Technology is known to change at an alarming rate, and organizations in every sector feel the pressure to remain on the cutting edge. But every time companies choose to upgrade their IT equipment, they must find ways to dispose of their old electronic devices.
Unfortunately, many tech disposal methods utilize unsafe processes for the environment and run the risk of compromising your organization’s data security. That’s why a sustainable, ethical IT recycling program is crucial to upholding your organization’s image and protecting your data. When building your IT recycling program, what are the most important considerations and processes to put in place?
The most obvious consideration when creating an electronics recycling workflow is, of course, environmental impact. In recent years, talk of sustainable business practices has become inescapable. As the human population grows and the effect of climate change becomes apparent, businesses across industries are implementing changes that support environmental protection. As a result, consumers are interested in supporting companies that prove they are both environmentally and socially responsible.
Essentially, a sustainable brand image clearly expresses a company’s relationship with social causes, the natural environment, and corporate governance. Sustainable business practices such as IT recycling programs help uphold your organization’s reputation and deepen the emotional bond formed with your customers, inspiring them to trust and support your company for years to come. On the other hand, allowing branded e-waste to accumulate in landfills can wreak havoc on your brand’s reputation and lead to a PR disaster.
All this helps us understand why ethical recycling practices are a vital element of any eco-friendly company culture, including e-waste disposal. Companies that get rid of outdated computers and other electronic devices via certified e-waste recyclers benefit from enhanced and provable sustainability, fostering public goodwill.
Of course, half the battle when it comes to maintaining your eco-friendly IT recycling program is working with reliable e-waste recyclers. With the right professional partners, your company can avoid the risk that your old equipment ends up in an e-waste “graveyard.” Essentially, these are landfills piled to the brim with e-waste that hasn’t been disposed of properly. Some unscrupulous disposal services that lack oversight ship barely-processed devices to e-waste landfills in developing countries with little or no regulations to protect the residents from toxic waste. And if equipment with serial numbers from your company ends up in an e-waste landfill, it can irreparably damage your company’s image.
Multiple events of this nature have transformed the IT asset disposition industry and led to the development of new standards and certifications. Organizations in every sector are now expected to take action and demonstrate their corporate responsibility by working with environmentally safe electronics recycling companies. When companies safely resell and recycle their outdated electronic equipment by entrusting them into the custody of a certified recycling company like First America Metal Corp. (FAMCe), it exemplifies your organization’s commitment to sustainability.
Still, eco-friendliness isn’t the only benefit or consideration involved in e-waste recycling. To protect your company or organization, your IT recycling program must also prioritize data privacy.
Recycling is basically synonymous with being environmentally friendly, so some companies fail to take other factors into account when disposing of outdated IT assets. However, there’s an oft-overlooked component to e-waste recycling that can make or break your IT recycling program: data privacy and chain of custody.
In terms of e-waste recycling, the “chain of custody” pertains to tracking the ownership, access, and liability of assets — in this case, your old electronics and the data that may still be stored inside. Chain of custody also determines what entity legally owns the e-waste and the risks they undertake while the property is in their possession.
Companies must know who is legally responsible for their e-waste if something goes wrong, such as loss, theft, or damage. Furthermore, evidence confirming the chain of custody is crucial if an investigation or audit occurs. When companies prioritize a secure chain of custody, it protects their brand from the disastrous press if their outdated IT equipment ends up in the wrong place or results in a data breach.
The chain of custody begins before your IT equipment even leaves your office, usually with asset tagging. Asset tagging is a practice that companies utilize to keep track of their employees’ devices. Each device is given a number or barcode that allows the organization to track it using asset management records. And this isn’t only for computers — every electronic device should be tracked, including printers, microphones, projectors, and cameras.
When you’re ready to decommission your devices, you should work with a certified IT asset disposition (ITAD) provider or reputable recycling company to ensure that your organization’s data security and privacy are protected from start to finish. When choosing an electronics recycler, search for companies that are regularly audited by an independent entity. Certifications such as R2 require audits that confirm the proper treatment of decommissioned IT assets, so this is the ideal place to start.
A trustworthy electronics recycling company will use your records to ensure that your equipment is processed correctly and follows a continuous chain of custody. That’s why at FAMCe, we tag each unit of inventory for an accurate, gapless, and reliable disposal process.
Certified recyclers also uphold the importance of data privacy and destruction. Even if your team took pains to clear files and information, you can’t always be sure that each device is totally cleared of sensitive data. So when disposing of your devices, ensure that your electronics recyclers can provide you with Certificates of Destruction upon request. These documents will provide you with concrete evidence that your company’s data has been eradicated under regulatory and industry standards.
Choosing the wrong company for your IT recycling needs can turn into a nightmare for your organization’s data security, public image, and consumer trust. Luckily, there are certified, reputable recyclers that will dispose of your company’s electronic devices the right way. So when it’s time to get rid of your old electronics, choose a partner you can rely on.
FAMCe has over 30 years of experience helping businesses safely and responsibly recycle their outdated devices. Our high level of expertise and exceptional customer service have built our reputation as an industry leader, and we are committed to exceeding each client’s needs and expectations.
Want to recycle your old devices with confidence? Contact FAMCe today for e-waste disposal that’s ethical and secure.