Computer recycling goes mainstream

Many companies remain confused about EU legislation on equipment disposal and its impact on their business, a new survey found.

A survey of 202 IT directors and managers by eMedia found that 47 per cent said their company used a recycling or refurbishment specialist to dispose of redundant and old IT and networking equipment. But, 13 per cent of companies said they still threw away equipment, which would be illegal under the pending EU legislation. Nearly one-third of companies (30 per cent) used donations to charities or sold or gave away equipment to employees as a means of disposal.

But there appeared to be confusion over the European Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive, which aims to cut waste from electrical and electronic equipment and improve the environment. Nearly four-in-ten (39 per cent) of respondents said they understood the directive and its implications. In addition, 36 per cent said they had heard of the directive but were not entirely sure what it means for their business. But a quarter of respondents (25 per cent) said they were not aware of the implications or the directive and its impact on their business.

Neil Vill, CEO of World Data Products, the company who commissioned the survey, said buyers are starting to realise that they don't have to buy brand new equipment in every single instance.

"Manufacturers often push upgrades long before the equipment has reached the end of its life, and in many cases long before the customer is ready to migrate," said Vill. Legislative drivers around IT reuse and disposal, and a strong focus on ROI are resulting in smarter, and more environmentally aware purchasing decisions."

He added that UK businesses realise there is no reason to be "giving away or throwing away valuable assets."

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.