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Getting rid of old gadgets isn’t always as simple as it seems. Laptops, tablets and other devices are filled with personal information. Meanwhile, most tech gear features complicated components that can’t just be thrown in the bin.

Here are the steps to take when you want to dispose of old tech gear:

Check with technology sellers

If you’re buying something new, why not check if the seller will recycle your old tech?

People are throwing away more gadgets and electronics every year. In fact, each year we’re throwing away about 5% more electrical waste than the year before. The figures are already huge, and they’re constantly growing.

Some sellers will take your old items away, disposing of them properly so that you don’t even have to think about it.

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Consider trading in

Avoid all worries about correct disposal by selling or trading in your tech. As long as it doesn’t contain personal information and saved data, your old iPad or smartwatch could become someone else’s new device. Just make sure that it’s running as it should, and in fairly good condition.

Even better, selling or trading in could earn you some extra pocket money.

Think about batteries

Some IT equipment can be recycled, but remove batteries where possible first. Most electronics use lithium-ion batteries, which can be properly disposed of and recycled.

Before sending a battery for recycling, take a few safety precautions. Cover battery terminals with tape, to reduce the risk of electric shock or accidental fire, and consider wrapping the battery in a paper bag. When two batteries touch, for example when they’re piled up in a recycling bin, they may create sparks and cause fires

In most cases, lithium-ion batteries will need to be disposed of as hazardous waste, separate to est of the gadget.

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Wipe your data

Whilst there are physical dangers to disposing of old tech gear, you will also need to consider the safety of your personal data. If you’ve used a laptop, computer, tablet or smartphone, it’s probably filled with records, passwords and files full of private information.

To wipe data from any device, first perform a full factory reset. The process will vary from device to device, but should be fairly easy to find within its menu.

If you don’t feel confident after a full factory reset, then why not put your mind at rest by creating a new account and gaining access to view the device files? Once you’re certain that the factory reset worked, simply perform another to clear the brand new account that you created.

Remove the hard drive

If you have a computer or laptop, you can usually remove the hard drive if you know what to look for. The hard drive contains all of your data and information, and so you may want to take it out and destroy it. This is an extra level of security, ensuring that nobody can gain access to your old files and documents.