Need for IT hardware recycling and benefits

In today’s world, recycling outdated servers and other unused pieces of hardware that are just taking up space is one of the smartest things a business can do to contribute to the circular economy and improve its sustainability scores. 

Every organization must maintain a sustainable waste strategy, and IT hardware recycling and refurbishing should play a very important role in it. Government regulations and WEEE directives are specially designed to deal with hazardous waste and dispose of IT equipment, from computer monitors to all types of devices, in an environmentally responsible manner. 

The need for recycling computers 

There are several good reasons for recycling IT hardware, ranging from environmental good practices to business strategy that can help organizations optimize their IT budgets. The process offers several benefits: 

  • Reducing the volume of waste material which gets dumped illegally. 
  • Cutting down the amount of raw materials required to manufacture new products as well as the greenhouse gas emissions emitted into the atmosphere during their manufacturing process. 
  • Refurbished computer equipment can benefit people and organizations that cannot afford to buy new IT equipment, as well as those that simply want to optimize their budget and increase their ROI. 

What is the e-waste in your hardware? 

First of all, we need to understand what constitutes e-waste. The term is a popular and informal name for electronic products nearing the end of their useful life, and as we have already seen, many of these products can be reused, refurbished, or recycled. 

The materials found in a piece of data center IT equipment include plastic (23%), ferrous metals (32%), non-ferrous metals (18%), electronic boards (12%) and glass (15%). A single piece of equipment may contain up to 2kg of lead, as well as other highly toxic and hazardous elements like cadmium, mercury and chromium, which can do harm to the environment and both animal and human life if they are thrown away. This complex mixture of materials found in the components can make IT hardware very difficult to recycle. 

The WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) directive, which became European Law in February 2003, sets collection, recycling and recovery targets for all types of electrical goods. 

It is for this reason that it’s advisable to hire the services of a company that follows the WEEE directive when recycling computers or engaging in any other type of electronic recycling. 

The focus of IT recycling should be to dispose of unused/unwanted IT spares, old electronics or other items in an environmentally sustainable way, which means, among other things, preventing it from ending up in a landfill, where its valuable materials cannot be reused and only contribute to harming the environment and filling up the world with additional waste. 

How to go about recycling your IT hardware? 

For most companies, the best way of recycling hardware responsibly is to engage the services of an enterprise that specializes in recycling, refurbishing and reusing IT equipment. This will ensure, among other things, compliance with the regulations in place in the country where the company is located. 

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) advises companies to contact a certified disposal specialist. The reusable hardware is carefully dismantled and sorted according to type. All the useful metals are then separated. Materials like steel and aluminum can be recycled to make car parts or for engineering purposes, whereas non-reusable substances are disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. 

Laws that deal with IT hardware recycling 

There are two main laws that deal with recycling & IT waste management: they are DTI’s waste acceptance criteria (WAC) and the European Recycling Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) directive. 

Born as a result of the harmful effect of human activity on the environment, WEEE mainly focuses on the need for a specialist handling and disposal of IT hardware. The directives set by WEEE impose responsibility for the disposal of IT hardware and make it possible to return the hardware to the market in a cost effective way. 

Why use a WEEE certified company for the job? 

The WEEE Directive is a European Directive that implements the principle of “extended responsibility”. Specifically, when that IT hardware goes out of use. It seeks to reduce the amount of IT waste that ends up in landfills by encouraging its collection and subsequent treatment, re-use, recovery, recycling and environmentally sound disposal. 

The WEEE Directive sets targets for recycling of 65% and recovery from the waste stream of 75% by weight of IT equipment. Evernex tracks recycling activity and enables 100% percent recovery with zero IT waste disposed of in a landfill. 

Another concern when it comes to unused IT equipment is making sure that the information it contains cannot be retrieved once we dispose of the hardware. According to the 1998 Data Protection Act, it is essential for businesses that deal with sensitive data to keep it backed up and secure. Before reformatting the hard drive, please make sure to take professional advice from Evernex on how to dispose of the data correctly, because the formatting may not completely destroy the data on your hard drive. Our Asset Recovery Services and solutions help business customers manage their redundant information technology hardware by providing solutions that exceed the WEEE Directive. 

To summarize, recycling IT hardware is not only a good idea from a strategic point of view, as it can lead to optimized budgets when a company partners with a recycling specialist, but also a matter of compliance with the law and a great way to improve the sustainability score of a business. Furthermore, working with a company that specializes in this task ensures data security and frees up resources that can be better devoted elsewhere. 

Are you in the process of issuing an Request For Quotation (RFQ) for the handling and recycling of obsolete electronic equipment? Are you interested in finding out how reusing materials can benefit your company? If so, please click on contact us and submit your details and requests. We will be happy to discuss how we can best help your business and help you meet your environmental, compliance and business goals. 

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