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Campus & Community

How to Recycle Sensitive Materials at Drexel

February 14, 2018


As part of Drexel’s participation in the annual RecycleMania competition, the University is encouraging students, faculty and professional staff to clean out their desks, offices and residence hall rooms and recycle unwanted papers, containers and even electronics. But while we try to make recycling as easy as possible at Drexel, not everything can just be chucked in a blue recycling bin. You must take special care when disposing of electronic devices — particularly computers, laptops, tablets and phones — and hardcopy documents that may contain sensitive or confidential information.

Hardcopies: Sensitive Documents Must Be Shredded

Just about everything you ever wanted to know about when and how to either retain or dispose of official University Records is provided in the Records Management Policy, which is administered by the Office of the General Counsel.

“Records Management is all of our responsibility. Destruction of records is an important part of the policy, but it must be done in accordance with the guidelines in the policy, particularly if any records are subject to actual or potential litigation or have historical value,” said Tami Wible, associate general counsel and managing attorney.

Wible urges faculty and professional staff to carefully review the policy, including the supporting resources provided, and to contact her with any questions by calling the Office of the General Counsel at 215.895.6286.

Records custodians must pay particular attention to their obligations in the Records Management Policy. If you determine that records are expired within the definition set forth in the policy and they do not need to be permanently retained as Historical Records, you must shred any hardcopies that contain confidential information in a manner that renders them unreadable and would prevent them from being reconstructed. Only then can the remaining material be recycled.

DocuVault is the supplier that provides document storage, document shredding and related services to the University community, including document scanning, media storage and hardware destruction. DocuVault is not a supplier in Smart Source, so you must contact them directly to obtain service. More information is provided on the Procurement Services website. The Records Management Policy also includes FAQs and online training videos addressing Record Management and DocuVault Services in the “Supporting Material” sidebar on the policy webpage.

Hardware: E-Waste Must Be Wiped Clean

Did you know that even when you delete a file on your computer it can still be recovered by an undelete program? The only way to ensure data stored on a hard drive is properly deleted is to overwrite it with pseudorandom numbers using a program called DBAN (see Drexel IT DBAN FAQ for more information, and contact if you need assistance). 

Computers and other electronic devices will be collected for recycling during three Drexel Green RecycleMania collection events, but it is each department’s responsibility to ensure the hard drive is properly deleted. Any devices for recycling that have not been properly and securely wiped will not be accepted. 

If you have questions regarding the recycling program at Drexel, you may visit the University Facilities and Real Estate website or email