In my discussion with Jim O’Grady, Director of Asset Management, HP Financial Services (see my blog last week) he pointed out that there are a number of myths about what can and should be done with IT equipment at end of life. The Technology Renewal Centre the company recently opened in Scotland bears out his comments.
Below are the first three of those myths, which are particularly relevant to the corporate environment:
Hopefully there aren’t too many people that still believe this. Recycling is the third choice in the end-of-life hierarchy, after Reduce and Reuse.
E-waste is a growing concern among the environmental and business community, driving many to look at processes that optimise the practice of recycling. The problem is that used IT equipment is often seen as having only this salvage value, rather than any worth as an asset in its own right. So equipment is given to local recyclers and the value is lost.
Recycling is a last resort. It allows materials to be recovered, but the process also comes with the responsibility for proper disposal. Companies need to take care that materials are handled in a safe and environmentally sound way, in accordance with a wide range of legislation around the world. Supplying equipment to IT companies and other organisations to refurbish for reuse is both a better end of life outcome and means there is no responsibility around disposal.
2. No one wants your old IT equipment.
As I mentioned last week, the market for used IT equipment globally is in the multi-billion dollar range and the fact that HP has opened the new Technology Renewal Centre is a testament to its health.
Many companies are locked into hardware supply contracts with IT suppliers and their main concern is that the equipment is fully supported by the manufacturer through warranties and service agreements. Sometimes, though, they have budget constraints and want to supplement equipment with something lower cost and/or avoid a wholesale upgrade in order to expand their IT capabilities. That’s when they need ‘old’ equipment, which, after a manufacturer’s refurbishment, still comes with a warranty.
3. Reusing or recycling old IT equipment is a difficult and time-consuming process.
It can be. Lots of companies think they’ve found a great way of putting used equipment back into the market by selling it, sometimes through auction sites like eBay. The problem is that they then have the responsibility of removing data, testing the equipment to make sure its fit for use, delivering it, etc. If equipment is to be sold, there needs to be a consistent approach across the company and it needs to adhere to local compliance legislation.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Returning equipment to the manufacturer, who then puts in the refurbishing and recycling effort and takes the responsibility, is much easier. When it comes to selling on, HP, for example, uses its own field-based sales force to sell the refurbished equipment. Revenue, after costs, is shared with the previous owner.
I’ll complete the list tomorrow.