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Data Destruction and E-Waste Recycling

The MSU Surplus Store & Recycling Center is responsible for the collection and redeployment of all information technology and audio-visual equipment for campus and extensions, as well as ensuring all data is appropriately removed from every electronic device. All IT equipment is either refurbished for sale or recycled with certified e-waste recyclers.

Campus Resources:

  • Contact us at for a tour of our facility, including the electronics reuse and e-waste recycling processing area.
  • Have print documents that need destroying, too? Learn about the confidential shredding service we offer for Document Destruction.


How we handle campus IT and AV equipment:

Data Destruction: We follow the standards outlined by Department of Defense and the National Institute of Standards and Technology for data destruction. We use software/hardware that complies with those standards to wipe devices. Certain devices take different methods for data destruction. If we are not sure a unit/device has been wiped then we destroy it, usually in the on-site hard drive shredder.

Reuse: We try to give all items a second life before they become obsolete. This includes desktops, laptops, TV’s, projectors, DVD players, VHS players, home routers and networking equipment, enterprise equipment, medical equipment, etc. To keep these items in circulation, our staff works on repairing and refurbishing the electronics to sell through the MSU Surplus Store. To learn more about planned obsolescence, the risks associated with mismanaged e-waste, and more, check out the Electronic Waste section of the Environmental Justice & Sustainable Purchasing resource guide for documentaries and academic articles.

Recycling: For items that cannot be reused or refurbished, we disassemble them, sort the components, and either reuse the parts or ship them out for proper recycling. We sort items into the following categories: metal, plastic, circuit boards, screws, cables, and hard drives. In general, metal and plastic are baled and sent to local and regional recyclers; screws are bagged, priced, and sold through the Surplus Store; and select circuit boards and hard drives are sent to accredited e-waste recyclers, who then further disassemble/sort the material and ship it out to be refined. The vendors that we work with for electronic waste recycling meet accredited certification standards for responsible electronics recycling.

Tips for Reducing Electronic Waste:

  • Use products for as long as possible. This is the single most effective thing you can do to minimize e-waste and the negative effects on the planet.
  • Choose products that are designed to enable a more circular model and can live multiple lives by being repaired, upgraded and refurbished.
  • Consider if someone else might find the product useful when you no longer use it. Sell it or donate it whenever possible.
  • Make sure the product is recycled in a safe and responsible way at the end of its usable life.
  • Purchase secondhand electronics when possible. Shop at the MSU Surplus Store or other retailers.

Watch the Town Hall (Nov. 2021)

In this recorded Zoom talk, SSRC IT Administrator Tim Heckaman discusses MSU's procedures for data destruction and responsible e-waste recycling, converses about related topics, such as right to repair, and answers audience questions. For ease of viewing, we have time-stamped the segments of the video, which can be found in the description of the video on YouTube.


Want to dive deeper? Here are sources for more information: