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Best Way to Dispose of Old Business Computers

05 August 2021

Disposing of computers and laptops can be a tricky process. Businesses need to ensure they meet industry and regulatory requirements for data protection and risk assessment in line with GDPR as well making sure that equipment is disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner, in line with the Environment Agency guidelines and the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive. For this reason, business leaders need to consider how they will responsibly dispose of old devices, equipment no longer required, or redundant IT assets.

This article will help you get acquainted with the main disposal and recycling routes and considerations.

What is Business Computer Recycling?

We believe there are two key things to consider when it comes to Business Computer Recycling:

The first is data security. Through the years, your business will have accumulated a large quantity of data and you will need to take measures to protect it when disposing of your hardware. We’ve all seen the news stories reporting the dangers of identity theft, data breaches and cyber hacking. When recycling IT hardware, you need to ensure that your data is correctly destroyed by a certified process, to eliminate any risk of your data being leaked or misused when assets reach the end of their lifecycle.

The Environmental impact of redundant equipment is the second major consideration. Computers, IT hardware and their associated products are made of metals, plastics and smaller material elements such as copper, iron and nickel - materials that don’t easily deteriorate or take decades to decompose. It’s critical that you therefore engage an IT recycling partner who will operate with a zero-landfill policy and ensure that materials can be correctly recycled and reused.

The reuse of equipment should naturally be the primary goal when recycling your redundant assets. Data wiping of hard drives will mean that computers and laptops can be resold as complete units for the second user market, but even where physical data destruction is required, the assets themselves can still continue to be reused, with parts able to be replaced or upgraded too. In some instances, where a return value will apply or where devices are particularly suitable, donating funds or assets to charity can also be an option, to make sure your redundant assets continue to have a useful life. Any assets that have reached the end of their lifecycle should then be recycled so that their materials can re-enter the streams needed to make new products.

Advantages of Recycling

Though the growing ‘Green Agenda’ means that more and more attention is being drawn to the benefits of reduce, reuse and recycle, the attention has not generally focused on IT equipment specifically. Here are some of the advantages & disadvantages we think are most important:

Advantages

  • Reduces pollution: recycling of computers reduces pollution to a great extent - computers are non-biodegradable and so this places a great strain on the environment and biodiversity if not properly recycled.
  • Prevent Resource Waste: with computers and their components parts being reused, there is less need to draw from natural resources to rebuild/recreate new parts.
  • Employment Opportunities: whether it is the collection, stripping, sorting or assembling of new items - the recycling of IT hardware and kit generates a great economic benefit.
  • Reduce Landfill: the more we are able to strip from devices, the less that ends up in landfill.
  • Affordability: devices which can be reused following data sanitisation are able to be sold on as second-hand goods. With most of the component parts of a computer or laptop being reused, reprocessed or recycled, the cost of production reduces, ensuring a healthy market of refurbished affordable devices.
  • Conserve Energy: computer recycling uses far less energy and resources than making a new device. Recycling also helps in minimising the use of renewable and non-renewable resources.

Do’s Computer Disposal

Now that we have determined why recycling is the best way to dispose of your old computers and equipment, here are some of things to consider:

  • Be mindful of all the data and information on your computer - be clear on what you want to keep & what needs to be destroyed.
  • For data that needs to be destroyed - take a look at our article on data destruction and hard drive wiping or explore the Data Management page on our website.
  • Engage an external specialist to help you dispose of your data-bearing assets correctly and ensure you are meeting any legislation or regulatory requirements.
  • Make sure you adequately check & qualify any external recycling organisation you engage with - be clear on the qualifications, their licensing and ask questions to confirm what happens with the devices, what will be recycled, where parts will go and what certification you will receive.

Are you wondering what the best way to dispose of your business computers is? The solution to the disposal of old computers is more complex and time-consuming than you think. Incorrect disposal of your hardwear could risk your business and client data.

Whether you’re undergoing a desktop refresh in your offices or an entire data centre clearance project, FGD can manage the full process – from collection and processing, to data sanitisation, recycling and asset resale. Our zero-landfill policy means no component of your old IT is an environmental burden. Obsolete parts are dismantled, entering material streams to make new products.

In addition, our highly accredited data sanitisation and data destruction services make certain that all forms of your electronic media are wiped or destroyed to national government standards, with the certification to match.

To find out more, give one of our team a call, or visit the Recycling & Disposal page of our website