Recycling Your IT – What, Why And How?

We talk a lot about the benefits of shredding and recycling your documentation. It’s secure, environmentally friendly and a great way to keep up with green initiatives. But have you ever thought about what happens to your computer and IT equipment when you no longer need it? When you just throw it away, it ends up in a landfill site or incinerator, adding to the 3,140,000 tons of e-waste we produce each year. But just because you have no use for a computer anymore, doesn’t mean it can’t be useful to someone else. Not to mention the security risks that come with throwing away hard drives full of personal, confidential information. So how does recycling your IT help protect your business and the environment?

Why Recycle IT Equipment?


Think about how much information is stored on your hard drive. Every file you’ve ever saved, every search you’ve ever made and every password you’ve ever typed. Even your deleted files are still there, buried deep in the memory banks of your computer. If you just threw all of that away, you could be putting it straight in the hands of criminals, who will use it to defraud your business, steal from you or even impersonate you and your company. Recycling your computer equipment starts with destroying it – breaking it down into pieces so small that they cannot be reassembled, so you can be sure that your data is safe.

It’s also a way your business can contribute to a cleaner environment. Computer equipment recycling and refurbishing is an important part of an organisation’s sustainable waste strategy. Businesses are encouraged to dispose of their IT equipment in an environmentally responsible way – in other words, recycling. There are even governmental regulations in place to deal with hazardous electronics (think the WEEE directive) and multiple ways of disposing of other electronics safely. These can then be reused and turned into new equipment, replacing the need for even more natural resources.

 How Is IT Equipment Recycled?


Fortunately, IT equipment is relatively easy to recycle, if slightly time consuming. When full machines like laptops, servers or PC’s are sent for recycling, they are first picked apart and stripped of all the useful whole components, like motherboards and microchips. One everything has been salvaged, the rest of the machine can then be fed through an industrial grade shredder, like ours. The resulting shreds are a mixture of materials, and these are sent to a recycling plant, who separate them out using large magnets and other sorting devices. This way the plastics can all be sent to be melted and repurposed, the metals can be sorted and sent away and the glass can be broken down and melted to make new glass.

If you don’t have a full machine to recycle, but instead a hard drive to destroy, we can help you there. Many people choose to sell on their old computers for parts, removing the hard drives first so they aren’t giving away any data. This approach is great for data security, but essentially leaves you with a hunk of metal and no use for it. If this happens, you can bring the hard drive to our secure shredding facilities, to be shredded and recycled into new computer parts.

What Can Be Recycled?


The good news is – almost anything. Most parts of a basic computer set up and IT system can be recycled, from monitors and PCs to servers and laptops. Even peripherals such as printers, scanners, telephones, mice, keyboards and hard drives.  Some types of computing equipment will need particular expertise to recycle, like PCs, which tend to have a lot of heavy metal in their circuitry. From these elements, recycling teams can salvage plastic, ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals, electronic boards, glass and even gold.

Of course, you may not need to recycle your IT systems that often, so you may not know exactly what you need to do, or who you need to talk to. For more information on shredding and recycling your computer and IT equipment, or advice on what to do next, get in touch with us today.

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