UK companies failing to recycle computer equipment

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Around 95 per cent of computers owned by UK business end up in landfill, according to a survey.

Recycling company said nearly all firms still send electronic waste to landfill rather than make arrangements for it to be collected, reused or recycled.

Companies shouldn't have to waste money, energy and resources disposing of their electronic waste incorrectly.

The firm surveyed 500 customers and prospects, and only five per cent said they had plans in place to responsibly dispose of electronic waste.

It said many businesses are unaware of UK and Europe-wide regulations regarding the disposal of electrical and electronic equipment.

"We're seeing more and more electronic waste being inappropriately discarded," said Mark Hall, commerical director of "In fact, e-waste is currently the fastest growing type of waste that companies like ours handle".

One of the major reasons companies are reluctant to recycle their old computer equipment is because of concerns over data security, he added.

"Nervous bosses are worried that their data could fall into the wrong hands if it is sent for recycling," said Hall. "Scares over identity theft and corporate crime mean that they'd rather completely destroy computer goods themselves than hand it to a third party to be disposed of correctly."

Hall said responsible businesses could ensure data is wiped completely from electronic equipment, and that ethical disposal services could provide an additional layer of security.

"We've stood by and watched as employees set about perfectly good but ageing equipment with hammers, and they shouldn't have to waste these resources," said Hall.

Hall added that responsible waste management companies could show evidence they have disposed of electronic goods safely and securely but many companies were still unaware that ethical disposal facilities exist, or choose not to use them.

Many recycling companies actively work to ensure equipment can be re-used rather than destroyed, because it takes nearly a quarter of a ton of fossil fuel, 48 pounds of chemicals, and a ton and a half of water to manufacture one computer and monitor, said Hall.

"Companies shouldn't have to waste money, energy and resources disposing of their electronic waste incorrectly," said Hall.

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.