The ITAD Report

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ITAD and e-waste - 4 important differences


Many times, the terms ITAD and e-waste are mixed up. It’s frustrating, but hopefully this article will help you explain.

1 Use again? Or throw away?
The purpose of ITAD is to give electronic equipment a second life. At Inrego, for example, 93,4% of the IT assets that come to our facility are redeployed. E-waste, on the other hand, is about crushing or shredding, sending profitable assets and many rare metals up the chimney.

2 Can you trust e-waste management?
If you send IT equipment to a recycler where it will be smashed or shredded, are they providing documentation of all data contained on that IT equipment is wiped? A trusted ITAD partner, will provide all the required documentation to make you sleep well at night.

3 The question of value
Your company or organisation is eager to make the best of it’s resources. So why throw away resources that still carry a value? If the plan is to replace IT equipment after, say, three years - then why not sell the old units, through an ITAD partner, and make some more money out of it?

4 Energy
An e-waste recycling plant is noisy, dirty, and extremely power consuming. ITAD isn’t even close. ITAD facilities use approximately one tenth as much power.

Nevertheless, many companies still prefer recycling, out of old habits. This is really sad. The difference between what is being recycled and what should be recycled is huge. In 2016, Global E-Waste Monitor estimated the total value of all raw materials in e-waste was estimated at 55 Billion Euros. In short: ITAD is the idea to reuse IT equipment as long as possible, but e-waste is simply throwing it away.

How do you control uncontrolled data?


Data at end-of-life is a massive challenge for most companies, especially as the volume of data keeps growing fast, partly as a result of legislation such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The real problem shows up at the end of the hardware’s lifetime, since the owner of the information is legally responsible to protect and permanently delete or physically destroy all personal, proprietary and confidential information.

There are heaps of hard drives and Solid-State Drives lying around storage rooms and data centres and most of them contain sensitive data which needs to be protected or permanently removed – or it could be put the company at risk. As a rule, erasure is the best solution. Erasure is the software-based method of securely overwriting data from any data storage device. By overwriting the data on the storage device, the data is rendered unrecoverable and achieves data sanitisation. Data erasure offers better control than other forms of data sanitisation, largely due to the validation process that ensures the data was successfully overwritten and the auditable reporting is readily available.

Physically shredding SSDs, on the other hand, is a challenge. Typically, a shred width of 10mm or smaller is needed to break through the small memory chips and securely remove the data, but most industrial shredders can only shred into 20mm particles – leaving lots of information behind. Physical destruction can also be harmful to the environment considering the shredded assets that are left behind.

With erasure, you can rest assured the data is permanently gone.

With data erasure, businesses can achieve error-free, certified erasure reporting with a 100 percent verifiable audit trail. At the same time, reusing your assets saves you money and adds an important environmental benefit.

5 ways to minimize e-waste


Maybe your IT equipment isn’t spanking new, but it’s still got a lot to give. Here are five ways to make the most of your electronic devices.

  1. Pay more - use longer
    Go for the higher-end, more expensive solution. That way, you can keep the equipment longer.
  2. Re-define “defunct”
    Try to control the impulse to throw away and buy new. Instead, try to fix what’s broken. Many times, it’s worth it.
  3. Delay the inevitable
    After the magic three years - how about keeping the equipment for another year or so? Count on it! You’ll see it’ll save you quite a bit of money.
  4. Donate your device
    Even if the equipment is too slow and old for your needs, it might be good enough for someone else, maybe with a smaller budget and simpler needs. This will keep your retired electronics out of the e-waste stream for another few more years.

We all need to give a hand

For ITAD to become really successful, we need both commercial and nonprofit interests to work together. That’s why it’s great to hear about examples like Returum in the Swedish town Kristianstad. Finally, after years of planning, the construction is underway. What is it then? Well, Returum is basically a hyper modern and ambitious center combining reuse, sorting, circulation, second hand shops, even sustainability classes. A large part of the operations will be powered by solar panels.

US companies still cautious on ITAD


An increasing number of American companies employ ITAD practices but (there’s always a BUT) they don’t go all in, simply because they’re not fully comfortable yet with the idea of ITAD. So, in parallel, US companies employ other practices of disposing of electronic hardware, like waste, direct donation and selling. These disposing practices are neither safe nor environmental.

This picture of the American ITAD market is painted in a new report from research firm Compliance Standards.

Inrego CEO Christoffer Sandell has read the report:

- It’s very much like the situation here in Europe. The European ITAD market is also maturing and gaining ground but yes - there are still a lack of knowledge and even misconceptions we need to address.

To Christoffer Sandell, there’s only one way to go for Europe's ITAD’s:

- The more IT equipment we reuse in a correct manner, the faster the ITAD market will be recognized. This will, in turn, create sustainable growth and give a positive impact on the circular economy.

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