Join Us at WUSM to Securely Dispose of Your Sensitive Information

On Thursday, October 25, the Office of Sustainability and the WashU Information Security Office will host an e-waste recycling and confidential paper shredding event. Anyone is welcome to bring accepted items to the collection drive in the food truck lane near the intersection of Scott and Taylor Avenues from 7:00-9:30 a.m. Confidential papers and hard drives will be securely and safely recycled by certified vendors. 

 Electronic waste (or “e-waste”) has historically had a very low rate of recycling, at only 12.5%. While it comprises only a small percent of all waste, it represents the vast majority of toxic waste in landfills. Additionally, it is the fastest growing source of landfill waste. However, when recycled, many highly valuable materials can be recovered from electronics. Currently, over $60 million worth of gold and silver inside electronics is dumped into landfills every year. 

 According to Office of Sustainability Manager Cassie Hage, “Providing an easy and accessible avenue for the WashU community to recycle their household items that cannot go in their curbside recycling is one of the many ways we hope to encourage and reinforce sustainable behaviors at work, home and school. Electronics, in particular, have precious metals and other recyclable components as well as toxic chemicals that must be managed properly. Recycling through a certified vendor is extremely important to protect human health and the environment, both in our region and around the world.”  

 Chief Information Security Officer Kevin Hardcastle suggests that proper recycling of sensitive documents and equipment could save you from experiencing some major headaches down the road. Hardcastle says, “We see reports every day concerning someone’s identity being stolen. The easiest way to do this is to collect documents or computing equipment and search for the personal and/or financial information.  The best method to prevent this is to shred/destroy the documents/equipment so that nothing can be retrieved. Shred-It’s service is certified so the destruction of the information meets all industry protections.”  

 “Anything with a cord” can be recycled at this event, including computers and accessories, lawn and garden equipment, power tools, and kitchen appliances. 

 Most items will be accepted at no cost. Items that require a disposal fee due to hazardous components are listed below:

  • CRT Monitor – $5 
  • CRT TV 26in or smaller – $30 
  • CRT TV 27in or larger – $50 
  • LED/LCD TV – $20 
  • Freon items – $10 
  • Confidential office papers will also be accepted and securely shredded at no charge. 

 The following items cannot be accepted: 

  • University-owned items  
  • CDs/DVDs/VHS (although we can accept CD, DVD and VHS players) 
  • Light bulbs 
  • Batteries 

 Washington University is participating in a multi-stakeholder taskforce committed to developing uniform messaging around residential recycling for the region. We are asking all the recyclers out there to double check local recycling rules, as contamination is significantly decreasing the value and effectiveness of recycling collection. Remember: materials going into a mixed recycling bin must be empty, clean and dry; plastic bags may NOT be recycled through mixed recycling (but they can be taken to most local grocery stories for recycling). Get more information at   

 You can learn more about the Office of Sustainability here, and more about the WashU Information Security Office here 

Check out the Shred It flyer here. You can print and post it as a reminder!