Skip to content
Global Recycling Day: Embracing Sustainability in <span>IT <span> Practices

Global Recycling Day: Embracing Sustainability in IT Practices

Reduce, reuse, recycle, right? 


When we think of recycling and sustainability it’s always about saving the turtles from plastic straws and using refillable water bottles. In business, we try to recycle by using less paper and reusing packaging for shipments. For sustainability, we work remotely to cut down the carbon emissions from commuting and give branded tumblers and bottles for the office refilling stations. 


How often, though, are you translating recycling efforts to technology? Each year 6.9 million tons of e-waste is produced by the United States. That’s roughly 575,000 tons a month of electronic waste discarded. 


As consumers and business owners in a technology-driven age, we’re constantly bombarded to upgrade to the latest phones, tablets, computers, headphones, etc. But what happens to your electronic waste?


Why recycle?


Many of our everyday electronics are made with heavy metals like lead, cadmium, or mercury, or precious metals like steel and aluminum. If dumped in a landfill, those materials can contaminate the soil and waterways. Besides the environmental benefits, security is a top reason to properly dispose of your old devices.



Where to responsibly recycle electronics...


Collaborate with an organization in need that can reuse your devices/electronics.

These partnerships can look like schools or nonprofit organizations that take donated items for students, after-school programs, adult education programs, low-income resources, etc. Donating these items can go a long way not just in terms of sustainability, but in making an impact on the community.


Partner with a regulated recycler or organization for proper disposal.

There are risks involved if you work with a recycler that is not regulated or properly licensed. If they improperly dispose of your electronics, you could be on the hook for substantial fines.


Contact a hazardous waste management facility for directions on where and what is accepted. 

These organizations often have a few associated with recycling but will have a list of electronics that are accepted along with drop-off information. 


How to prep e-waste for disposal…


Organization is key here. Create a timeline of what you have and when it is available for recycling. If you know that your organization is upgrading all company cell phones, tablets, or computers, build a plan of action for properly disposing of the older devices. Take inventory of what is reusable or available to be resold. 


Key things to consider: 

  • Is the screen cracked?
  • Do the charging ports work?
  • Is the operating system still supported by Microsoft, Apple, or Android? 
    Can you reuse any of the devices for other projects or departments? 

Questions to ask recyclers:

  • What items do you accept for recycling? 
  • Do you accept bulk e-waste from businesses?
  • Can we schedule a pick-up or drop-off with you?
  • What costs/fees, if any, are associated with recycling?
  • How do you destroy data?


Once you’ve decided what is being recycled, resold, or disposed of data protection and security is your next area of concern. Throwing away a device does not mean that your data is safe from hackers or cybercriminals. Proper disposal of your electronics is a human element factor that can protect your business from a breach. 


Removing the data from an unwanted device is called sanitizing. Based on the device, methods for sanitizing vary. 


As part of the sanitization process, all data should be backed up to a secondary location like the cloud. On any device with storage capability, just moving an item to the Trash and emptying it does not mean the data has been erased from the device. You’ll need to work with your IT department and your chosen recycler to ensure proper sanitation of each device. 

Methods your MSP or IT department may use:

  • Disk Cleaning/Wiping
  • Secure Erase
  • Hard, Factory, or Manufacturer Resets
  • Overwriting


Investing in e-cycling…


Getting started can be the hard part. E-cycling is not just about the environment, it’s also about protecting your business from 

  • Breaches & Cyberattacks
  • Fines from local or state entities for improper electronics disposal


Adding recycling efforts to your annual or quarterly checklist will help your business tackle efficiency and sustainability. Devices need to be upgraded, there’s no way around it, but responsibly doing so serves your business’s best interest, the environment, and can make an impact on your local community. 

Need Help Getting Started?

Contact us today for recommendations on e-cyclers or process implementation!

Let's Meet and Talk