Aurum Recovery Recycles and Destroys Data ResponsiblyMay, 2019
By Tom Long Fiddlehead
There is more to recycling than separating glass from plastic and paper and placing it in the appropriate bin.
“When people speak of recycling, they talk about household waste, not electronics,” said Matt Gifford, a co-owner of Aurum Recovery Group.
At the time Gifford and his colleague Joshua Hemond, an account manager for the firm, were staffing a booth at the Made in New Hampshire Expo, but Aurum Recovery is not about making things in the Granite State but unmaking them.
Gifford held a glass jar filled with semi-destroyed electronic components the size of Chex cereal. He called it his “domestic circuit board mix.”
Hemond explained the necessity of shredding in a recent blog post: “We have seen hard drives with holes drilled through them. We have seen hard drives that have been sheered in half. We’ve seen them damaged by a hammer.
“We’ve seen them bent. We have seen them flattened like a pancake, we’ve seen them erased, and we have even seen them shot full of bullet holes.
“Are any of these methods viable? While they may be better than disposing of them whole it is not by much … We make sure electronics don’t make it to the landfills.”
“We primarily serve businesses, but we also do work for individuals,” said Gifford, a member of the Lindsey family, who owns and operates the enterprise.
According to company literature, “Aurum is the gold standard for electronics recycling,” which is appropriate because aurum is the Latin word for the precious metal.
The recycler is located in Goffstown, where electronic equipment is dismantled, and its core compounds recovered so they may be recycled into new products. Data-containing devices like hard and flash drives and tapes are shredded. The destruction is certified in writing if required.
The salvageable components of recycled electronics equipment are saved for reuse and hazardous waste is disposed of responsibly. Components that cannot be reused are disassembled or shredded and sorted into commodities like aluminum. Commodities are then sent to smelters and mills where they are turned into new stock.
Hemond uses a piece of paper as an analogy.
“If I had an important document that had very sensitive information on it and I needed to destroy it, what would happen if I just drilled random holes in the paper? While some of the information would be gone, much would remain.
“What if I tore it in half? Most of the information would still be intact. What if I shot it full of bullet holes? Besides looking like Swiss cheese much of the information may still be there.
“What about if you erased the information on the paper? While most of the information may be gone, traces are still left behind. Like when you erase pencil or ink with an eraser.”
So, what is the proper way to destroy a document?
“Most of us would agree that it is with a cross cut paper shredder,” Hemond wrote. “At that point it becomes a giant unsolvable puzzle. Imagine you took hundreds of different 1,000-piece puzzles all with the same size pieces and you emptied them into a bin. What is the likelihood that you would be able to re-assemble those puzzles?
“To make it worse. You don’t have the covers to go off, just the bin with 50,000 pieces. It would be nearly impossible. Shredding our data is the safest way to destroy data.”
Aurum Recovery Group uses a similar process.
“We use a larger shredder to shred data,” Hemond explained. “This shredder acts much like a cross cut paper shredder. It turns a hard drive into a useless pile of metal. From there it next goes to a mill where it is smelted back into reusable metal stock and turned into a completely new product.
“This is the safest way there is to destroy data.”