The importance of following IT recycling legislation
Tuesday, 03, Apr 2012 11:01
Whatever you're hoping to have achieved by investing in new IT equipment, you're likely to have given great consideration to ensuring the products you get are right for your business. Once these are in place, however, you need to think about how to get rid of your old items, most notably because of the disposal legislation that firms are obliged to follow.
Although there may be a temptation to simply throw your no longer needed appliances into the weekly refuse bin for collection, doing so will see you violate the rules of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive set out by the government in 2007. This legislation demands all businesses using electrical goods fulfil a duty of care in ensuring old products have been disposed of in a responsible manner, so being found to have not met these requirements could land you with a significant fine.
Regardless of whether you've provided new laptops and smartphones for staff so they can work remotely or have invested in new office equipment like printers and fax machines, any electrical products that are no longer required should be handled by a dedicated corporate recycling company.
Such firms are able to provide you with tangible evidence and waste transfer notes to prove that your old appliances have been picked up and recycled in an environmentally-responsible manner. Under the WEEE standards, you must be able to give evidence about what has happened to your products since leaving your premises. It may be particularly worthwhile seeking out an organisation that holds waste carrier licenses that have been awarded by the Environment Agency, as they can offer a detailed report outlining exactly how each item has been recycled.
However, the benefits on hand with following legislation on recycling electronics equipment extend far beyond just ensuring you avoid a fine, as it can also lend a substantial boost to your social corporate responsibility efforts. Complying with these regulations shows your business takes an active interest in environmental matters and is keen to do its fair share in reducing its carbon footprint, something which potential clients could be interested to note.
Making the effort to get your electronics equipment recycled by an accredited recycling company also means you can take advantage of the data destruction services that they provide. It is highly likely that the old computers you want to dispose of contain important information about your organisation - from payroll details and staff's telephone numbers to tax records and client contracts - so you should ensure this does not fall into the wrong hands.
Leaving products lying in a bin for several days can mean they are exposed to thieves, who in turn may be able to use the data still held on hard drives to commit fraud. It's also worth bearing in mind the damage that can be done to your customers - as well as your own reputation - if their personal details were compromised.
Hiring a specialist company means you don't have to worry about this though, as they will be able to wipe your products completely - in addition to giving evidence to show this has been done - before they are recycled, meaning you can have the peace of mind that you will not fall victim to identify theft, while at the same time meeting all the commitments demanded by WEEE.