Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Have you ever wanted to know what is inside your hard drive ? I wonder whats inside of all the things we use.

Hard Disk Anatomy

(thanks wiki for the picture)

If you are like me you have some old computers sitting around somewhere. This is the perfect opportunity to find out what is in that old hard drive. When it is time to build a new computer, I try to reuse as much as I can. If the case is still good, I can use that and just take out the bits and pieces. I know better than to donate the computer without wiping the hard drive and from what I have read even that may not be enough. In the age of identity theft, I want to be as careful as possible. The technology that allows anyone to access your data even from a wiped drive is moving forward at light speed and is available to everyone all over the world. So I thought it might be better to recycle your hard drive in pieces, that way you can destroy the discs and ensure your private information stays safe.

I pulled the hard drives out of my old computer and I can still donate or recycle the cases. Some of the other components can be reused. For example, I reuse the DVD and CD storage drives. I am trying to find the appropriate place to recycle the motherboard, video card and other bits and pieces.


First thing is to pull out the hard drive. I noticed I would need torx drivers, so I started by getting the appropriate tools. I found a cute little set of torx drivers for under ten dollars at Amazon, once again.


Look up instructions on how to open the case.

It is that simple. Once it is open you get to take a peek at the insides. It has some really strong magnets in there so be careful not to get your fingers between the two magnets they snap together with a lot of force. The platters are so shiny and pretty – it gave me some crafty ideas. After it is in pieces, you can recycle all the aluminum you find and the steel case too.


I have some strong opinions on the importance of keeping as many things out of the landfills as possible. I know some people wonder if there is value in recycling. I think there is. Anything that eliminates even a small amount of pollution is worth it to me. This article  discusses the value of recycling and it might not seem like a lot but when you consider the environmental impact of the mining process, I think it would be in out best interest to do as much as possible to mitigate some of that impact. It might be up to us to pull the hard drives apart. Companies will just shred the drives and the rare metals will be lost to the recycling process. It is too labor intensive for the companies to pull out the pieces for recycling and it doesn’t take much for us as individuals to do this on our own.

There are companies that will recycle for you. Personally, I would still make sure that the drives are completely unreadable for my own peace of mind. Another thing you can do is organize a large scale community project and some companies will help you to generate funds  for your school or church. This helps your community to get rid of all those old computers and earn money at the same time.

Finally, you can use the magnets for your own projects. Some people use different parts of the inside of the hard drive for craft projects. The platters are shiny and the magnets can be put to good use. This site shows some really creative uses for that old drive. Just look at how pretty and interesting these clocks are. They look kinda steam punk to me in a modernist kind of way.

All our tech waste is piling up we need to figure out what to to do with all of it and try to keep it out of the landfills. We can do it !

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2 thoughts on “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    1. joann Post author

      I understand. I am hoping to donate the cases or recycle them. The hard drives were my concern. Once I got them out now I feel more secure trying to get rid of the rest. I have to find out where I can take electronic waste in my area. If I find a good place, I will let you know.

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