Tuesday, 18 October 2011

UK companies are recycling IT waste, but not sending it for reuse

A month ago Computer Aid, a not for profit organisation that provides refurbished PCs to developing countries, released the findings of research into how companies dispose of their IT and why. The headline findings were that:

  • 1 in 5 senior IT decision makers in the UK are “not confident” that none of their company’s unwanted IT goes to landfill. In fact only 65% were confident or very confident that all their unwanted IT avoided being sent to landfill.

  • Only 14% follow best practice IT disposal and send their working IT for reuse.

  • 83% of those who don’t reuse would like to do so if possible.

  • On average, 542 PCs are disposed of per large company per year. Typically, UK companies replace their base units every 3.7 years and their monitors every four years.

The research was based on responses from 100 senior IT decision makers in UK companies with 1,000 or more employees.

Encouragingly, 83% of respondents state that their company is compliant with the WEEE Directive – the legislation aimed at reducing the volume of e-waste generated and the promotion of reuse, recycling and recovery of working equipment. The down side is that 13% had never heard of the Directive at all. This at a time when the WEEE Directive is being revised – tougher e-waste rules are working their way through European legislation even now.

Recycling IT equipment is the preferred option for disposal among respondents, with 28% recycling all of their IT and 41% recycling more than half. But only 14% follow best practice in IT disposal (and the preferred disposal method specified in the WEEE Directive) and send all their working computers for reuse and recycle the rest. Among the rest, 63% cite data protection concerns as a reason for avoiding reuse. Cost is a factor with 53%, while 24% suggested that contractual obligations to a leasing company prevented them from doing so.

© The Green IT Review

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