Today I’d like to address some very common misconceptions about IT disposal and what happens with old IT equipment that is “worth too little” to be bought and sold – and by that I mean, equipment which isn’t worth testing, inventorying, selling, and shipping. We refer to this equipment simply as “scrap”.
There are organizations in our industry which can stir up quite a bit of hysteria, and fear, about where your old equipment can end up. In some cases – yes – old, worthless equipment ends up polluting the land or water in developing countries. And in some cases the amount of scrap material polluting these places can become quite significant.
But do these organizations that promote their certification programs really do much at all to prevent this “e-waste” from polluting the planet? Or are companies in our industry paying a hefty price for something that ultimately may not help so much? Is there really a difference between a “certified” recycler, and a recycler which is not?
Our company certainly does what it can to prevent equipment from ending up in landfills, and we do not believe in paying for one of these certifications. But if we were to pay for one of these rather expensive certifications, would it really be much different?
We won’t name names, but if you perform a search on Google for “IT disposal certifications”, you’ll come up with some results of what we may be referring to. There are organizations out there which promote the “responsible disposal of e-waste”, in so many words, where the members who subscribe may be expected to abide by specific standards and procedures that help prevent scrap from ending up along shores of rivers in China, and elsewhere in the developing world.
Maybe these certifications can help. But here’s how they don’t help: we can purchase used IT equipment from companies which promote “responsible recycling” – so that begs the question: who’s making sure that we, as a customer of this certified company, are responsibly disposing of this scrap when we’re done with that equipment? Or that our customers are responsibly recycling it?
What if we bought 1,000 computers from a “certified recycler” and export those to one of our customers overseas? After all – maybe this overseas market has a higher demand for used computer equipment, so they’re willing and able to pay a higher price. It would seem quite unlikely (or impossible) that when all of those 1,000 computers reach the end of their usable life in this developing country, that all of those will then be responsibly recycled.
So where’s the silver lining in all of this? The good thing about working with RepowerIT is that we recognize what “scrap” material actually holds value – and that’s pretty much all of it! That’s right – almost all obsolete equipment IS actually worth money, in big enough volumes. Let’s take an old computer for example: the case, motherboard, power supply, hard drive, CPU – there’s steel, copper, gold, and even plastic – which gets sold for the current scrap market price per pound, to be processed and refined by material.
RepowerIT works with scrap processors who separate equipment by material, and then have that material refined, so it is reused. We don’t toss scrap material into landfills, and we do not need a certification to tell us not to do that. Just ask yourself the question: why would, even an unscrupulous company, simply throw away valuable scrap material when they can sell it to a processor/refiner and get paid money for it? And on that note, why would a processor/refiner pay money for material simply to throw it in a landfill? Doing so simply is not good business.
If your organization has any surplus equipment we can assist with, please contact us. We’ll provide a prompt, competitive, and honest assessment of what your equipment is worth.