What is a Hard Drive Disposal Service?

Secure Hard Drive Disposal Service

I’m looking to get rid of some computer equipment, so how can I find a hard drive disposal service near me? And why is it important to do so?

Secure hard drive disposal is critical to personal or corporate cybersecurity. And finding a reliable and secure hard drive disposal service is key to effective disposal.

It’s important to safeguard your digital information while it’s still in your possession and learn how to dispose of old hard drives securely. Any of the items on the hard drive or storage media of digital devices could be worth money to identity thieves and hackers or provide saboteurs and cybercriminals with leverage for extortion or industrial espionage.

In this article, we’ll be looking at the options available for secure hard drive disposal, looking at some of the challenges and restrictions involved, and answering the question, “What is a hard drive disposal service?”

How to Dispose of your Hard Drive

While it’s possible to safeguard active hardware through the use of cybersecurity tools, techniques, and best practices, when the time comes to refresh or upgrade your IT infrastructure, you’ll be faced with the issue of what to do with old hard drives, storage devices, and other equipment.

Many factors will influence how to dispose of old hard drives, depending on your location, the nature of your devices, and even the sector of the economy you’re working in.

For example, in the US, state legislation for data disposal differs from state to state, and the laws may lay down specific conditions for how to dispose of hard drives.

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Regulations governing hard drive disposal also exist on an industry-specific basis, with, for example, the healthcare and financial services sectors having their own legal frameworks relating to data governance, as well as data and infrastructure disposal.

Deciding on the best way to destroy a hard drive also has to take in material considerations. While traditional hard drives store information on a magnetic platter, Solid-State Drives (SSDs) don’t use magnets in this way, relying on in-built chips for storage — and both material types require different methods for destruction.

Other options for how to get rid of old hard drives don’t involve destruction at all. ITAD or IT asset disposition services offer equipment owners the chance to refurbish or resell old infrastructure, for example. And recycling of old hard drives allows the materials within them to be reclaimed for other uses.

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Importance of Hard Drive Disposal

Whether you’re operating as an individual or in a corporate setting, the hard drive or storage media of any digital devices that you use typically plays host to a lot of sensitive or potentially valuable information. This might be personal archives and multimedia content, or financial data, customer information, transaction records, intellectual property, and security-related items such as passwords, access codes, or internal authorization protocols for your enterprise. This emphasizes the need for secure hard disk destruction once your infrastructure has served its useful life.

A reputable hard drive shredding service can therefore play a role as your partner in data security. The service can also assist you in other ways.

Over time, it may be necessary to replace existing storage devices and IT infrastructure with improved models and upgrades or discard equipment that has become defective or obsolete. Though pulverizing hard drives and other storage media is one option, there are other choices you can make for the disposal of IT and electronic equipment.

For instance, in many cases, a hard drive shredding company will also offer plans for IT asset disposition or ITAD, which might include refurbishing old hardware to extend its use or reselling to third-party buyers. For you or your organization, this provides an opportunity to recoup financial value from the disposal of your equipment.

A hard drive destruction service may also offer recycling as an option, thereby helping to conserve energy and natural resources by reclaiming valuable materials from old hardware.

If you want to find out where to shred hard drives securely and cost-effectively, you can run a simple web search or consult your state’s Chamber of Commerce or other business information resources.

Professional Hard Drive Disposal Service

How can data be destroyed in an effective, secure, and legally compliant manner? Trying to do it yourself is never a preferred option, as the tools and expertise available to the general public are rarely up to the challenge of full data eradication.

In a 2003 study on data security, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) purchased 158 hard drives — many of which were previously owned and used by legal firms and banks — from eBay and second-hand merchants. Using data recovery techniques and tools widely available to potential hackers, the researchers were able to recover thousands of credit card numbers, client personal details, contact information, and other sensitive data, even from drives that had been treated with data-wiping or HDD shredder software.

What is Hard Drive Disposal Service

If any of this information had fallen into the hands of bad actors, it could provide the basis for account hijacking, fraud, identity theft, or extortion. This emphasizes the need for businesses and individuals to engage the expertise of professional data destruction services.

A hard drive disposal or hard drive wiping service is a professional organization specializing in the disposition of hard drives, storage media, and other IT assets on a contractual basis. The service will typically achieve this through a combination of data wiping and destruction using digital and physical HDD shredder and other technologies to destroy data on hard drives and techniques for physical hard drive destruction. Hard drive recycling and safe and secure methods for discarding old hardware or equipment shards may also be part of the package.

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Types of Hard Drive Disposal

When it comes to how to destroy a hard drive, several different methods exist for different types of storage media.

They include:

Hard Drive Degaussing

Degaussing is an electromagnetic process that employs a magnet to erase hard drive platters. A powerful magnetic pulse is applied to the hard drive to effectively erase all information from the storage device without destroying its physical casing. This operation typically makes the hard drive completely inoperable and incapable of being reused. However, the technique is ineffective on Solid-State Devices (SSDs).


How do you destroy a hard drive at a physical level?

Puncturing is a physical destructive process in which hard drives are positioned in a machine and punctured with multiple pins, leaving the drive full of holes and unable to be reused. Since Solid-State Devices contain multiple chips rather than a magnetic platter, this method is usually employed for disposing of SSDs.

Disintegration and Crushing or Punching

In this process, industrial conveyor belts slice hard drives into small chunks, then disintegrate them into dust-sized particles through the punching action of machinery and/or the application of high compression.


One of the most common ways to destroy hard drive platter technologies, spindle drives, SSD drives, USBs, SIM cards, and SD cards is shredding. An HDD shredder usually works by physically slicing the hard drives into tiny fragments, making any data on them unrecoverable. Many hard drive disposal services offer a range of shard sizes for shredding, as the final size of the fragments (smaller is safer) determines the ease or difficulty of recovering any information from them. This is a particularly secure hard disk destruction methodology.

Hard Drive Recycling

With Electronic waste or e-waste accounting for nearly 70% of hazardous waste due to the presence of cadmium, lead, and other toxins found in trace amounts on hard drives, recycling of hard drive materials once the destruction process is complete can help in aligning your hard drive disposal activities with your organization’s goals for corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental stewardship. So this is the best way to destroy a hard drive while also safeguarding the environment.

Environmentally-Friendly Hard Drive Disposal


As we’ve just noted, recycling is a hard drive disposal procedure that’s undertaken with the safety of the environment in mind.

If you’re concerned with how to safely dispose of hard drives in an ecologically conscious manner, you should look for a hard drive disposal service that destroys IT assets and recycles them in accordance with international environmental and ethical specifications, and partners with recycling companies who advocate a circular economy model that minimizes and reduces waste. And if the company is taking away the drive remains, you should check to make sure that they are certified for environmentally friendly materials disposal.

For individuals wondering how to dispose of a PC hard drive, recycling is also the most ecologically sound avenue to take. A web search can reveal the location of recycling centers close to your location. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and some state organizations host websites with recycling search facilities.

Another environmentally friendly avenue for HD disposal is reuse. This typically involves refurbishing old IT equipment to extend its life in the current environment or donating or selling devices to other users.

On-Site Hard Drive Disposal

On-site data destruction is an option offered by many hard drive disposal services. These companies will typically have mobile units containing specialist equipment that can come directly to your office or data center premises.

For example, a hard drive degaussing service might employ a mobile degausser unit for magnetically erasing hard disks at your business premises. This kind of service will usually be available for relatively small volumes of hardware.

Likewise, an HDD destruction service might deploy a portable shredding machine to your data center to physically destroy limited volumes of hardware in place.

A hard disk disposal company may also offer on-site pick-up as an option. Here, the physical destruction or disposition won’t actually take place on your premises. Instead, the service will take delivery of old hard drives and other equipment and transport them to an external facility.

Some data destruction services that specialize in ITAD (IT asset disposition) will dispatch consultants to your location to perform on-the-spot assessments and audits of your IT infrastructure, with an eye towards asset valuation and giving recommendations for the best methods of disposal.

What to Look for in a Hard Drive Disposal Service

Besides sustainable practices and alignment with your own CSR objectives, there are other criteria you can use in assessing a hard drive disposal service that can satisfy your needs.

Be wary of companies that advertise “shredding” but actually use a piston punch methodology. If incorrectly applied, a piston punch can leave data on drives in a recoverable state. Some of the less reputable disposal vendors may also try to outsource hard drive destruction to a third party.

Proper audit trails and documentation can guard against this to a large extent. A reputable hard drive disposal service should have no problem in providing a “Chain of Custody” trail charting each stage in the handling of your equipment — on paper, in photographs, and on video recordings. Some services will go the extra mile by fitting their facilities and transport vehicles with alarms and CCTV monitoring.

Each time the disposal service destroys a hard drive, they should provide a certificate of hard drive destruction, which acts as your documentary evidence of disposal for auditing and regulatory compliance purposes.

Finally, a reliable and NAID-certified hard drive disposal service may provide free quotations based on the number of items to be destroyed and offer a range of destruction methods geared towards different storage technologies.

TechReset specializes in the secure and sustainable disposal of electronic waste (e-waste) and secure erasure or eradication of all confidential data through hard drive shredding or certified data cleansing. We use industry best practices to repurpose older or unwanted IT assets in an environmentally friendly manner, providing our clients with peace of mind—and often money back in your pocket.

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