If you’re looking to offload outdated or broken computers, servers, and other IT equipment from your company’s inventory, then you’ve probably come across the term “IT asset disposition” (ITAD). But what is IT asset disposition (ITAD)?
These days, the idea of recycling your old electronics might seem like a no-brainer, but how do you do it properly, especially for your company’s large inventory of IT equipment? You can’t just dump computers into the recycle bin.
Defining ITAD & E-Waste
As with every industry, the electronics disposal industry involves a lot of jargon that can be difficult to follow and understand. As core terms of the electronics recycling and repurposing industry, however, it’s important to have an accurate description of what ITAD and e-waste mean.
What is IT Asset Disposition (ITAD)?
ITAD refers to the industry and process of re-using, recycling, and disposing of old electronic equipment using practices that are safe, secure, and environmentally-friendly. There are several facets to the ITAD process, including:
Data security is especially important in industries such as finance and healthcare, and strict protocols must be followed to ensure sensitive consumer and company data is completely destroyed and inaccessible to people who might have the skills to go looking for it. Beyond simple wiping of hard drives, destruction can involve using specific programs, magnetic destruction and/or shredding.
Financial Benefits through ITAD
While some equipment may no longer be useful to the company offloading it, this does not mean it has reached the end of its useful life. Technology moves fast, but some equipment that is three years old or newer and in good working condition may be re-sold or donated instead of recycled. This is a way for companies to help recoup some losses or build goodwill in the community through donation of the equipment.
It’s tough on the environment to harvest new material for manufacturing, so a lot of what recycling electronics entails is separating out the precious metals and other components that go into electronics so they can be re-used and reduce the need for new materials.
E-waste can refer to any kind of electronic equipment that is outdated, non-functional, or unwanted—in some way slated to be disposed of. E-waste is a fast-growing segment of our world’s trash, and much of it is disposed of improperly. When dumped in a landfill, hazardous materials can contaminate the ground, water, and air, posing environmental risks and potential threats to human health.
IT Asset Disposition for Individuals vs. Companies
E-waste disposal is very different for individuals than it is for companies. If you’re a typical consumer, all you need to do is get rid of one or two devices at a time—maybe you drop them in a drop box for recycling at a local retailer. You wipe your sensitive data off your phone or tablet before you get rid of it, and you’re good to go.
Companies, however, tend to have enough volume of e-waste that using a public recycling solution is completely impractical. In addition, many companies are in possession of consumer data that must be protected and destroyed in accordance with modern security protocols. For these reasons, a responsible ITAD provider can be an indispensable resource for companies.
Michelle Lovrine Honeyager, writing for Electronic Recyclers International sums up the process well in a recent blog post on the subject:
“The diversity of the e-waste field ranges from an individual dropping off a cell phone at their local Best Buy to a behemoth tech giant’s ability to act as its own recycler. The larger the scale, the more complex the e-waste recycling process becomes. Luckily, the system scales pretty well; it’s just a matter of getting the word out about the right service for the right individual or organization.”
So: what do you do on a mid-to-large scale? Find a responsible ITAD provider.
Technically, individual companies could make all the arrangements for disposing of e-waste themselves. However, this can often become more expensive, and certainly more time consuming, than hiring an ITAD provider to do the work.
ITAD providers should be certified by R2 or E-Stewards to ensure they meet safety, security, and environmental standards mandated by law. Such companies keep abreast of developments in the ever-changing field of e-waste and take care of every aspect of the disposal process. Not all ITAD providers are reputable, however, so it is important to do your research before you choose one.
The value in conscientious recycling of old IT equipment is peace of mind, compliance with relevant laws, and good environmental stewardship.
Be aware of the regulations that affect you (HIPAA)
The need for regulations surrounding the disposal of electronics has been growing each year, and the laws continue to evolve. Laws often slap companies with stiff fines for improper disposal of IT equipment, and can sometimes force them to pay for cleanup costs as well. Why take the risk, when a small investment could save thousands in fines and avoid scandal?
As the amount of e-waste the world generates continues to grow, it becomes more important than ever to keep that waste out of landfills. The planet continues to be damaged by improper disposal of e-waste, and new resources are being mined all the time to create new electronic devices.
By properly recycling their old IT equipment, companies can be part of the solution, and have the peace of mind that they are complying with relevant laws and keeping their clients’ data safe. ITAD is an essential part of our modern world, and smart companies are already investing in recycling their old equipment.
Ready to get started? At ICT, we offer solutions tailored to your company’s needs based on our in-depth knowledge of the ITAD field. Take a look at our services and fill out our forms here to 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