Responsible IT Data and E-waste Disposal: What’s your Company doing?

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When it comes to disposal of electronics, typically, cost effectiveness and security are the primary concerns. Over the last couple of decades, however, another motive as to why your company should practice responsible disposal has been gaining prominence.

These days, more and more consumers are factoring in environmental and social practices before then can make a decision on who to enter the marriage with. So much so that a while back, the National Marketing Institute unearthed during a study that a whopping 58 percent of customers these days factor in the environmental and social reputation of a company before finally making a decision on whether or not to do business with them.

That said, the way you go about e-waste disposal of all the physical assets of your company’s IT carries the social and environmental components that can have a bearing on your company’s reputation; it’s a make or break situation. This, not forgetting that now, more than ever, inappropriate disposal can attract hefty fines, and in some instances, even jail terms. In other words, asset disposal has become a corporate social responsibility, not just the obligatory act it once was.

One of the ways you can boost your company’s environmental and social standing in your community is by donating equipment. Donations can be in the form of assets your company has outgrown, but still in great shape. There is no shortage of parties to donate to and these could include a non-profit organization, local school or church and so on.

Before you embark on computer disposal efforts, however, you need to think carefully about the issue of data removal from all your equipment. This is something you should not underestimate because sensitive information regarding your company can be your Socrates’ hemlock. Make sure all data has been wiped clean by experts (particularly when it comes to hard drive recycling).

electronics-recycling-san-joseIf the equipment making its way out is too outdated to be useful even as a donation, then there are other things other than data security that you need to properly and carefully consider, especially if the contents are headed to a landfill somewhere. They include the following:

  • The fastest growing waste stream in the United States is electronics.
  • Improper recycling and disposal of electronic waste introduces dangerous metal toxins such as cadmium, lead and mercury into the environment. If you have no idea what these could do to living things, there are a couple of documentaries that could give you an idea.
  • Government at all levels continue to address concerns pertaining to improper handling of e-waste through imposing stricter regulations and penalties which include fines and jail time.
  • Estimates say that close to 3.5 million pounds of IT equipment was discarded in the U.S. alone in 2013. Over the next decade, this figure is projected to grow by 33 percent.
  • Employee retention tends to be higher at companies that have social and environmental programs in place.
  • A good number of underdeveloped countries in Africa and Asia have a buzzing industry centered around recycling e-waste from American companies. With most working unprotected from the highly toxic materials (and unregulated) the impact these industries has had on some of these workers and families living near these plants is sickening.

There is a lot that hinges on IT data and asset disposal and this boils down to three major bottom lines: financial, social, and environmental. Thus, when going about electronic recycling San Jose, it’s always a good idea to implement a program that balances all three.

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