Electronics recycling should come with some instructions

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By LEE SCOTT

There was a recent announcement in the newspaper about the recycling program going on in Beaufort County on Feb. 8. It takes place over at the Beaufort County Recycling Center at 120 Shanklin Road which is near the Marine Corps Air Station.

This announcement motivated me to pull out some of our old electronics.

It did not take long for the dining room table to look like a counter in an old Radio Shack Store. There were old phones, old radios, personal computers, a laser jet printer, and a box of unidentifiable cords. I also found two old (broken) DVD players. Time to purge!

Like many of our friends, we have hesitated to recycle any of these electronics because of all the private information still loaded on them. And we are not savvy to know how to strip the information.

I asked one of my IT gurus about getting rid of old computers and he said, “I do not get rid of them. I just extend my network capacity.”

“Huh?” I replied.

He was no help at all.

Then I went on YouTube because it seems like there is a video for everything you want to do. I found the information to remove the hard drive from my 2010 Sony Personal Computer.

There was also information on how to “clean” phones. But without the proper cords to charge the old phones, it was impossible.

I had also considered just selling some of the old iPhones. Turned out our pile included three old Apple iPhones.

I called one of the places that buys old cell phones and the agent suggested I go out to my garage, grab a hammer and smash the Apple iPhone 3 to pieces.

Talk about rude! I spent good money on that phone. It evidently has no value.

That is the problem. We all paid good money for these devices and now they are worthless.

As you can imagine, no one was giving me any good suggestions for wiping the memory, but my daughter suggested that I look at chargers from other devices.

Sure enough, I found my old cracked iPad (another thing on the table) and it had a charger that fit the old phones. I charged the phones, went to the settings and put the phones back to factory default setting, which supposedly wiped the memory.

I am not sure, but if anyone wants my contacts from 10 years ago, have at them.

So, my suggestion to the people running these recycling days: Have a seminar to instruct the public on how to wipe off all the private information.

Because, if most people are like us, this stuff is piling up in their homes and it really needs to go.

Lee Scott, a writer and recent retiree, shares her everyday observations about life after career. A former commercial banker responsible for helping her clients to reach their business objectives, Scott now translates those analytical skills to her writings. She lives on St. Helena Island and enjoys boating, traveling and reading.