Recycling old office IT and electronic equipment
For many businesses across the UK, knowing the appropriate rules and regulations for waste electronic disposal can be seen as unnecessary, arranging for the quick, convenient disposal of obsolete IT or electrical equipment may seem like just another admin job. Knowing that the electronics need to legally be separated from other waste items, and disposed of safely and securely can be a further hindrance. However, jumping on Google, finding the cheapest quote and booking a collectionÂ may seem simple, but there are many things that you should take into account.
It is your responsibility to ensure that the items are safely and securely disposed off. This not only includes the hardware, but also the data contained on the equipment disposed. Computer recycling involves alot of considerations.
Legal responsibility for computer recycling – WEEE Directive
Introduced into European law in 2007 this important directive covers the responsible disposal and recycling of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (or WEEE) – basically everything in your office or work premises which has a plug or is powered by electricity bought since 2005.Â Although pre 2005 equipment isn’t covered, it is always a good idea to ensure it is recycled. Items that are battery powered (like laptops) are included to.
Items such as your laptop, desktop computer, office fan, even an old monitor containÂ raw materials which canÂ be recycled. However, someÂ of these elements are actually classed as ‘toxic’ or known carcinogens (substances known or suspected of causing cancers). Which is why all reputable IT recycling companies must possess valid legal licences, including an environmental permit.
Secure data destruction
Many businesses today collect a vast amount of data about their suppliers and customers. Most companies or organisations (including hospitals or universities), hold a tremendous amount of information regarding customers, clients, patients, students and the like. To the cyber criminal this data is pure identity theft heaven, enabling them to carry outÂ any number of lucrative scams and thefts. Just your clients email list, is enough for a scammer to get started.
The UK Data Protection Act makes it clear that it is the responsibility of a business or organisation to ensure this information does not fall into the wrong hands – this even extends to the disposal of old IT and computer equipment that contain this data.
There have been a number of historical cases where companies and establishments have been heavily fined where data has not been disposed of securely. Under this legislation you may be surprised to learn that the onus is upon the business or organisation to take all reasonable steps to ensure that any data on their old equipment has been destroyed, NOT the firm undertaking the recycling.