When thinking about the challenge of recycling e-waste in an economically sustainable manner, it’s helpful to understand the drivers of value and cost in a typical pile of end-of-life hardware. Here are some key educational points to drive home.
Lesson #1 - Reuse as much as possible
The best way to improve the economics of e-waste recycling is to reuse as much as possible. Don’t put unnecessary restrictions on your electronics recycling vendor, such as “any electronics older than two years must be disassembled and recycled.”
It may be end of life for you, but that doesn’t mean it’s its end of life. Secondhand shops are as old as retail. Why? Because one person’s trash has always been another person’s treasure. The same is true for electronics. You may be done with your laptop because you need something fancier, faster and sexier. The guy down the street or on the other side of the world, maybe his grandma just needs to send some emails and that three-year-old laptop is perfect.
Part of e-End’s R2 Certification requires recycling by reuse whenever possible. So for any client or customer that does not require their laptops or electronics to be destroyed, e-End refurbishes these assets for reuse, once 100% of data is destroyed on the media of these assets has been destroyed.
Lesson #2 - Don’t delay, recycle today
1-year-old devices will depreciate significantly, especially because the cost for better and brand-new items continues to go down. Electronics of just about any kind can lose anywhere from 30% to 70% (or even greater) of their value in less than a year. A good IT refresh program includes a plan for asset value recovery.
Electronics do not age like wine. e-End encourages our clients to dispose of their assets quickly once the decision has been made to retire them. The longer it sits in your server room, desk drawer or closet, the less it’s worth and the more likely that you will have to pay for it to be recycled. Having e-End as a partner can ensure that you are recovering the value of your assets while maintaining an environmentally responsible program.
Lesson #3 - Proper recycling costs money
There’s a right and wrong way to go about getting your electronics recycled. The wrong way is to go with whoever comes up first on Google. To be clear, the first ranked search may be possible choice, but you owe it to yourself and the environment to ask some questions. Why? Because not all electronics recyclers are created equal.
Certification matters. Globally recognized e-waste recycling standards such as R2 are a signal that the company you are dealing with has been audited to ensure strict compliance with data and environmental protocols. If it doesn’t hold this certification, you don’t know what’s happening to your electronics.
This is where the economic part of the conversation comes into play. Using a certified recycler often means you’re not bearing the full cost of proper data destruction and environmental handling. e-End has holds the NAID AAA Certification for sanitizing data on all electronic and non-paper media at both e-End’s facility and at our client’s facility. For electronics recycling, e-End holds the R2 certification.
Lesson #4 - Don’t be cheap; Data breaches are expensive
Assets can be reused safely, maximizing value for your company, but only if your data is secured by a reputable vendor. Recent data breach victims from the corporate sector include Winners, Home Depot, Yahoo and Equifax. How silly would you feel if it happened to you because you went with the cheapest data disposition service provider? Would the few dollars per hard drive you saved at the time be worth it? In the context of reusing assets, data handling becomes even more critical. It can be done safely, but only if your chosen vendor knows what they are doing.
Choosing e-End as your IT recycling partner will minimize your costs in balance with maximizing your level of compliance and security. That is the balance every IT manager should be seeking to strike. Disposition doesn’t have to cost much, but free beyond reason is like the old adage goes: too good to be true. The number one way you can manage your risks is to insist on visiting your vendor’s facility to see firsthand what they are doing. Proper recyclers will be proud of their operation and will want to show it off. Non-certified recyclers, sometimes posing as nonprofits, will have a lot of reasons why visiting their facility isn’t possible.