The education sector contains a metaphoric treasure trove of precious gems for cybercriminals. Schools and universities are especially vulnerable to attack. But the threat of a security breach doesn’t disappear when legacy systems have been taken offline. A policy for proper e-waste recycling must be enforced to minimize the risk of data leakage.

Within an educational institution’s network, there are sensitive student data that must be protected from data breaches. There are social security numbers, citizenship status, ethnicity, home addresses, test scores, criminal status, medical records, and more. However, not only is student data targeted, but the sensitive data of staff members are at risk too.

Once a school’s network is breached, and cybercriminals have access to confidential data, they will sell the student and staff member’s information at a premium on the black market. Once the breach is made public, the damage to the school’s reputation is impacted. The negative publicity can be brutal.

The Growing Need for E-waste Recycling in the School System

Even when old IT equipment is taken offline, the confidential data the devices still contain can yield a high return on the black market. As such, the liability to the school or university remains significant. Having a policy for properly disposing of outdated IT equipment removes the school’s risk of data leakage.

There are a few data destruction options that will permanently remove all traces of the confidential information from ever being recovered. The first option is to shred the device. Shredding the device destroys it, rendering it completely useless. From there, a recycling facility will adequately dispose of all the pieces

The second option is to securely delete all of the data from the device using either Level DoD 5220.22-M or NIST 800-88 guidelines. Both processes wipe the device completely clean of any data. At the same time, the device itself remains intact, allowing it to be repurposed and given new life in a secondary market. 

What Can and Should be Recycled?

In addition to networking and server equipment, classrooms contain all types of electronic devices. There are desktop computers, digitally interactive whiteboards, monitors, flat-screen TVs, and other technological products used for teaching. All of these can be recycled when they have reached ‘end-of-life’ status.

Anything with a power cord, mouse, or screen, is considered e-waste. The devices can and should be disposed of properly through an e-waste management facility. Electronic devices contain materials like batteries, glass, plastic, semiconductors, and metal, which are hazardous to the environment and should never end up in landfills.

A Greener School System

But we can go a step further. More than the physical aspects of e-waste recycling, setting up a recycling program in the school addresses an even greater issue. Students can learn the value of recycling other types of materials, such as cardboard, paper, glass, and plastic. 

The idea is to teach students how to make recycling a lifestyle. Teachers have a chance to help their students identify all types of opportunities to recycle lots of different materials. Doing so helps them develop good recycling habits that will last them a lifetime. Not only does the environment benefit, but we all do too.

Green Tree Electronics Recycling offers e-waste recycling pickup services for schools and universities all over Southern California. Many schools schedule pickups routinely with Green Tree knowing that their electronic devices will be destroyed, and a certificate of destruction will be issued per device. Or, devices can be wiped clean of all sensitive and confidential data and then recycled for further use. Please feel free to contact Green Tree Electronics Recycling to schedule a pick up at your school or university.