UK leaves Europe and US in ITAD shadows

The UK is ahead of its European and international counterparts when it comes to realising the business, environmental and financial benefits associated with IT asset disposal (ITAD), according to research published today.

More than a third (39 per cent) of UK businesses are working with third-party ITAD specialists compared with around 35 per cent of organisations in all of the countries analysed combined, according to the Dell-commissioned IDC study which looked at 1,000 companies across Canada, France, Germany, the UK and the US.

Driven by recent environmental legislation such as the Waste and Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive and data security concerns, companies are starting to buddy up with third-party ITAD providers who can remove unwanted equipment and see it recycled or reused elsewhere both internally and externally for financial gain, according to the study.

In the UK, WEEE is weighing heavily on businesses' minds, with more than a quarter (77 per cent) of respondents in this country suggesting that data security and environmental risk management services, such as those complying with the recent legislation as being among their most important criteria in selecting which ITAD specialist to work with.

"The UK government is leading the way in legislating for sustainability and ecology, raising the bar for organisations which address these issues as part of their corporate and social responsibility strategies," said Martin Hingley, IDC's research manager.

"Its newly implemented WEEE laws make it compulsory for manufacturers to deal with the disposal of their end-of-life products. Those computer vendors which - like Dell - take additional proactive measures in the electronic waste area should find themselves increasingly popular among environmentally-conscious customers."

In terms of sectors, the UK's financial services industry seems to be leading the pack, with 70 per cent using ITAD services, compared with 45 per cent in government and educational organisations and professional and consumer services businesses and healthcare (with 33 per cent and 30 per cent active in ITAD respectively).

"WEEE does fill the requirements for free of what a consumer wants but it's not necessarily what a business wants," she said. "Businesses certainly want to be conscious of and compliant with regulations but they also have their own requirements and we're seeing that they recognise that, for example, data security and data deconstruction issues aren't tackled by [the directive]," said Jean Cox-Kearns, Dell's European take-back and recycling manager.

"Businesses want much more visibility of what's happening to their products in terms of both the environment and maximizing their lifecycle... Companies should be thinking about donating old products before they think about recycling. Recycling really should be the last step. I think that businesses are becoming more aware of the WEEE directive and other legislation and they need to see that these sorts of services shouldn't be burdensome for them."

"The findings of the IDC survey reinforce what we hear from our customers every day," she concluded.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.