IT Disposal

In the past decade, individuals, organisations and devices are more connected than ever mainly due to advancement in the information technology and upgrade of devices. The high rate of innovation in the sector has led to reduced shelf lives of different devices: mobile phones, computers and laptops and has subsequently increased the level of IT waste across the globe. The question is, are we disposing of the information contained therein and the devices in the correct manner or are we putting ourselves in precarious positions due to our ignorance? What is the correct IT disposal process?

More information on IT disposal

Information overwrite

Most people believe that once information has been deleted from a device, it can never be recovered. However, this is not the case. Deleting a file, photo, video or any other piece of information still leaves a digital footprint on the device. However, IT experts can overwrite this footprint to ensure that the information does not remain on the device. This way, individuals and organisations can prevent the access of the said information by unauthorised individuals. This is important in protecting individual privacy as well as preventing trade or business secrets from falling into the wrong hands.

Disposing of the devices

Once the information contained therein has been overwritten, the devices can then be disposed off. First, the devices or their subsequent parts must be sorted based on the material used to make them. This is because most of these parts can be reused or recycled. Plastic components, metallic components and components that contain hazardous materials are usually delivered to different processing or recycling plants.

The parts that are in good condition and can be refurbished or reused can be sent to various refurbishment centres. Components made from minerals, and other natural resources can be sent to recycling plants for use in new devices. These materials are exhaustible and therefore, by recycling them we are not only creating jobs but also trying to use these resources in a sustainable manner. If you do not have the knowledge or skills to determine what parts should be delivered in specific plants, deliver the entire device to the nearest recycling plant and they will do the rest for you.

In some cases, the manufacturer may have a take back option where clients return their old devices for newer devices. When you take back the device, it will be valued, and the manufacturer will ask you to top up the difference between the value of the old device and the new device. This is common with computers and mobile phones but not all manufacturers practice it.

Why is this important?

Recycling and reusing components enhances sustainable use of resources across the globe. It also minimises the level of pollution on the air, water and land which makes the world a safer place for plants, animals and people. Hazardous waste in air, water or soil can result in health complications for animals and human beings. Besides, IT waste can be unsightly if improperly disposed off, therefore, proper disposal also has aesthetic value. In addition, there are organisations that pay people for Information Technology waste products.