Posts Tagged ‘e-waste’

Four Tips to Protect your Data

Data breaches from cyber attacks are all over the news today. Although these types of security breaches are becoming more common, and more devastating, to the organizations and people involved, there is another kind of breach that is just as alarming.

Often times, informal transportation or improper storage of end-of-life electronics are the culprit. In untrained hands, sensitive information can be leaked, stolen or lost on the way to recycling centers or can be forgotten in dusty storage areas.

Consumers and businesses alike should be aware that electronic waste that is not disposed of properly poses a threat to sensitive data left on the devices. Finding a responsible electronics recycler will eliminate the risk of data breaches and grant the much-needed peace of mind that companies and individuals need.

Implementing a positive plan to combat electronic waste data breaches is the only realistic way to ensure that sensitive information remains safeguarded for end-of-life electronics.

Here are four tips to protect the valuable data contained on devices within your home, organization or business:

1. Get the best third party data destruction provider available

Laws and regulations ban dumping e-Waste into landfills and require specific methods for collection and disposal based on government guidelines.

When electronics devices reach end-of-life or are no longer wanted, relying on disposal plans managed by employees and staff for data destruction and e-Waste disposal is not effective, and leaves companies open to liability for breaches.

Instead, rely on a responsible R2/RIOS certified company with secure measures in place to handle the proper recycling of e-Waste and secure destruction of the information on hard drives and other data devices.

2. Avoid long-term storage of end-of-life devices

Long-term storage can increase the risk of loss or theft, which leads to serious data breaches. In fact, many data breach cases are the result of computers left to sit in off-site storage facilities with little or no regulation or supervision of the information contained on hard drives and storage devices.

Rather than choosing to place end-of-life devices in storage, creating an electronic waste disposal plan is the better choice. The plan should ensure that storage time is minimal or completely eliminated, thereby decreasing the risk of theft, loss or inadvertent exposure of sensitive information.

3. Know the laws on data destruction

Here in the U.S., most states with electronic recycling laws also require vendors to follow government regulations to ensure that consumer information remains safe. It is important to be aware of which guidelines apply to your organization and to organize an electronic waste disposal plan around them.

4) The best tip of all is too choose a responsible, certified electronics recycler who provides secure data destruction. This is the most effective way to ensure proper management and secure destruction of sensitive information contained on the hard drives of electronic drives.

Recycle with data security at the forefront

We live in a world where company and personal information is a highly valued commodity. It is crucial that companies do everything they can to stop their sensitive information from falling into the wrong and most devastating hands.

Recent mega-breaches by the numbers*:

Target: 40 million – The number of credit and debit cards thieves stole from Target between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, 2013

eBay: 145 million people affected

JP Morgan Chase & Co.: 76 million households and 7 million small businesses affected

CHS Community Health Systems: 4.5 million people affected

Michael’s Stores: 2.6 million people affected

Neiman Marcus: 1.1 million people affected

The result?

Mega breaches are mega expensive! The average cost of a data breach for a company is $188 per record. Based on an average 28,765 records per US breach, one study identified a total organization cost of $5,403,644 per data breach.*

A call for change!

According to eWeek, “An alarming number of widely publicized data breaches is sparking change in the attitudes of business leaders and consumers when it comes to cyber-security. Consumers and regulators alike are demanding more communication and remedies from businesses after data breaches occur. As a result, the topic is one of the highest priorities facing businesses and regulators in 2015.”

Although the spotlight has been on infiltration by a criminal hacker, breaches can happen as a result of a company’s negligence in handling its end-of-life electronics; computers, hard drives, cell phones and all other data-bearing devices.

It is a paradox that while electronic waste is entering the waste stream at an accelerated pace, there’s little to no information on what happens to e-waste in the end – and the chaos that can ensue if not handled properly and responsibly.

By carefully reviewing an organization’s electronics and data disposal process, companies can nip the problem in the bud.

How can we do our part in helping to thwart data breaches?

Make it a top priority to outsource the management of unwanted electronics equipment to those who are qualified and experienced in handling recycling and data security management.

Be sure to use a R2/RIOS Certified, responsible recyling/data destruction company. These are highly regulated companies who achieve the highest level of excellence. Look for other certifications and compliances as well – HIPAA, DoD, NIST, NAID, NSA. For more information, check out WWW.PCSMASS.com

* According to the 2014 Ponemon Institute Report

** In May 2013, the Ponemon Institute released its 2013 Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Analysis (“Ponemon Study”),

E-Waste not want not

Are old computers, monitors and power supplies piling up around you? Now is the time to PROPERLY get rid of ALL the old electronics hanging around your place of work. PC Survivors of Massachusetts, LLC (PCS MASS) is your one-stop shop for the responsible disposal of everything electronic.

Why can’t you just throw it all out on the curb, toss in the dumpster or go to the dump? Quite simply, improper disposal of e-waste (electronics waste) is illegal and a danger to the environment. “But it’s just a cell phone/battery/hard drive/etc.” you may ask. “Maybe if I hide it in a trash bag and toss, nobody will notice?” You can be well assured our Earth will notice. As will the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when they serve you up a severe fine.

Actually the materials inside of electrical devices can be a danger if not securely disposed. Imagine a land-fill chock full of e-waste where they will eventually release pollutants like nickel, lead, cadmium and mercury into our air, ground water and soil. Think of children brushing there teeth with this water – yuck – and extremely health hazardous. How about the fresh produce we eat and the grass-fed beef we consume? Think of the soil from which plants sprout. The long-term effects are scary.

Equally, if not more frightening, according to the EPA Americans disposed of 3,420,000 TONS of e-waste in 2012 (most recent year there is data).

E-waste is defined as any discarded electronic/electrical device (computers, cell phones, televisions, medical equipment, etc.), and is the fastest growing sector of waste in the United States.

Everybody needs to do their part and REUSE, RECOVER and RECYCLE! PCS MASS is one of the few RIOS/R2* certified recyclers in New England who are compliant with state and federal regulators such as NSA*, NIST*, DoD* and HIPPA*. What exactly do all these acronyms mean? Quite simply, they mean that PCS MASS upholds the highest standards for responsible electronics recycling. (If you like to translate acronyms – see below *)

What sets PCS MASS apart from other companies who also recycle e-waste, is that we are certified to ALSO PROVIDE SECURE on-site and off-site DATA DESTRUCTION; regulated by these same mandates.

There are several simple choices as to how to dispose of your e-waste. If you are in New England, first call PCS MASS 1-844-514-5093 or check out our website www.pcsmass.com. PCS MASS has large trucks that will come to your office, hospital, building, lab and safely pick up your e-waste. Or you can call first and schedule to drop it at our warehouse in Weymouth, MA. Every item will be documented and you will receive certification of secure disposal.

Here is a partial list of e-waste that is most-likely accumulating in your office now!

PCs/Laptops/Notebooks/Tablets
Servers/Server Racks/Network Equipment
Hard Drives/DLT Tape/Memory Chips/Circuit Cards
LCD Monitors
Cell Phones/Cameras/CD,DVD, VHS Players
Printers/Faxes/Copiers
Batteries/UPS
Keyboards/Mice/Cords/Cables
POS Equipment
Medical/Lab/Dental Equipment
Plus much more-(see www.pcsmass.com for a complete list)

If everyone puts forth a little extra effort and responsibly disposes of e-waste, we can use the almost 3.5 million tons of space currently taken up year over year, by this needless waste – for something good. How about organic farms? Parks? E-Waste in our landfills – NOT!

* Acronyms:
RIOS/R2: Responsible Industry Operating Standard/Recycle and Reuse
NSA: National Security Agency
NIST:National Institute of Standards and Technology
DoD: Department of Defense
HIPAA: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

Destruction means business!

Reprint: Boston Globe
Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

PCS co-owner Lisa Bacewicz with “The Green Monster.”
By Paul E. Kandarian, Globe Correspondent February 15, 2015

Got unwanted high-tech gear laying about, such as old computers, printers, cellphones, and hard drives, and not sure what to do with them? PCS of Massachusetts (PCS MASS), a Weymouth company started in 2005 by Lisa Bacewicz and her husband, Charles, shreds old equipment to recycle the material, and also specializes in data destruction. We talked with Lisa Bacewicz for this story.

Q. Why did you start doing this?

A. We were involved in the resale of old electronic equipment, which was a big industry before 2005. But the industry changed rapidly, and obsolete and surplus equipment doesn’t hold the value it used to. That’s why we went to the next stage of responsible recycling.

Q. What do you do?

A. We’re a certified responsible recycler of all electronic waste, including secure and compliant on-site hard drive and data destruction. We take in e-waste from companies. We bring a shredder on a 26-foot box truck, a big green box we call “The Green Monster.” We take custody of the data and provide a videotaped seven-step destruction process. Anything with encrypted data can be shredded, and we can reduce hard drives to pieces the size of your pinky finger. The metal can be refined into new products. We also have a drop-off at our office for people to drop off office-related waste for free, though there is a charge for computer terminals.

Q. Who are your customers?

A. We work all over New England with hospitals, health care facilities, attorneys, major corporations. Everyone in this day and age with an office will have electronics that eventually become obsolete: phone systems, printers, fax machines, power supplies, cords, batteries. Everything can be destroyed and recycled. Any company with regard for client information or personal information should be reaching out to a certified recycler. Most recently, we earned our R2/RIOS certification from Sustainable Electronics Recycling International.

Q. Why is data destruction important?

A. For years, people lacked understanding of what happens to data on hard drives, tapes, or other memory material. Breaches have brought awareness to the point they’re looking for viable, secure ways to destroy data so it doesn’t get into the wrong hands.

Q. Business is good?

A. Extremely. We’re hiring more people, and by the middle of the year will move to a larger facility on the South Shore.

Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at pkandarian@ aol.com.

NEWS

AT&T Fined $52 Million for Dumping E-Scrap

Telecommunications giant AT&T has reached a $52 million settlement with the state of California for illegally dumping scrap electronics in state landfills.
The settlement was announced on Nov. 20 by California’s attorney general and was described by state officials as their first e-scrap management enforcement action against a telecom company.

“This settlement holds AT&T accountable for unlawfully dumping electronic waste. The illegal disposal of hazardous waste can lead to serious environmental and health risks for California communities. AT&T will be required to implement strict compliance measures at its facilities that set an example for other companies to safeguard our communities against hazardous waste.” The settlement calls for the company to pay $23.8 million in fines.

Please call PCS MASS to discuss Responsible Electronics/Components Recycling and Secure On-Site Hard Drive Data Destruction Solutions!

PCS MASS is R2:2013 Certified!

R2/RIOS™ certification is solely for electronics recyclers to demonstrate to customers that electronics equipment is being recycled with the highest standards for environmental protection, worker health and safety, and data privacy, and facility security. A facility that has invested R2/RIOS™ certification has upgraded to the highest, most responsible standards in recycling.

Green thought for the day: Spring is a great time to start your businesses Spring cleaning and get organized for Summer. This means clearing out all those old PC’s that have accumulated over the past few months. Please call PCS of MA today to discuss “Green” Recycling Solutions and Secure On-Site Hard Drive Data Destruction services!

Safeguarding Data: Shred or delete these financial documents

Jeff Jaffe has a great rundown of what to get rid of this year after your taxes are done. Just call it mid-Spring cleaning. You can check out the full article here at the Enterprise. In addition to shredding documents with sensitive materials and information, Jaffe recommends being as vigilant with your computer files.

While getting rid of or changing electronic data doesn’t have the same visceral thrill of shredding the enemy into little bits, literally, it’s a challenge that most consumers need to take on, particularly in light of the Heartbleed bug, which taught us that threats can be sudden and come from nowhere even if initial scares over how much data is vulnerable might be overblown.

Jaffe says that most people keep too much paperwork/information around mostly because they don’t know what to get rid of and don’t have a plan to trim the excess. He offers up a list of forms and files you should examine when trying to rid your self of clutter.

Tax records:

Unless you’re filing fraudulent returns – for which there is no statute of limitations – reduce income tax returns into several stacks of paperwork

Old tax returns – especially those covering the purchase or sale of property – can be important for compiling future returns, possibly decades into the future. Thus, keeping the return documents in perpetuity is prudent, though not necessary when returns are decades old and several residences in the past; most tax preparers keep copies of your documents for the life of your advisory relationship, so you may have back-up there too.

“Support documents” – the receipts, bills and tax forms on which you based your tax math – must be kept for three years after a return is due. Purge the bulging pile of stuff from the 2010 return (filed in 2011, so the three-year holding period has passed).

Investment papers: Due to rules changes phased in since 2011, brokerage houses now provide cost information on stock purchases, mutual funds, options, bonds and other securities.

Don’t be too quick to shred old trading confirmations, however. Financial-services firms had to establish/maintain records beginning the year the rules went into effect (so 2011 for stocks, 2012 for mutual funds, etc.). Until you know the firm’s records are correct and complete, keep your trade confirmations.

Do, however, shred investment papers you don’t need. Year-end statements show all transactions for the year, allowing you to discard all monthly/quarterly documents except that year-ender.

Pay stubs, bank statements, canceled checks and consumer bills/receipts:

Your last paystub is useful for cross-checking your employer’s tax reporting, getting the value of donations made through payroll deductions and, depending on circumstances, recording the amount of money you paid for health-care coverage; all the rest – provided you got what you are entitled to and there are no disputes with your employer – have no value whatsoever.

Canceled checks today generally are mini images on a bank statement. You don’t need to keep records showing that you bought groceries or made a co-pay at the doctor’s office in 2010 or, worse, 1997. You should have clipped images with tax ramifications, making them part of your support documentation.

Old credit-card statements, utility bills, department-store and service-station charge card bills and the alike also get shredded in most circumstances. Anything covering tax-deductible expenses – like your electric bill if you have an office at home and deduct utility costs – gets treated like a support document.

Documents stored on electronic devices:

The rules here are the same – don’t keep things you don’t need – but also be sure your platform is secure. “A lot of people now use apps where they take pictures of documents with their smart phone and it scans them, and they store the documents, but they still have the pictures on their smart phone,” said Becky Frost, senior manager of consumer education, Experian Consumer Services. “You may not worry about clutter the way you do with paper documents, but you do have to worry about safety and identity theft.”

Passwords:

Consider this spring maintenance rather than “spring cleaning,” but several surveys have shown that at least two-thirds of people never change passwords or use one password for all accounts.

If you’re looking for a RELIABLE and RESPONSIBLE asset disposal service, PCS of Massachusetts is ready and willing to help you recycle your electronics and destroy your data.  PC Survivors of Massachusetts, L.L.C.  (R2) Certified,  86 Finnell Drive Unit 6,Weymouth, MA 02188 /Cell: 781-635-6281 /Office: 781-335-1220 / Fax: 781-335-1499 / www.pcsmass.com

30

04 2014

Recycling: Will You Be a Part of the Problem or the Solution

There’s a very interesting article over at PC Magazine called ‘ Are You Part of the E-Waste Problem or the Solution?’. Published to commemorate Earth Day (April 22), author Ibrahim Abdul-Matin calls on consumers to find out the specifics of proper recycling practices.

He asks, “what is your relationship to the planet? Do you know where the basic components of the items you use every day come from? Are you aware of the full life cycle of your products? Do you know where your batteries and other toxic materials land when you’re through with them? If you do not, then today, Earth Day, is the day to figure it out.”

Abdul-Matin also asks readers to self evaulate, adding the problem of e-waste isn’t going away anytime soon.

There are those who deny the existence of a problem. Second, there are those who exist in a constant state of fear, bombarding everyone with doomsday scenarios. Third, there are those who recognize a problem and seek to find a solution.

When Earth Day started we were just beginning to understand the power of computing in the popular imagination. Early innovators were fascinated by Moore’s Law. Now, as we inch closer and closer to singularity we have to wonder – how far are we getting from the planet that has traditionally sustained us? The reality is that the tech community is a critical part of the solution – as much as it is part of the problem.

There’s another PC article here, detailing ‘How to Recycle Your Technology.’

The best thing to do with this growing accumulation of old electronic equipment is to donate or recycle it. Donate your old computers and phones whenever you can to groups that will fix and clean them up and then put them back to good use. Even the oldest computer, something you consider the most obsolete of digital dinosaurs, can probably be used by someone.

If you’re looking for a RELIABLE and RESPONSIBLE asset disposal service, PCS of Massachusetts is ready and willing to help you recycle your electronics and destroy your data.  PC Survivors of Massachusetts, L.L.C.  (R2) Certified,  86 Finnell Drive Unit 6,Weymouth, MA 02188 /Cell: 781-635-6281 /Office: 781-335-1220 / Fax: 781-335-1499 / www.pcsmass.com

29

04 2014

Earth Day 2014 is on April 22

Earth Day is celebrated globally this month and there’s a ton of things you can do to show you care about the earth. Check out the full list of Earth Day pledges you can make here.  Properly recycling your e-waste is also a big part of the green push. Did you know that more than 50 million tons of electronic waste (e-waste) is generated each year in the U.S. alone and that only 20-25% of the waste is responsibly recycled?

As a direct consequence, large amounts of hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, and cadmium leach into our air and water, contaminating our communities. Help end this dangerous practice by pledging to recycle your e-waste in a safe and responsible manner.

If you’re looking for a RELIABLE and RESPONSIBLE asset disposal service, PCS of Massachusetts is ready and willing to help you recycle your electronics and destroy your data.  PC Survivors of Massachusetts, L.L.C.  (R2) Certified,  86 Finnell Drive Unit 6,Weymouth, MA 02188 /Cell: 781-635-6281 /Office: 781-335-1220 / Fax: 781-335-1499 / www.pcsmass.com

09

04 2014

News: 50m tons of e-waste generated every year in the UK

It’s not breaking news that e-waste numbers have been steadily rising, but it a bit shocking to read that in the UK 50 million tons of e-waste is currently being generated every year. In addition, researchers are convinced the number will continue to rise.

In an article over at the Guardian this week, writer Duncan Jeffries spoke with the Electronics TakeBack Coalition (ETBC), a group of organisations that promote green design and responsible recycling in the electronics industry.

“We’re buying more, getting rid of it [more quickly] and design changes are, in some ways, making recycling even more challenging,” says Barbara Kyle, the ETBC’s UK co-ordinator.

In fact, only around 13% of the e-waste generated each year is recycled. The increasing amounts of digital tech brought by middle-class consumers in China, India and Africa is a growing part of the problem. If the trend continues, the annual amount of global e-waste will be 65m tonnes by 2017, according to the STEP initiative (also known as solving the e-waste problem). Couple this with shortages of some rare earth metals and other resources from mining operations, and it is clear that something needs to change.

Part of the solution involves “closing the loop”, which in this context means reclaiming and reusing valuable materials from discarded devices in an ethical, environmentally friendly way.

Environmental Protection Agency figures suggest that recycling 1m mobile phones could recover 50 pounds of gold, 550 pounds of silver, 20 pounds of palladium and more than 20,000 pounds of copper. All of which helps to make the case for “urban mining”, reclaiming some of these valuable resources from the mountains of digital junk already out there.

If you’re looking for a reliable asset disposal service, PCS of Massachusetts is ready and willing to help you recycle your electronics and destroy your data.  PC Survivors of Massachusetts, L.L.C.  (R2) Certified,  86 Finnell Drive Unit 6,Weymouth, MA 02188 /Cell: 781-635-6281 /Office: 781-335-1220 / Fax: 781-335-1499 / www.pcsmass.com

09

04 2014

News: Federal Government Hints at E-Scrap Data Disclosure

During a Congressional electronics recycling hearing last week, a government official said federal agencies may soon be required to publicly report how they are disposing of end-of-life electronics, a development that could have significant implications for the data-starved e-scrap industry.

The remarks came from Kevin Kampschroer, a senior sustainability officer at the U.S. General Services Agency (GSA), during a Senate committee meeting that aimed to develop ideas on how the federal government can more effectively recycle end-of-life electronics. The federal government is the nation’s single largest generator of used electronics material.

“GSA, working with other federal agencies, is considering a policy that will include a requirement for agencies to submit data for all disposed electronics,” Kampschroer said in testimony before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. “This data, which could be publicly available on Data.gov, would provide greater transparency into federal agencies’ performance against the goals of the [National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship].”

Though Kampschroer stopped short of outlining the specifics or timeline for such a policy, the mere mention of federal government e-scrap data caught the attention of industry leaders, including one e-scrap executive who was sitting across the room.

Since 2012, federal agencies have followed a GSA policy that encourages reuse of electronics when possible and bans those items from landfills at end-of-life. The policy, which was crafted in response to an executive order from President Obama, directs agencies to route old electronics to e-scrap recycling firms certified to R2 or e-Stewards standards. But no formal process exists to check that the guidelines are actually being followed.

If you’re looking for a reliable asset disposal service, PCS of Massachusetts is ready and willing to help you recycle your electronics and destroy your data.  PC Survivors of Massachusetts, L.L.C.  (R2) Certified,  86 Finnell Drive Unit 6,Weymouth, MA 02188 /Cell: 781-635-6281 /Office: 781-335-1220 / Fax: 781-335-1499 / www.pcsmass.com

07

04 2014

The Dangers of Dumping E-Waste into Landfills

E-Waste such as old computers, tablets and even cell phones are piling up in American homes as new technology emerges everyday. Improper disposal of this waste can contaminate groundwater and the surrounding environments by releasing the toxic substances used to build these machines.

Take for instance cell phones. Many cell phone batteries contain Arsenic, a highly poisonous substance, which, if allowed to leak out into the environment, can cause severe skin problems even at low levels of exposure.

Cell phone batteries also contain lead, as does the solder used in putting together certain parts of the handset. Lead can damage the nervous system of humans and animals, as well as causing extensive damage to any local plant life. Disastrously, up to 40% of all of the lead found in landfill sites are from consumer electronics.

Mercury is found in many different parts of a cellphone, and because it is in a liquid form at room temperature, it can very easily find its way into streams and rivers. From there, it starts to build up and finds its way into the food chain. To put it bluntly, fish ingests it and then we consume fish. Mercury can cause all sorts of problems to health as a result of exposure which range from brain damage, to birth defects and miscarriage.

Instead, Recycle

Electronic products are made from valuable resources and materials, including metals, plastics, and glass, all of which require energy to mine and manufacture. Donating or recycling consumer electronics conserves our natural resources and avoids air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by manufacturing virgin materials.

Here are a few interesting facts about e-waste recycling and some tips on how to prepare your electronics for the process via the U.S. EPA

For example:

  • Recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 US homes in a year.
  • For every million cell phones we recycle, 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.

Before Donating or Recycling Your Used Electronics

  • For your computer or laptop, consider upgrading the hardware or software instead of buying a brand new product.
  • Delete all personal information from your electronics.
  • Remove any batteries from your electronics, they may need to be recycled separately.

 

If you’re looking for a reliable asset disposal service, PCS of Massachusetts is ready and willing to help you recycle your electronics and destroy your data.  PC Survivors of Massachusetts, L.L.C.  (R2) Certified,  86 Finnell Drive Unit 6,Weymouth, MA 02188 /Cell: 781-635-6281 /Office: 781-335-1220 / Fax: 781-335-1499 / www.pcsmass.com

18

03 2014