Africa Business Communities
[Column] Bridgette Vermaak: Making IT Asset Disposal sustainable

[Column] Bridgette Vermaak: Making IT Asset Disposal sustainable

Disposing of old electronics has become a business critical process with the introduction of new laws and regulations. Companies need to implement a sustainable IT asset program by engaging with a reputable IT asset management company that can provide the effective recovery, reuse and retirement of redundant IT assets.

Sustainability means keeping IT assets in use for as long as possible instead of disposing of them at an early stage. It’s time to move away from the traditional linear model by encouraging a more circular approach.

The circular economy is a framework that is restorative by design, it has multiple society-wide benefits and it aims to redefine business growth. This model not only reduces environmental and electronic waste, but it builds economic capital by keeping products and materials in use for much longer. 

Business owners must be concerned about non-compliant old PCs that are piling up in their storerooms. They usually contain vital personal information and must be removed in a manner that is compliant with the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA).

The days of simply selling it off to staff or second-hand retailers - even dumping it in a landfill - are over. More importantly, deleting files or formatting hard drives won’t do it nor will running a magnet over the old hard drives in an attempt to erase data.

Cybercriminals are forever seeking ways to get their hands on valuable company data and will pay employees a hefty price to remove a hard drive and hand it over. So, those old hard drives that are piled up in storage and gathering dust, could be worth millions to cybercriminals. 

POPIA is specifically designed to ensure that all companies conduct themselves in a responsible manner when collecting, processing, storing and sharing another entity's personal information, and holding them accountable should they abuse or compromise this personal information in any way.

Return on Investment 

Typically, businesses retire their electronics after 3 - 5 years and they typically have a residual value of 10 - 20% of the original cost. These assets can quickly devalue the longer the retired equipment is kept in storage.

Instead of discarding retired IT assets, companies can now recover and refurbish these electronics at end-of-life to become a new resource. This model makes good business sense, it enables business leaders to make better informed choices about how they can optimise IT asset management.

There are various options available to businesses that are contemplating disposal of their old electronics.

They can sell the equipment outright to a company like Xperien and recover the residual value which can then be put straight back into the company’s IT budget. This would include the certified erasure of client data from hard drives. 

Alternatively, companies like Xperien could refurbish the equipment and also do full data erasure. This equipment can then be sold to company staff at a reduced price of around 75% of the original cost, depending on the condition. 

Finally, the company can consider donating the refurbished equipment to schools and orphanages as part of its Corporate Social Investment programme, and claim the tax benefits. 

The new trend is to rather refurbish than recycle, many companies are finding innovative ways to maximise profits through green initiatives. Adopting a circular approach ensures enormous business and economic benefits, it recognises the value of ‘waste’ and repurposes these items as alternative resources that can be used again in a circular cycle.

Bridgette Vermaak is the ITAD specialist at XperienSouth Africa.





Share this article