Click above to view my presentation on this topic from the Fall 2017 IAITAM Conference.
The ITAD process may be complex, but the final outcomes for your surplus equipment should be straightforward and easily traceable. Done right, ITAD results in zero waste with optimal value recovery. Here’s a look inside the ITAD world from the perspective of an ITAD vendor who prioritizes those factors.
Data security and transparency in ITAD
Data security should be your number one concern. You are knowledgeable about your profession’s data security requirements. In turn, an ITAD vendor should strictly adhere to the highest data security standards in the industry.
The standards for the ITAD process emphasize a secure, controlled facility with all incoming IT assets closely tracked. Facilities should include multiple layers of physical security, including 24/7 surveillance and rigorously monitored access controls. From the receiving bays to the testing/repair areas to the shipping docks, all areas assets will move through should meet rigid security standards.
Instead of dumping everything in a large warehouse, ITAD vendors should individually log each of your surplus IT assets in to their system, so they can be tracked through the value recovery process. Vendors should then thoroughly and securely screen all equipment, such as HDDs.
Following screening, assets with straightforward repairs are securely wiped, graded and repackaged. Inevitably, the screening process will reveal some units that are not easily repairable. What happens next sets certain vendors apart from others.
Intensive repair/refurbishment of your surplus IT assets
Many ITAD vendors are content to send units with more complex refurbishment needs to be recycled. A longer, more intensive software repair cycle, after all, involves more time, expertise, and investment. But a longer cycle can potentially maximize your resale value by pulling in assets that would otherwise go straight to the recycling phase.
Following this intensive repair/refurbishment cycle, assets that are cleared for resale are repaired, cleaned and repackaged.
When items are not salvageable, they should be destroyed on site at a secure facility then shipped out to compliant recyclers. In compliance with the R2 certification, ITAD vendors should strictly monitor their waste stream to ensure responsible waste handling by downstream partners.
Recycling breaks electronics down into their base materials. The process extracts valuable plastics and metals to be returned to the manufacturing economy, reducing the need for costly mining and extraction of new materials.
Positioning your IT assets for resale
Global markets provide opportunities to maximize IT asset resale. Developing countries present an insatiable demand for low-cost computers and computer parts. A huge variety of your assets are potentially suitable for reuse in secondary markets, including: P.C. and laptops; servers and workstations; LCD monitors; CPU processors; hard disk drives; phone systems; and the ubiquitous smartphone.
However, a tightly controlled downstream is imperative to ensure these valuable products end up with new consumers and not as unregulated e-waste. Partnering with a certified, worldwide ITAD vendor can give you the confidence that — whether recycled or reused — your IT assets end up in the right place.