Computer Equipment Disposal Procedure

A. Reason for Procedure

Equipment that is obsolete and no longer in use needs to be disposed of in accordance with the LDEO Solid Waste Management Plan.  Secure disposal is critical to protect Personally Identifiable Information and other sensitive data. For these reasons, disposal of computer equipment is addressed appropriately in the aforementioned Plan.

B. Responsible Office and/or Officer

The Project Owner / Project IT Custodian in charge of the equipment in question is responsible for initiating the Computer Equipment Disposal Procedure.  The LDEO Traffic Office (Shipping and Receiving Department) is responsible for collecting the equipment. The LDEO Security Office is responsible for securely disposing of the equipment

The LDEO IT Department is responsible for the maintenance of this procedure, and for responding to questions regarding it.

C. Procedure

  1. If the equipment has a CU Capital Asset Control tag, contact Purchasing at [email protected] and request that they remove the item from the CU inventory list.  You may be required to fill out a Equipment Inventory Adjustment form and return it to Purchasing.

  2. If the equipment has Sensitive Data stored on it, remove the hard drive(s) and open a ticket with [email protected] with the keyword “[Computer Equipment Disposal]” in the subject.  Lamont IT will contact you with information on where to send the hard drive(s) for secure erasure and destruction.  Proceed to step 5.

  3. If the system does not have ANY University Data stored on it, proceed to Step 5.

  4. Reformat all hard drives and other permanent storage devices on the system as detailed here: /content/secure-erasure-storage-devices.

  5. If the system IS NOT owned by Columbia University, you can recycle / repurpose / dispose of / sell the system as you see fit.

  6. If the system IS owned by Columbia University, contact LDEO Traffic (Shipping and Receiving Dept.) at [email protected] to request pick-up of electronic equipment.  Traffic will remove and then secure all equipment for routine shipment to a recycling facility.

D. Data Destruction Procedure

Lamont IT is responsible for secure deletion of data from drives that have been discarded, and especially those that contain Sensitive Data.  The following procedure will be used to ensure destruction of all data from any discarded hard drives that come under Lamont IT control:

  1. Data will be erased with a YEC Demi XG3020 dedicated hardware eraser.

  2. A log file is written for each erasure which includes disk type, serial number and erasure algorithm.  This log file will be stored at /home/datadisposal/<project-name>-<system-name/owner>-<date> as proof of erasure.

  3. IF the drive contained Sensitive Data OR the drive could not be erased for any reason, the drive will be rendered inoperable by removing the control boards and drilling holes through the platters.

  4. The drive, or the remains, will be collected by the Shipping and Receiving Department and sent to an electronics recycling center for disposal / recycling.

E. References

For further information, you can view the Columbia University Sanitation and Disposal of Information Resources Policy at: