How to destroy some backup tapes "ecologically"!!!!

Posted on 2006-04-26
Last Modified: 2012-06-22
Hi Experts,

i have to destroy some tapes of a Tape Backup drive. I know i can use an axe, a machinegun or a flame-thrower... but i really care about the nature and i think giving a second live to this tapes (if possible) could be a better idea. I know i could use a magnet... but is it enough safe (to be sure that all data will be erased)?!?!

big thks!
Question by:m_renaud
    LVL 6

    Assisted Solution

    Why not erase the tapes anyway using the backup software that you have, instead of using a flamerthrowing or nuclear warhead.
    LVL 87

    Accepted Solution

    First use a degausser to degmatntize them so the data can't be recovered. After that, as tapes only have a restricted life period, they'd have to be disposed of anyway. In my area they'd be incinerated which probably still is the most ecological way of disposal, as the heat is used anyway and filters keep the gases from reaching the environment.
    LVL 13

    Assisted Solution

    Tapes are made from plastics and metals--- but not enough to make them "recyclable".  For example, you can 'recycle' computers- because there's enough precious metals in there to warrant the effort.    But mag tapes are basically going to be garbage - and I suspect incinerating them would put more pollutants into the atmosphere and would cause more harm than good? (Guess).

    As far as preparing the tapes, you will want to purchase an electronic degausser/magnet.  It's a small (heavy) handheld deal that TRULY wipes out the data on the tapes.    Note, using these can be time-consuming, as you can only operate those for a few minutes at a time before it starts to overheat- then you have to let it "rest".   If you have a few to a few dozen tapes--  no big issue.  Hundreds of tapes?   Be prepared tospend some time demagnetizing them.    
    LVL 9

    Assisted Solution

    Depends on the tapes whether they can be de-gaussed then re-used, DLT for example has magnetic servo tracks so erase them and they're completely useless. SDLT has optical survo so are probably re-usable after bulk-erasing.
    LVL 3

    Author Comment

    Thanks for your help!! i'll do my best!

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