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At Greenaway, we talk a lot about the benefits of shredding your confidential paperwork – and why wouldn’t we? Despite the fact that it’s secure and environmentally friendly, there are thousands of people out there who still don’t bother to shred and recycle their paperwork. But today we want to ask you a different question. Have you ever given any thought to what happens to your computer and IT equipment when you no longer need it? When you just throw it away, it ends up in a landfill or incinerator, adding to the 3,140,000 tons of e-waste we produce each year. But just because you have no use for a computer any more, doesn’t mean it can’t be useful to someone else. Not to mention the huge security risks that come with throwing away IT equipment chock full of data. So, how does recycling your IT help secure your business and protect the environment?


Why Recycle Your IT Equipment?

Think about how much information is stored on your hard drive right now. Client work, passwords, bank accounts, every file you’ve ever saved (and every one you’ve ever deleted too, buried deep in the memory of your computer). If you just threw all of that away, you would be putting your data into the hands of a stranger. It could end up anywhere, including with a criminal who might use it to steal your identity or defraud your business. Recycling your IT systems prevents this for one simple reason – the main step in recycling IT equipment is breaking it down and destroying it, before salvaging the parts for reconstruction into something new. This process means that all traces of your data are destroyed, keeping it safe.


It’s also a great way to help your business contribute to a cleaner environment. Computer equipment recycling and refurbishing is an important part of an organisations sustainable waste strategy, and businesses are encouraged to dispose of their IT equipment in an eco-friendly way. There are even directives and governmental regulations in place to deal with electronics. In our modern world, there are new uses for every type of recycled electronic, diminishing the need for the depletion of natural resources.


How Is IT Equipment Recycled?

Fortunately, IT equipment is relatively easy to recycle. When full machines like laptops or computers are sent for recycling, the first stage is to scavenge working parts that can be used elsewhere. So components like motherboards, microchips and circuitry can all be removed and used in new or refurbished machines straight away. Hard drives are removed and destroyed separately, to ensure the data on them is destroyed securely. Once everything of use in the machine has been salvaged, the rest can be fed through an industrial grade shredder. The resulting shreds are a mixture of materials from plastic, glass and even gold. The shreds are sent to a recycling plant and separated out using magnets and filters, before being sent away to be forged into new materials.


What IT Equipment Can Be Recycled?

The good news is, almost any aspect of a computer or IT system can be recycled in some form. Monitors can be refurbished; PC’s can be broken down into parts and even laptops can be shredded, separated and re-used. Peripherals like mice, keyboards, printers, scanners and telephones can all be recycled. Some types of computing equipment might need a little extra expertise to recycle, like PC’s, which tend to have a lot of heavy metal in their circuitry. From the elements in IT equipment, recycling teams can salvage plastic, ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals, electronic boards, glass and even gold.


Of course, if you don’t need to recycle your IT equipment that often, you might not know what options are available to you. For more information on recycling your computer and IT equipment, get in touch with one of our expert shredding centres today.