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Mac 911: Disposing of your old technology

Christopher Breen, | April 28, 2011
How can you responsibly dispose of a box full of floppy disks without sharing your personal information with the world?

Reader John Boyd would like to do his bit for the planet (as well as clear out a box of ancient technology). He writes:

In cleaning out my garage I came across a box stuffed full of old 3.5” floppy disks. What would be a safe and ecological method for disposing them? A lot have personal data on them. I thought about using them as drink coasters, but we’re talking about 200+ disks. Drill a hole through them to keep them from being used?

A drill, though tedious, is certainly an option. You could also remove the metal shutter and spring from each one and then, in batches, toss them into a nearby microwave and give them a 10-second treatment.

Once you’re confident that your personal data won’t be compromised, recycle them. There are a variety of ways to do this. Companies such as GreenDisk will take shipped e-waste for a price and dispose of it responsibly. But there’s a good chance that you may not need to look so far afield. Your local waste disposal service may take and recycle your e-waste. Some community services and schools do as well, as they can then turn around and sell it to recyclers. In this regard, Google is your friend.


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