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IT Disposal and Recycling Program Makes Every Day Earth Day

18 Apr 2016 by Shay Moser

Citizens around the world have been celebrating Earth Day since 1970. The world’s largest environmental movement celebrated annually on April 22 is promoted byEarth Day Network, which works with tens of thousands of partners in 192 countries to plant trees, cut back from fossil fuels, clean up neighborhoods and urge government officials to enact more advanced environmental laws.

Yet all of this is only part of the cleanup story.

We live in a world filled with “throwaway” goods that pile up but don’t necessarily fit neatly or safely into a recycling bin, like data and electronics that create a trail of waste just as harmful to the environment as any non-biodegradable products. Many electronic devices, including computers, printers and cell phones, contain toxic heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium. It’s estimated that nearly 40 million tons of e-waste is generated every year, and only 12.5% of that is recycled, with the majority ending up in hazardous landfills in developing countries. 

Of course, many businesses want to do the right eco-conscious tech thing, but doing a initiative as extensive as Apple is not practical for everyone. And it’s not advisable to put electronic items on the curb for pickup. Organizations with used or outdated tech equipment filled with sensitive information need an effective and safe solution to reduce the clutter and make sure their assets end up in the right place.

It’s not easy being green — and safe.

As part of Insight’s asset disposition program, we help companies repurpose old and used tech equipment safely through data erasure, if applicable. It helps us protect the environment by following disposal guidelines mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — all while determining the best opportunities to maximize the marketability of our assets.

“We take all IT assets,” explains Lisa Czarnecki, a service business delivery specialist at Insight. “That includes traditional desktops, PCs, laptops, servers, routers, switches, mobile phones, tablets, printers and fax machines,” she describes about our nationwide services that include dock-to-dock or inside pickups.

In three processing locations across the country, we partner with disposal venderBelmont Technology Remarketing, which puts client assets through a rigorous review to determine whether to remarket, recycle or redeploy the hardware. “When Belmont receives an item, it does a complete physical and tech audit on each asset, checking to see if it powers up, has scratches or dents, or is burned or eroded, for example,” Czarnecki says.

Next, all serial numbers are tracked on all data-bearing devices and client IDs/assets tags are recorded and removed. Then each hard drive undergoes a Department of Defense 5220.22M drive wipe, a triple iteration, and multiple-overwrite process with random characters that renders the data completely erased and unrecoverable. Clients are provided a certificate of erasure and, if a drive cannot be erased, it is destroyed. “Just like a bank, if a client is audited it will have proof an erasure was completed,” says Czarnecki.

This high-level wipeout has far-reaching privacy and security implications since some of our clients’ assets contain secure information from their primary business activities but also those of their clients, some of whom are in privacy-risky industries like healthcare and banking.

Recycle tech responsibly.

Equipment that doesn’t contain a hard drive but still has any information stored on it will be cleared and reprogrammed to a factory setting, regardless of how it is disposed. “Though some copiers and other business equipment doesn’t have a hard drive, they may still store email addresses and other confidential information that needs to be removed prior to remarketing or deploying,” says Czarnecki.

If assets can be remarketed, they are either repaired or sold “as is,” and we work with Belmont and its network of known global buyers to obtain the highest rate of return for clients.

Most technology can be recycled, Czarnecki says, particularly entire computers, including the glass in the monitor, the plastic in the case, the copper in the power supply and the precious metals used in the circuitry. “If it’s determined an asset that has no value or is at the end of its lifecycle, it’s completely dissembled into salvageable plastic, glass and metal components and sent downstream to reputable recycling vendors and refineries,” she says. “And then clients are given a certificate of recycling.”

Items that are marked for redeployment, after they have been audited and wiped, are shipped directly to the new end user, which may be the original leaser of the equipment or another designated party. In some instances, clients use redeployment for donation purposes, sending the equipment to churches, schools and other community organizations identified by the client.

“Wherever a client tells us to send an asset, that’s where we send it,” says Czarnecki. “This is an excellent example of when proof of erasure is particularly important, since those receiving used equipment want to know this has been done effectively.”

We promise to be eco-friendly and EPA-compliant.

Through our customized disposition website, customers can access all information regarding the asset disposition process, including serial number/asset tag numbers, shipment records, certificates of destruction and certificates of erasure. Customers also can access a disposition request feature to order nationwide pick-ups.

Czarnecki points out that Insight and Belmont Technology strictly adhere to EPA regulations and guidelines that mandate safe disposition and quality-control compliance.

“We follow all ISO-certified procedures,” she says. In addition, Belmont Technology holds several recycling and refurbishing industry certifications, such as R2 and eStewards, which ensure tech-asset disposition is green, legal and secure. “Our clients can be guaranteed that any equipment will be disposed of in the United States,” says Czarnecki. “It will not be shipped overseas and dumped in a landfill or wash up on a shore in China.”

Whether you use Insight for your tech disposal and recycling, you can do the eco-conscious thing effectively and safely. The Telecommunications Industry Association brings this website to you for finding IT disposition and recycling centers near you. Otherwise, contact us at 1.800.INSIGHT. Besides device replacement and disposal,Insight offers system repair.