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Q: I have several old laptop computers I’d like to dispose of, and I’m concerned about the security of any data that might be stored on them — Social Security numbers, financial info, etc. A few of them won’t even turn on anymore, so I can’t scrub the hard drives. How secure is the disposal provided at the local electronics recycling event on Oct. 12? What about at local firms that offer e-recycling? Is there a third-party data-security expert who could offer an informed opinion or advice on this sort of thing?

A: Nichole Millage, Champaign’s environmental sustainability specialist who is helping organize the electronics recycling event, said they use Shorewood-based A-Team Recyclers to securely delete information from hard drives.

The event is Oct. 12 (8 a.m. to noon). Residents from participating communities can register for 15-minute slots at

Regardless of the state of your hard drive, A-Team Recyclers will ensure your data is safely destroyed.

“It’s literally the top priority of the job,” said Jeremy Harkins, a sales manager with A-Team. “Security is the No. 1 goal.”

If the computer can’t be turned on, A-Team has a brute-force method to destroy the data: shredding the hard drives.

“Most that we get from residential (recycling events) are so old they end up getting shredded,” he said.

If the computer can be turned on, A-Team wipes the hard drives for you following industry standards. “Our approach for destroying data exceeds the (guidelines) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology,” the company’s website says.