Dealing with Electronic Waste: The Shift to IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) [Part 1]

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As the technological engine continues to roar and soar, we have found ourselves increasingly reliant on computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones as must-have tools of business.

It is hard to fathom a world of business without these devices today. This is the reason companies are investing in services like disaster recovery for that dreaded rainy day when operations would grind to a screeching halt simply because this or that device or system crushed, the impact devastating.

These devices have found more use in the business ecosystem and bring with them a convenience for both business and customer never seen before. Sales and business executives now have more options to take care of business while a world away from their desks.

The laptop, for instance, has and still continues to undergo a thorough makeover to accommodate the different types of executives. Remember just a few years ago when the portable 8-inch micro laptops were all the rage? Those quickly gave way to tablets as the race to get lighter and faster heated up.

Where am I headed with this?

Regardless of the user or usage, the constant upgrade to faster devices with newer operating systems and specs capable of supporting more heavy-duty apps that get the business done means technological cycles are growing shorter. This has spawned the electronic waste conundrum as organizations of all sizes seek to deal with responsible disposition of equipment.

Enter the ITAD (IT asset disposition) process.

What is ITAD?

If the term ITAD sounds foreign to you, you are not alone.

It’s a name that christens the rapidly evolving field of electronics disposal. In other words, the process of disposing IT assets in a safe and responsible manner.

A solid ITAD strategy is another aspect of business many organizations are finding themselves coming to terms with given its importance in the IT lifecycle management process.

It can come in various forms, some of which you may be familiar with:

  • Redeployment: the practice of reusing IT assets within an organization.
  • Remarketing: the resale of assets to third parties in their entirety.
  • Recovery: reusing asset components (although asset recovery is a broader term for liquidation of assets).
  • Recycling: reducing assets to commodity form.

All tech devices will ultimately have a need for this service. In the world of IT equipment, it is more akin to the certainty of death (or taxes) in this mortal life we lead. It’s a net every equipment will end up in.

For many years, the management of retired IT assets has been more about the reuse of commodities as opposed to the reuse of parts (or the equipment as a whole). Increasingly though, more e recycling companies are recognizing the gains that can be realized by reusing equipment when and where possible. The most obvious include adding value to the recycling process and better yet, this is the most environmentally-friendly choice they can make.

As companies look to transition from recycling to ITAD, it’s worth noting that this brings with it operational changes. Metrics that may have been deemed appropriate for recycling streams (weight, for example) do not carry a lot of weight (see what I did there?) for ITAD companies that look at other aspects like throughput units, among others.

E-waste Bin

As much as the identification of remarketing value is highly significant, it does not imply metal separation and commodities are not. All devices will, ultimately, reach the end of their useful life. And when it boils down to dealing with obsolete equipment, electronic recycling – just like other ITAD operations – has a big and important role to play, and computer recycling companies should, and will, continue to pour more funds into it.

As mentioned, recycling is just one part of ITAD. In our next post, we will be focusing on some of the other services you should be looking at.

Until then.

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