Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been talking about what happens when you’re left with unwanted electronics equipment—whether that equipment is broken, outdated, or has simply lost its usefulness to your company.
The issue of what to do with unwanted equipment is more than just an environmental dilemma—it’s a logistic and ethical problem as well, since handling any sensitive data and getting your company’s e-waste from point A (your facility) to point B (the recycling center) can be more difficult than you’d think. As we have seen, however, a trustworthy IT asset disposition company can make all the difference in salvaging value, ensuring data security, and making arrangements for logistics. So how do all the pieces work together to form a comprehensive ITAD Process solution to your e-waste problems that gives you peace of mind and complies with all federal and state regulations?
What is ITAD (IT Asset Disposition)? Find out here
6 Steps To Compliant, Data-Safe, and Cost-Effective ITAD Process
Since you can’t oversee every step of the process, you will need to hand over control of your equipment—and any data contained on the equipment—to your IT recycler. That’s where a secure chain of custody comes in—typically passing on liability for the data security, documenting the journey of the e-waste from its point of origin to its final destination in a clear “paper trail”.
Certified IT asset disposal companies will assume responsibility for your e-waste and make sure that every step of the process is documented—an important factor in dealing with any potential legal issues, which can cost companies thousands.
Getting the equipment out of your company’s facility isn’t always the easiest task—you don’t want to take your employees away from their day-to-day work to deal with de-installing and packing up your unwanted equipment.
Reverse logistics refers to stepping back on the supply chain, which means taking the equipment from the consumer (your company) and bringing it back as far as it needs to go on that chain—whether that means resale or recycling. See Reverse Logistics Infographic
Many companies offer reverse logistics services that include de-installation and packaging if necessary.
Step 3: Transport
Once your equipment is packed and ready to go, it is loaded up onto trucks and sent off to the asset disposition facility. Depending on the nature of the data on your equipment, there are usually several levels of security you can choose from to suit your company’s needs and give you peace of mind.
Step 4: Data Security
Depending on your industry, you may be less concerned about this aspect of electronics recycling than you should be. Of course, if you’re in an industry like the healthcare, financial, or retail industry, then you do safeguard sensitive information for your clients that need to be wiped and destroyed responsibly. But Electronic Recyclers International goes into why the issue matters for other companies too in a recent blog post discussing the findings of an MIT study on data security:
“And it’s not just computers that we need to worry about. Printers, scanners, copiers, cell phones, CDs and USB storage devices all contain sensitive information that must be disposed of responsibly. … Corporate data storage devices, in particular, have valuable information that could be detrimental to the company in the wrong hands. In addition to detailed corporate financial records, the MIT team also recovered a year’s worth of ATM transactions.”
With this in mind, EVERY company should be concerned with where their data goes, preventing a data breach when refreshing, and how equipment is disposed of. See Electronic Recycler’s helpful infographic for more on data security.
For newer equipment (under 3 years old) in good working condition, it is sometimes possible to re-sell equipment and minimize the losses involved with recycling old equipment. Many asset disposition providers offer this service, and while prices are typically quite low, it doesn’t hurt to try to get some value from the equipment.
Step 6: Recycling Remaining IT Assets
The final step in reverse logistics and e-waste disposal, items that cannot be re-sold and have been wiped of all their data will be broken down into their various components, which usually include valuable resources that can be used in brand new products.
Trust & Liability: Finding the Right Recycling Partner
With all the steps involved in IT recycling, it can be daunting to choose the right IT asset disposition company to help you get through the steps of the process and give you peace of mind that your e-waste will be disposed of a in a compliant and responsible manner.
Here’s some quick tips on choosing an electronics recycler!
Looking at certified recyclers is a good way to start—R2 and eStewards require a high level of responsibility when it comes to best practices, data destruction, and worker safety, with regular inspections to ensure continued compliance.
Have questions or want to share your experience with electronics recycling? Comment below, or reach out to via email!
Want a customized solution to your company’s e-waste problems? ICT offers services tailored to your needs and can provide professional assistance with every step of the it asset disposition process. Fill out our forms, request a 3 pallet trial pick-up, or tell us more about your project to learn more and get started.
Susannah Bruck is a freelance blogger, editor, and ghostwriter. She has been putting her skills to use for clients since 2010, and enjoys working on formats ranging from blog posts to short stories and plays. You can find her at World Adventures