With businesses busy planning their 2008 IT renewal strategies Remploy e-cycle is warning managers to ensure they factor in sufficient costs to cover disposing of end-of-life equipment responsibly.
While many companies understandably focus on making sure their computer systems are as up to date as possible, IT recycler and refurbisher Remploy e-cycle believes the costs associated with disposing of this equipment in compliance with the law are regularly overlooked.
Businesses have a duty to dispose of end-of-life IT equipment responsibly and the introduction of the EUs new Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive which aims to minimise the environmental impact of electrical and electronic equipment by increasing re-use and recycling, and reducing the amount going to landfill has caused even more concern.
Tony Stroud, general manager for Remploy e-cycle, says: Most businesses looking to dispose of redundant computer equipment believe they only have a few limited, and costly, options available to them. Using companies such as Remploy e-cycle helps organisations to comply with all the appropriate legislation but brings the added benefit of generating a new lucrative revenue stream.
Part of Remploy, the UKs leading provider of specialist employment services for disabled people e-cycle specialises in taking IT equipment that has reached the end of its working life and refurbishing it to a standard that allows it to be re-deployed within the organisation, re-sold or donated to a good cause.
Under the recommendations of the National Audit Offices recent report on IT lifecycles, leading commercial organisations are typically disposing of their equipment every three years. This means there are thousands of businesses across the UK that are seemingly paying to get rid of equipment that doesnt necessarily need to be disposed of and needlessly committing it to landfill.
Whats more many larger businesses are no doubt paying a professional waste disposal service to remove the equipment in line with legislation while the majority of smaller businesses are probably incurring costs by taking equipment to a local waste and recycling centre for disposal.
By working with Remploy e-cycle business organisations could not only save themselves money, they can start to realise some additional value from their equipment by selling it on. They can also enhance their corporate images by being seen to donate computers to a worthy cause at the same time as showing they have respect for the environment.
Another key issue that disposing of IT equipment raises is that of security. Research* carried out by e-cycle has highlighted the poor quality of most companies data security measures with more than three-quarters of the 350 businesses questioned including many of the UKs leading financial organisations admitting they had sold or given away computers, and of these, less than a quarter (23%) had cleansed the data sufficiently to make them irrecoverable. Just over a third (38%) had merely reformatted the drives while 22 per cent overwrote them once.
Tony Stroud says: Simply reformatting or overwriting data once or twice will still allow much of the data to be recovered. It is admirable that some companies are making redundant equipment available for re-use, but in the overwhelming majority of cases, they are not rendering the data irrecoverable.
Every business exploring this route should seek assurance that their confidential data will be totally erased in the refurbishment process. They should also check that the company in question is a recognised IT refurbisher holding the Microsoft Authorised Refurbisher (MAR) status.
Remploy e-cycle which is an approved MAR guarantees that every computer it refurbishes is completely erased of data by using specialised BLANCCO software which has been approved for both UK government and US Federal Government data cleansing.
Remploy is the UK's leading provider of employment services for disabled people. Last year it supported in work or into work more than 10,000 people with a range of physical, sensory and mental disabilities.
The company partners with some of the countrys biggest companies to find jobs for disabled people, including BT, Asda, Christian Salvesen, Tesco and B&Q.
The company employs more than 5,000 disabled people in its own manufacturing and services businesses and last year its employment services division found more than 5,200 jobs for disabled people in mainstream employment.
Remploy is the countrys leading supplier of school furniture, makes chemical, biological and nuclear protection suits for police and military in Britain and overseas, and operates CCTV in more than 50 towns and cities.
Remploy is a non-departmental public body and last year received a government grant of 119m.
About Remploy e-cycle
e-cycle is one of Remploys businesses which specialises in refurbishing and recycling end-of-life IT and telecommunications equipment on behalf of public sector and private sector clients across the UK.
Remploy e-cycle is helping clients such as the DWP, EDS, Dixons Store Group achieve an improved return on investment from redundant IT equipment as well as broader social and environmental objectives that will also help to enhance their reputations.
* A survey 350 of the UKs leading companies conducted by FT Research on behalf of Remploy e-cycle in 2004.