Recycling Electronic Waste: The 3 Rules you need to know about

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Imagine your customers’ data finding itself in the wrong hands just because you didn’t follow the guidelines of proper electronics disposal. Or imagine the pile of old IT equipment that comes from your stores ending up in an unregulated landfill and children dismantling and melting it down. Not quite surreal images, are they?

Electronic waste in Agbogbloshie dump, Accra, Ghana.These though, are real-life scenarios that can easily happen if you are not careful.

It’s not lost on anyone that the fastest growing waste stream on the planet today is e-waste. And given the valuable material on our devices (computers, smartphones, TV’s and more) the temptation to extract that value regardless of the human or environmental consequence is quite significant.

This is a major catalyst behind the proliferation of the electronics recycling industry which has spawned many new electronics recycling companies, sweet trade-in programs and a flourishing market in the used electronics sector. On the flipside, it has also increased the opportunity to do it all wrong, and this is a huge cost on the environment, society and reputation of your company.

It may sound an intricate affair, no doubt, but by just adhering to a few simple rules, you can ensure you have peace of mind by avoiding costly mistakes that may come back to bite you.

Rule #1: Know your Recycler

These days, there is an endless list of companies that can recycle your IT equipment for you. Beneath the smoke and mirrors, however, you will only find a very small number you should consider going to bed with. And perhaps more importantly, never at any given time consider doing business with a company that doesn’t have the necessary certification.

These standards ensure both your data privacy and the environment will be afforded the highest levels of protection. The certifications also hold the e-waste recycling company accountable which ensures your equipment is in safe hands throughout the disposal process.

Rule #2: When the Deal is too Good, Think twice

It’s an old adage you probably heard of, this.

By this we mean those ‘free’ recycling services that are popping up on every corner in San Jose. But in all truth, responsible computer recycling comes at a cost. Moreover, some of your assets have enough value that you should be getting paid for it (by the recycler) in some instances (as opposed to the other way around?) This especially holds true for assets not older than three years.

Rule #3: Create a Formal Plan for Disposition and Stick to it

When structuring or modifying your enterprise’s data security plan (you do have one, right?) remember to include particular protocols for disposition and, by adhering to Rule #1, don’t forget to include language that obligates the use of a certified electronic waste recycling company for all electronics and IT asset disposition.

Pretty basic rules, right? Abide by them and you’ll rest in the knowledge that your data is secure, the environment is not being violated, and the good reputation of your company is being upheld.

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