Computer Recycling-Environmental Health & Safety - Carnegie Mellon University

Computer Recycling

Important Changes to the Computer Recycling Program!!

In addition to our convenient process to dispose of old and unneeded computer monitors and CPUs, Environmental Health and Safety has added a service that includes data destruction of the contents of the hard drive. We are using a process that follows US Department of Defense procedures for this work.

Recently, we have noticed that computers with potentially sensitive data may have been left unsecured while awaiting pick-up by our recycling contractor. Also, computers that were given away or otherwise disposed of without the hard drives being “wiped” are causes for concern. Our new procedure can prevent future access to the restricted data that may be contained on our “unwanted” computers.

The following statement comes from the University’s Director of Information Security:

  • “No computer containing unencrypted “personal information” covered under the Pennsylvania Breach of Personal Information Notification Act shall ever be placed in a physical (or logical) location where the hard disks may be accessed by an unauthorized person. This includes computers waiting for recycling pick-up.
  • “Personal information” is defined as an individual’s first name (or first initial) and last name linked with one or more of the following data elements: (1) their Social Security number (2) their driver’s license number, or (3) their financial account number or credit or debit card number in combination with any required access code or password.
  • Any concerns about a possible breach of “personal information” must be reported immediately to the Information Security Office (”

Rising costs for this program have necessitated changes to the list of computer-related items the University will accept for recycling. These items will be limited to materials that are either mandated for recycling for because of hazardous material content or that must be recycled by our program to address data security issues.

The following items MUST continue to be recycled by ALL of our University community:

  • All cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors.
  • All CPUs or any related item that has electronic data or information stored on/in it.

The data will be destroyed by our recycling contractor according to University specifications designed to prevent data from being recovered by unauthorized persons. Do not attempt to destroy any data yourself—it is unnecessary for you to do so and may adversely affect the value of the items as recycled product.

Remember that the items for recycling must remain physically and logically secured awaiting pick-up. Items with hard drives still present must NOT be left in hallways or otherwise where they may be scavenged.

The following items WILL NO LONGER be accepted by our program, effective immediately:

  • Keyboards
  • Mice
  • Printers
  • Wiring and miscellaneous connections

The above items may be disposed of in the standard trash, or scrap metal dumpster, if appropriate.

Computer Recycling Program

If you have any CRT or computer with a hard drive you no longer need, please do the following:

  1. Attach a label that identifies the items as either "working" or "broken".
  2. Contact your department's Property Accounting Officer, and complete a form M for the proper disposal of Capital Assets. Contact the Property Accounting Office at 8-2099 if you don't know who your property accounting officer is.
  3. Complete and submit an online Computer Pick-up Request Form (See the Helpful Links box) identifying the items you are submitting for removal. (For example: 3 broken monitors, 5 working monitors, 2 working CPUs, etc.).

This service is available to Carnegie Mellon Staff, Faculty and Students only. The items will be picked up by our contractor from your location so someone must be present during the scheduled pick-up times, unless prior arrangements have been made.

All requests for computer pick-ups must be made by 5 PM on the Friday before the scheduled pick-up. Late requests may not be performed until the following month's pick-up. Large quantity requests may need to be specially scheduled to allow for additional trucks or personnel. You will be contacted if a change in the scheduled date is needed.

Your items will be picked up between 9:30 AM and 3:00 PM on the following dates:

  • Regular computer pickups will be held the first Thursday of each month.
  • Smaller pickup requests, and any missed pickups, will be filled on the following Monday.

If you have any questions regarding the Computer Re-use/Recycling Program at Carnegie Mellon, please contact EH&S at 8-8182.

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