There was a time – way back when computers, laptops, and other IT equipment were relatively new to the corporate scene – when disposing of unwanted electronics didn’t warrant much consideration. In fact, the key motivating factor for many businesses was: can they come and pick it up? And if the chosen recycler picked up for free, so much the better.
But times have changed, and most recycling initiatives are being driven by some combination of:
- environmental awareness,
- data security, and
- value maximization
No longer can the responsible IT manager simply hand off their obsolete electronics to whomever is willing to take them. Certifications matter. They protect your company and your reputation. And they allow you to sleep at night knowing your assets are being properly managed.
What are some of the risks you face if your organization does not use a certified electronics recycler?
Increased Liability – A certified electronics recycler always manages data properly – even when the customer hasn’t asked them to. That’s because the standards for electronics recyclers DEMAND robust data handling procedures that include wiping and physical destruction. One college in Calgary, Alberta learned this lesson the hard way a few years ago – to the tune of $250,000 in costs and reputational damage.
Environmental Damage – By now, most of us have read at least one article about the toxic compounds found in electronics. Lead. Mercury. All manner of nasty stuff that first accumulates in our soil and water, then moves up the food chain to cause serious developmental delays in children, and health issues amongst the rest of us. A powerful documentary released over a decade ago starkly outlines this problem at a global level.
Why expose yourself and your organization to hazards like these when you can protect your company by doing a little digging? Here are some important questions you should be asking your current recycler:
- Are they certified to the R2 standard?
R2 has emerged as the global standard most recognized by IT professionals when it comes to electronics reuse and recycling.
- What are their data destruction policies?
If the reply is a blank stare, you have a problem.
- What wipe standard do they use? Do they generate a Certificate of Data Destruction (COD)?
The industry standard wipe protocol is DoD 5220.22-m, and the platform used should be able to generate a COD for each wiped drive.
- What do they do with hard drives that fail their wipe?
Any answer other than “SHRED THEM” is a red flag.
- Who are their downstream vendors?
Any responsible recycler will be willing to share this information with you (perhaps with an NDA in place). Someone who isn’t doing things properly will be far less transparent.
- Can you tour their facility?
Possibly the most telling question of all. Certified recyclers are proud of what they do because they do things correctly. If someone is hesitant to give you a tour of their facility, you can spend time speculating on what they might be hiding – or you can call Quantum and get it done right. Because the last thing any business wants is to become a referenceable “recycling horror story” for some future blog post.