The Risks of Improper IT Asset Disposition: Can We Create a Sustainable and Ethical System for Disposing of Electronics?

Posted by The Team at CXtec on Apr 20, 2023 9:09:13 AM

You've heard it before - technology is advancing faster than ever. With new products hitting the market almost every day, it's no...

You've heard it before - technology is advancing faster than ever. With new products hitting the market almost every day, it's no surprise that companies upgrade their hardware more frequently than ever. 

But here's the thing - when it comes to disposing of old electronic devices, many companies are doing it wrong, and the risks associated with improper IT asset disposition (ITAD) are becoming more apparent. That's why now, more than ever, companies need to take proactive measures to securely and responsibly dispose of their IT assets. By doing so, we can protect our planet and ensure it remains a safe and healthy place for future generations. 

I've compiled a list of key pointers that shed light on the risks of improper IT asset disposition. Let's take a look. 

  • Environmental Hazards

What happens to IT assets when they reach the end of their life cycle? Unfortunately, most of it is either discarded in landfills or improperly treated. E-waste, for example, is the most pressing issue that we face today. 

I recently came across a shocking statistic highlighting this problem's severity. As of 2023, the amount of electronic waste that has not been recycled is more than 347 million metric tons.

Electronic components contain toxic chemicals and heavy metals that are non-biodegradable and cause significant damage to our ecosystems if not disposed of correctly. These harmful elements can leach into the soil and water, leading to severe health issues and environmental contamination.

Not to forget, when old electronics are shipped long distances for disposal, it contributes significantly to carbon emissions - a problem we cannot ignore if we aim to reduce our carbon footprint as a society.


  • Regulatory non-compliance

Did you know that many countries have laws and regulations governing the disposal of electronic devices? Improper disposal can lead to non-compliance with industry regulations, which can come with hefty fines and penalties. 

But it's not just about the financial aspect. Non-compliance with disposal laws can also result in reputational damage and loss of trust among customers, investors, and other stakeholders. 

  • Data breaches

IT hardware stores sensitive data, and if not disposed of correctly, it can be a goldmine for cybercriminals looking to exploit this information. 

Without proper ITAD practices, sensitive data stored on electronic devices can end up in the wrong hands, leaving businesses vulnerable to financial losses, legal repercussions, and damaged reputations. Can your business afford to take that risk? 

A Plan for the Future - Ensuring Sustainable and Ethical Asset Disposition

Here's a silver lining: achieving sustainable ITAD is easier than it may seem. By taking a few careful steps and pre-considerations, your business can significantly mitigate the environmental damage caused by ecologically irresponsible ITAD. 

  1. Set up a robust asset disposition strategy: It's crucial to have a solid plan in place that outlines the entire lifecycle of your assets, from acquisition to disposal. This plan should also clearly define the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders within your organization to ensure everyone is on the same page.
  2. Partner with a certified ITAD expert: I highly recommend working with a reputable ITAD provider that follows stringent environmental and security standards and has a proven track record of responsible ITAD. Some certifications to watch out for include ISO 14001:2015, ISO 9001:2015, and ISO 45001: 2018. Especially look out for the newly introduced R2v3 certification to ensure responsible recycling. Also, ensure the partner maintains compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, GLBA, etc.  
  3. Maximize data security during decommissioning: Securely wiping all data from your IT assets before disposal or repurposing cannot be emphasized enough. You can protect sensitive information and prevent potential data breaches with robust data sanitization methods such as degaussing, shredding, software wiping, etc. 
  4. Adopt responsible recycling methods: Choose an ITAD partner that adheres to responsible recycling methods, such as properly handling hazardous materials and avoiding illegal e-waste dumping. Consider circular economy models, like refurbishing and repurposing, to extend the life cycle of your assets.

It's time to face the facts - the environmental and security hazards associated with improper ITAD practices are no joke. The good news is that by partnering with the right ITAD provider, setting up a robust plan, and being mindful of how we dispose of our assets, we can protect the environment and pave the way for a more sustainable future.