Today’s Question: With external hard drives offering increased capacity with less cost, many of us have accumulated many drives that we no longer use. Can you recommend a means whereby we can dispose of them with assurances that the drive will be erased and do so in an environmentally respectful manner?
Tim’s Quick Answer: You can recycle your hard drives for free with a service such as one provided by Western Digital. Storage devices from any manufacturer can be recycled through this program, not just Western Digital devices.
More Detail: Hard drives include a variety of materials that can be recycled. Recycling a hard drive ensures that the drive will be destroyed and that the materials will be recycled rather than put into a landfill.
Western Digital (among others) offers a recycling program through a partner, which involves shredding the storage device and separating the component materials for recycling. You can have your storage devices recycled at no cost to you, including free shipping of the devices. In the case of the Western Digital program, you’ll even get a coupon good for 15% off your next purchase of $50 or more in exchange for recycling your storage devices with the program.
While this program does involve the destruction of the storage devices you send in for recycling, which means the data on those devices will be destroyed as well, I do recommend wiping the hard drive before sending it in, out of an abundance of caution. And, of course, make sure that you have already saved and backed up any data on the drives before sending them in for recycling.
You can get more of the details and initiate the process of recycling your old storage devices here: