What is IT equipment recycling and its importance

What is IT equipment recycling?

With the growing worldwide concern with greenhouse gas emissions, the process of recycling keeps becoming more and more important. As it is a way to improve sustainability. But what exactly is IT equipment recycling?

IT equipment recycling is the process of taking unused equipment and using its parts to repair or upgrade other pieces of hardware. Thus, extending their life and preventing these electronic devices from being simply thrown away.

It’s a sequential process: dismantling computer hardware, separating out the pieces containing hazardous substances and recovering valuable materials. Plastic, glass and metals can all be reused on other machines. This prevents equipment from ending up in landfills.

Why recycle IT equipment?

There are several reasons to recycle IT equipment. Ranging from environmental concern to compliance with the law. Recycling IT equipment not only reduces the amount of e-waste (electronic waste) that ends up in a landfill. But also cuts down the number of raw materials needed to manufacture new equipment. This is especially important because 80% of a piece of equipment’s lifetime emission come from it being manufactured.
So, recycling IT equipment comes with various benefits:

  1. Reusable materials: Hardware often contains precious metals and other materials that can be reused in other machines, such as copper and aluminum.
  2. Reduce costs: another benefit of recycling IT equipment is that the refurbished parts and machines that result from the process help companies save money due to it being a cost-effective alternative to buying new. 
  3. Corporate Social Responsibility: additionally, for many businesses, Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR is an integral part of their mission and their image. Sustainable practices and environmental consciousness are a top priority for them and something that is expected to keep growing in importance.

In summary, recycling IT hardware is a win-win both for companies and the environment. Both society and stakeholders pressure companies to become more and more sustainable. So, recycling is also a smart strategic move for any business with an IT component.

What IT equipment can be recycled?

The truth is that almost every electrical and electronic device can be broken down into its constituent components for recycling. In other words, computer equipment recycling encompasses virtually every piece of electronics or IT hardware a company may use. Circuit boards, storage media such as hard drives, networking equipment. All of it can be recycled, as all of it contains materials that can be reused.

The benefits of recycling computer parts are increased sustainability scores for the company. Moreover, when partnering with a third-party management company, it optimizes the return on investment of the purchase. Since the equipment can provide spare parts to extend the life of other hardware in a different data center.

How IT equipment recycling works?

A company can decide to recycle its IT hardware. Yet sorting out the different materials that make up hardware is an elaborate process. The IT equipment recycling process involves a specialist company taking the discarded equipment to a reprocessing plant, to shred it into small pieces. After shredding, conveyor belts transfer the shredded under powerful magnets. These magnets separate iron and steel from the e-waste. They remove ferrous metals. Electronic current collect the non-metallic metals. Plastic is sorted into different categories. Thanks to methods like using infrared light or density separation. When you recycle electronics, you ensure that all materials will be salvaged for future use.

What laws deal with IT equipment recycling?

e-waste is being taken more and more seriously by governments. As with other areas of pollution. In different parts of the world recycling electronics are regulated by law. In the European Community, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE directive), sets collection, recycling and recovery targets for all types of electrical goods. The WEEE Directive also requires manufacturers of electric and electronic equipment taking care of organizing and financing the correct treatment of end of life equipment users discard.

With this legal framework in place, most EU Member States have founded Compliance and Take Back schemes (CTBS) to provide compliance services to manufacturers.

Complying with the relevant legislation of each country is a crucial aspect of recycling IT equipment.

Disposal of sensitive data

When it comes to unused electronics, the decommissioning and recycling process also involves the secure destruction of data. This is to ensure that other can not obtain any sensitive information. No company wants to see valuable and sensitive information ending up in the hands of competitors or other actors. So taking measures to avoid this possibility is paramount.

This often involves the physical destruction of the equipment. Data destruction and equipment disposal that includes making sure the equipment is physically destroyed is a service that companies involved in recycling usually provide. This service also takes care of the matter of hazardous materials that may be contained in the equipment.

Partner with a professional IT equipment recycling service

Given the complexity of the recycling process of IT assets, it’s advisable for companies to partner with an IT equipment recycling service to guarantee compliance and benefit from their specialized experience. A company like Evernex that offers recycling services can take care of every step of the process, ensuring responsible recycling, quality and good results.

We provide an end-to-end recycling service certified by the EU’s WEEE directive to generate value by giving repurposed components a second life as refurbished hardware.

To learn more about how Evernex can help you maximize IT spend, optimize sustainability performance and protect the environment with Evernex hardware recycling, contact us!

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