards. To eradicate data from flash media, they have to be completely destroyed. 

If you want to sell the devices, you should work with a data erasure company which has the software to wipe all data. All flash media that contain classified and sensitive information put you at risk of non-compliance. 

Countless used cell phones that get purchased have been found to still have information belonging to the previous user. That is why physical destruction is the most secure data destruction method in this case. 

Green-minded organizations recycle all the materials that were used to manufacture the flash media in their possession. Popular brands offer their consumers recycling options to reduce non-biodegradable waste in the environment. Such brands refine and recycle all valuable materials to create new compounds. 

Conclusion 

It is clear that the data destruction industry will always play a huge role in environmental conservation. Secure data destruction procedures should go as far as ensuring that companies are not adding e-wastes to the environment. Working with a well-reputed data erasure company is a contribution towards environmental protection. 

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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