The Importance of Responsible IT Asset Disposal

Has your company had a recent IT upgrade? What did you do with the old equipment?

Technology lifecycles of system manufacturers are shorter than ever. As new technology deployment is costly, your organization likely exhausted every effort to extend their current infrastructure as long as possible. We help countless organizations achieve longer lifecycles and greater savings; however, eventually an upgrade is inevitable.

Companies take several routes when arriving at these crossroads, but it is important to choose a path that meets your needs as a business, as well as your social responsibility. IT asset disposition specialists can help you achieve the greatest return on pumping your usable equipment back into the secondary market, and responsibly recycling the rest.

The Impact of Electronic Waste

Each year around the world, millions of computers are dumped into landfill sites. A lot of electronic waste, or e-waste, is exported to developing nations where recycling practices are cheap, but unregulated and unsafe. This has a devastating impact on the environment and can have a huge detrimental effect on human life as a result.

Let’s take a look at exactly what this means:

Every colored PC monitor can contain roughly five pounds of lead, which possesses toxins that when placed in a landfill can leak into the soil, our waterways, or even the atmosphere when improperly incinerated. Overexposure to lead can cause serious health issues like cancer, learning disabilities and behavioral issues in children, seizures and sometimes even death.

IT hardware like monitors, batteries, circuit boards, hard drives and other parts have multiple hazards other than lead, like mercury, hexavalent chromium (known to cause liver disease, high blood pressure and brain damage in animals), radioactive isotopes and cadium – a known carcinogenic.

Corporate Social Responsibility

This is a term that has gained ground over the years as reputable institutions have taken measures to reduce their carbon footprint, and keep their equipment out of landfills. In doing so, they not only make an environmental impact, but they also relieve the financial and logistic burden of storing the equipment, and in some cases can make some money when their chosen vendor finds lucrative second life for their machines.

Earlier this year, HP—one of the biggest names in tech and an active recycler—announced its decision to start publishing the names of its recyclers and their performance in order to raise the bar for sustainability and hold companies accountable for their practices. HP has recaptured/recycled over 3.3 billion pounds of IT hardware since 1987. This latest announcement from its Director of Human Rights and Supply Chain Responsibility is in an effort to inspire other companies to do the same, shining a light on those outside of compliance with government and ethical standards, thereby reducing the amount of e-waste in third-world countries.

E-Waste Continues to Grow

The future of e-waste is more growth, so responsible asset disposition is more important than ever. According to a  2012 forecast created based on data collected from United Nations organizations, governments, non-government and science organizations, titled “Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) Initiative,” e-waste was projected to grow by 30% by this year, led by the United States and China. This would amount to discarded TVs, refrigerators, computers, cellphones, monitors and the like, amounting in weight to be as much as the Empire State building – 72 million tons. It has not yet been confirmed if this came to fruition, or was even surpassed.

As production of electronics continues to increase, the importance of reutilizing and properly disposing of IT assets continues to grow exponentially as well.

Are you looking for a new IT asset disposition (ITAD) solution for your organization? Contact us to see how we can help you responsibly dispose of your old computer equipment.

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