Harvard offers secure and sustainable electronics recycling for free

2 min read

Most of us are familiar with recycling paper and plastic, but did you know electronics can be recycled, too? Because many of our old phones, computers, and other electronics contain small amounts of heavy metals or old personal data, it is especially important to make sure the data is securely destroyed and the items safely recycled.

As part of Harvard’s commitment to sustainability and information security, Harvard University Information Technology and the Harvard Office for Sustainability have teamed up to offer free secure and sustainable electronics recycling during the month of April — April 19 at the Science Center Plaza and April 25–26 on the Longwood campus.

Both personal and University electronics and devices will be accepted at the events, ensuring that all sensitive and personal data is removed from the devices before they are responsibly recycled.

“It’s easy to look past the risks of disposing of electronics that may contain residual data stored on them, and for those who understand the risks, it can be difficult to know what to do,” said the Chief Information Security Officer for Harvard University Information Technology. “That’s why I am thrilled to be collaborating with the Office for Sustainability to create this great opportunity for members of the Harvard Community to dispose of unwanted electronics in a way that is both secure and kind to the environment.”

Harvard’s University-wide Sustainability Plan outlines a commitment to recycling or disposing of hazardous and electronic materials in a responsible and ethical manner, and forthcoming Sustainable IT Standards will encourage the repair or recycling of all electronic materials in a secure and sustainable manner, using certified vendors.

“When it comes to electronics, we have a particular responsibility to keep them out of landfills — for health, environmental, and information security reasons,” said David Havelick, sustainability manager for the Harvard Office for Sustainability. “Collection events like this are crucial to making it convenient for our community to do the right thing, even with their personal electronics from home.”

Data destruction and electronics recycling will be done free-of-charge by a Harvard preferred vendor, DataShredder. They will be accepting an exhaustive range of electronics from computers, to cell phones, to lab equipment. Certificates of secure destruction will also available upon request.