From trash to treasure: How to recycle old technology responsibly
Navigate asset recovery for a greener tomorrow

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Recycling matters. However, organizations need to consider that most of the waste collected by local recycling companies isn’t reused. In fact, only 9% of plastic waste is recycled. The rest accumulates in landfills or, even worse, finds its way into the oceans. An asset recovery strategy that consists of recycling, refurbishment, remarketing, and redeployment results in the most significant benefit for the environment.

Go beyond disposal

For many companies, asset recovery remains an afterthought. When buying devices for multiple offices or facilities, it can be daunting for a customer to plan for the eventual end of their devices’ lifecycles. We believe that those conversations need to happen upfront. Before buying new hardware, businesses need to consider:

  • What will happen to these devices in three years?
  • How will these products be collected?
  • How will critical data be effectively destroyed?
  • Will these devices maintain resale value over time?
  • Can these devices be redeployed for new employees?
  • Will the materials truly be recycled?
  • What happens in the event of a compliance audit?

These questions have complex, device-specific answers. While original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) offer some elements, they don’t provide all the necessary services. For instance, many OEMs will buy back equipment with value, which immediately requires their customers to purchase new, replacement devices. Some value-added resellers (VARs) handle asset recovery, but they lack a mature program that offers global coverage. We respond to these challenges using a four-step asset recovery process:

1. Collection

To help organizations accommodate remote workers, we have added more options to the traditional method of asset collection. Depending on the size of the equipment or needs of a specific organization, we:

  • Retrieve the inventory from one or more sites.
  • Provide a return kit for small assets, such as tablets, phones, or laptops.
  • Include a prepaid return label for an old device when a new device is deployed.

We can recover assets at scale. For example, a leading pop culture lifestyle brand had approximately 150 action-figure vending machines in public venues, such as malls and amusement parks, across the United States. Wanting to upgrade those systems and roll out new ones, the organization faced the logistical challenge of collecting and recycling the old machines. SHI put together a solution to handle every location. With the help of our logistics partners, we collected the machines, broke them down to the component level, shipped them to our warehouses, and recycled them responsibly.

During this process, we ensured that each device was accounted for in the event of a compliance audit.

2. Chain of custody and audit reporting

Federal environmental regulations require proof of compliance. We compile a serialized audit report that includes all the data specific to a device. This document accompanies a Certificate of Destruction (CoD). If an organization is audited, they can show a complete chain of custody that details the end-of-lifecycle management of each asset. It’s conceivable that any piece of hardware could be audited on a biyearly basis.

3. Data recovery and destruction

Part of SHI’s auditing process includes data destruction. The public has become more aware of data breaches with large banks and pharmaceutical companies, but businesses of all sizes should be concerned about data security. One asset that isn’t correctly handled can fall into the wrong hands and result in hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties.

Clearing a device using a factory reset doesn’t mean the hard drive has been properly erased. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has established the current federal regulations regarding how data should be destroyed. An organization may think an asset has been appropriately discarded only to learn that it has been resold with sensitive company data. To avoid noncompliance, SHI alerts clients to the presence of valuable data on recovered devices. We also offer onsite and offsite hard drive shredding that breaks down unsalvageable data-storing drives into particles the size of a fraction of an inch.

The risks associated with using free recycling services can result in significant expenses in the long term, and hiring a third party comes with various challenges. Onboarding a new vendor and getting them reviewed and approved can be a substantial hurdle for larger clients. Global companies or those with multiple locations in the United States will likely be unable to find one VAR to be a point of contact for all their assets. If a company already partners with SHI, the business can avoid time-consuming operational headaches. Our asset recovery program applies to all equipment, regardless of where it was initially purchased. Every device recovered goes through data sanitization, auditing, testing, and grading.

4. Recycle, reuse, remarket, or redeploy

Asset recovery is product driven. The asset type, condition, and functionality determine which asset recovery method is best. If a device is unusable at the end of its lifecycle, we separate each component made of metal and plastic and ensure it truly gets recycled. SHI offers environmental reports that include statistics regarding the number of pounds of material recycled and how many emissions a company has saved. This information can be included in quarterly or annual reports to demonstrate an organization’s commitment to decreasing the environmental impact of its business.

The primary focus of our asset recovery program is reuse. If possible, we want our clients to reuse their devices or keep them in the marketplace. This allows businesses to bypass supply chain issues and backorders. If there’s a resale value, we test the device, grade it based on cosmetic condition, and assign its worth. Our redeployment program cuts costs for our customers. Companies that have been on a two- or three-year refresh can extend the life of their devices.

SHI drives sustainable IT

As a global leader in all-inclusive lifecycle management programs, SHI is uniquely equipped to offer many flexible asset-recovery options, including our carbon credit program. We owe it to our clients to not just focus on selling a new product, but to support them throughout the product’s lifecycle as well. We aim to be a complete partner that guides and assists with figuring out what happens to a device at the end and how best to protect the environment. Our extensive partner portfolio allows us to be a point of contact at every step of the process.

Ensure compliance, keep your devices out of a landfill, and achieve the best return for your assets. Let’s embrace a greener tomorrow together.

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