Questions we are frequently asked can be found here, simply click the heading of each question to find out more information in jargon free English...
Any company that disposes of hazardous waste has a legal obligation to ensure redundant electronic equipment is disposed of in line with new legislation, known as the WEEE Directive.
Every year an estimated 2 million tonnes of WEEE items are discarded by householders and companies in the UK. WEEE includes most products that have a plug or need a battery. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) became legislation in 2007. The aim of the directive is to reduce the amount of WEEE being disposed of via landfill and promote reuse wherever possible. Put simply business and organisations can no longer treat WEEE as general waste and instead should implement a policy to ensure that their WEEE is retired in line with the directive. As the process is relatively complex, businesses and organisations almost always engage the services of an external IT disposal company to facilitate the process.
Further information relating to the WEEE Directive is readily available online.
No, this is no longer a legal requirement.
CRT and TFT (flat panel) monitors, laptop screens and flourescent tubes are classified as hazardous waste. Whilst there are a couple of grey areas all other equipment can be classified as non-hazardous waste.
The data protection act affects every company or organisation and is arguably the most important element of the disposal process. The Data Protection Act 1998 is the main piece of legislation that governs the protection of personal data in the UK. Any business holding personal data is legally obliged to comply with this Act. The Act defines eight data protection principles. Whilst detailed information is readily available online it is the seventh principle that is the most relevant when it comes to disposing of your redundant IT assets. In practice, it means you must implement appropriate security measures to prevent the personal data you hold being accidentally or deliberately compromised, both on and away from your premises. The most common misconception is that the IT disposal company assumes liability for any such data breach once they have collected the equipment. Not true. The reality is that the IT disposal company only assumes responsibility once the customer's equipment is booked into their facility. Even then and in the event of a data breach, who do you think would be worse off in terms of damage to brand image, a relatively unknown IT disposal company or house hold name organisation? Even if the IT disposal company holds indemnity insurance (very rare) the damage will already be done.
There are now over 800 registered IT disposal companies, yet less than 10% of these can genuinely provide a bonafide secure service and have the accreditations to back this up. Cost should not be your primary decision making factor, however as the industry has become increasingly competitive you should be able to find a reputable disposal company who can still provide a cost effective service. Accrediting bodies such as ADISA are a good source of reputable IT disposal companies as any ADISA member has to pass strict criteria in terms of security and scope of service.
Do they have a Waste Carrier license?
Do they have an Environmental Permit?
Do they use their own transport and drivers?
Do they issue WEEE documentation for each collection?
Do they erase data to recognised standards?
Do they provide detailed asset reports for all equipment collected?
Do they hold ISO 9001 & 14001 accreditation?
Do they hold ISO 27001 accreditation?
Are they certified members of an accredited governing body?
You should always ask any prospective company to forward sample documentation prior to engaging with them. You will be amazed at the variance between companies as to content and quality.
Request a site visit. Again you will amazed at the difference in set ups. A flashy website can hide a multitude of sins. If the company appears reluctant to offer a site visit, look elsewhere. You don't even have to visit their facility, however the fact that they are willing for you to view their operations should give you a level of comfort and peace of mind.
Seek references from some of their credible customers, not the local green grocer. Sounds obvious, but many people simply don't bother.
Further information can be found under our section IT Recycling Companies - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW including tricks of the trade!