Recently, a study was published by StEP (Solving the E-waste Problem), a United Nations initiative that seeks to reduce global volumes of electronic waste. Their findings stated that seventy-five million tonnes of used electronic devices were discarded around the world as waste each year. This study emphasises the fact that every year we are producing a staggering amount of E-waste and are discarding devices inappropriately.
Every business has a responsibility to take the environment into perspective. It is our moral obligation to effectively dispose of all the electronic devices present in our offices, as most of these items can potentially be reused or recycled. Every electronic device contains raw materials which can be used to produce new devices and help conserve the rate at which we are burning through raw materials.
Furthermore, if IT devices reach landfills they have the potential to exude harmful chemicals which can drain into nearby rivers and can also harm animals. Instead of inducing problems, businesses can help the environment by effectively disposing of used electronic devices.
However, the efforts of StEP and other organisations has highlighted the lack of adequate IT recycling facilities in many Western countries, including the UK. How should businesses approach this problem?
Manufacturer Recycling Schemes
Some computer manufacturers provide a recycling service for some of their assets, including:
Some manufacture offer their clients substantial discounts and rewards for recycling their old units, so long as they are within warranty. Apple offers an exchange programme whereby old devices can be exchanged for new ones for a nominal fee. While Samsung offers their clients’ rewards which they can use access a discounted o range of electronic devices. HP offers their clients a personalised reward and exchange programme when in-warranty assets are submitted for recycling.
This list comprises just the most popular manufacturers in the market today. However, many manufacturers do not offer recycling services, and those that do frequently charge a high premium, or provide a limited service. Due to increasing awareness of how electronic devices are disposed of without considering the environmental impact, additional steps should be taken when recycling business IT assets.
Why Use A Professional Computer Recycling Service
The two most important reasons to use a professional service to dispose of your electronic devices is to preserve the environment and safeguard sensitive data. Both are important considerations. The question you should ask before using a manufacturer recycling scheme is: is it good enough – in other words, can you trust them to completely remove sensitive data before reselling your old asset. Once recycled in this way it is very difficult to retain a chain of accountability – and your customer’s data security is ultimately your responsibility, not that of the manufacturer
Should You Use A Free IT Recycling Service?
Many businesses make the common mistake of sending their units to a so called free recycling service. This is a big risk because your data can be exposed to fraudulent use if the unit falls in the wrong hands. Hackers can retrieve data from almost any device and can use this information to exploit people and businesses. Even if the device is completely wiped by conventional means, hackers can find ways to retrieve sensitive information such as passwords, login details, account details, browser history and other personal information.
Good For Your Customers, Good For The Environment
When implemented properly, an effective corporate recycling policy can help different communities, help provide jobs and ultimately reduce the amount of E- waste released into the environment. It can also safeguard you against a data security breach.
So, please make sure you send your unit to its respective manufacturer OR consider using a professional data cleansing service before you give your old assets to a ‘free’ service. To learn more about data cleansing and effective IT asset disposal please get in touch with one of our data security specialists today.